By March 26, 2009 1 Comments Read More →

A Dark and Stormy Afternoon: Round 8

(Previously on All My Nerds.)

Category: Nonfiction

Under the shadow of Boston State House, turning its back on the house of John Hancock, the little passage called Hancock Avenue runs, or ran, from Beacon Street, skirting the State House grounds, to Mount Vernon Street, on the summit of Beacon Hill; and there, in the third house below Mount Vernon Place, February 16, 1838, a child was born, and christened later by his uncle, the minister of the First Church after the tenets of Boston Unitarianism, as Henry Brooks Adams.

Ian and I talked this one through as though we were on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Mumbai. For a fleeting moment, I thought, “Adams,” but then I thought that, aside from royalty, not too many people talked about themselves in third person prior to the creation of the NBA and Def Jam records. And though the speech seemed overly ornate for modern writing (remember that we were hearing this, not reading it), I thought we should just go with “some famous historian.” Against his better judgment, Ian acceeded, and we guessed “McCullough.” We felt pretty dumb when we heard the correct answer.

Category: Novels, 1950-Present

Indian summer is like a woman. Ripe, hotly passionate, but fickle, she comes and goes as she pleases so that one is never sure whether she will come at all, nor for how long she will stay.

Ilene and Daniel were stumped. Helpfully, I read the passage again, this time in the voice of Harry Caray, but they still couldn’t figure it out. Perhaps they were thrown by the incorrect use of nor. “F. Scott Fitzgerald,” said Ilene. “But that’s my answer for everything.” When the correct answer was revealed, both Ilene and Daniel professed some familiarity with the text in question, although while Daniel said he had gone through a “phase” of reading it, Ilene said she was mostly familiar with “two passages in particular.”

Score: The Winners 5, The Losers 6

A) The Education of Henry Adams, by Henry Adams, 1918
B) Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious, 1956



About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

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