Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Humbling Experience

Last Sunday afternoon my book club met for a special session. One of us had gotten her hands on a copy of the Trivial Pursuit Book Lover's Edition and we decided, being the literary mavens we are, this would be a fun game for us to play.

We broke into two teams of four each so that we could collaborate on the answers. The categories are: Authors, Classics, Nonfiction, Children's Books, Book Club (mostly contemporary fiction) and Book Bag (miscellaneous, could be anything.) We were all worried about the nonfiction category, but thought the rest of them, given our wide experience, would be challenging, but doable. 

WRONG. This game was really hard. When they say trivial, they mean trivial. And we didn't get any help from the clever wording of the questions which often makes a guess a lot easier. After we played for about half an hour with neither team winning a colored wedge, we decided to change the rules so that any correct answer, no matter which square you were on, earned a wedge. This boosted our spirits a little. Our team knew a question about Vanity Fair. We knew Don Quixote's love was Dulcinea and Tom Sawyer's Becky Thatcher. Our kindergarten teacher knew Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? was the sequel to Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? I lucked out on the nonfiction question about a historian by naming Stephen Ambrose, the only historian I could remember, and got it right. After two hours, our team finally won with an easy question about Robert Louis Stevenson and Treasure Island

In the end, we had fun, but the most frustrating part was realizing that our recall is fading. We knew Sinclair Lewis wrote Babbit and something else about a small, mid-western town, but couldn't get the name Mainstreet out of the cobwebs. That kind of thing happened over and over, making me feel old. I used to be a Trivial Pursuit champion and now, I fear, those days are over.

The good thing is that we learned a lot and made a list of books we want to read. Alice Randall has written a parody of Gone With the Wind from the slaves' point of view called The Wind Done Gone. We also came to the conclusion that, while we all read a lot, we tend to stick to our favorite genres; maybe we should open our horizons a little more. 

Some of the things we learned I found very inspiring. Did you know Iris Johanson wrote three historical romances in one year? If she did that, surely I can manage one or two blog posts a week, don't you think? So I'll be here again soon, writing my novel. Thanks for stopping by.


  1. I had similar hopes that were dashed with the Silver Screen version, so I'm sure I would have bombed at this one, too. Don't you find that all the versions of Trivial Pursuit that came out after the original one have been more difficult?

  2. That must be it! I do think the questions are getting harder because there are so many about which I don't have a clue, much less an educated guess. Now that you agree, I can now blame it on the questions and not my memory.