Book Shambles Literary Quiz

The podcast Book Shambles, which was once Utter Shambles, briefly Cosmic Shambles, Show and Tell, and a medley of other names, has just returned (with the help of crowd funding) as Book Shambles, a new season hosted by Robin Ince and Josie Long entirely based around books. In the spirit of Show & Tell, each of the two hosts and the guest bring in items to discuss (this season, only books, though books were often featured in Show & Tell), and they attempt to discuss them all and usually fail to because of a shortage of time and shambolic tangents. The following literary quiz will test your knowledge of either literature or Book Shambles. Once you’ve taken the quiz, check your answers here.


Josie Long, Robin Ince, Stewart Lee recording episode 1


ONE   Illustrator Quentin Blake captures the false smile of this author who wrote about his teenage son who died.

(a) Michael Rosen
(b) Maurice Sendak
(c) Bill Watterson
(d) James Robert Baker

TWO   Comedian Stewart Lee is writing the introduction to a book by which author?

(a) Satirist Steve Aylett
(b) Politician John Major
(c) Musician Billy Childish
(d) Artist Grayson Perry

THREE   Which author discovered a standard type of planetary orbit?

(a) Arthur C. Clarke
(b) Carl Sagan
(c) Chris Hadfield
(d) Isaac Asimov

FOUR   Which author disappeared for years but was later found living in a little village in Cornwall?

(a) Carolyn Cassady
(b) Jean Rhys
(c) Susan Cooper
(d) Emile Zola

FIVE   The main character in this book never speaks, so the entire narration is done by various other people’s accounts of different events as the character grows–as he’s born, changes, and influences people.

(a) Antar and the Eagles
(b) The Perfect Fool
(c) Boy Wonder
(d) Shit My Dad Says

SIX   Stewart Lee named his hamster after which author?

(a) Philip K Dick
(b) Dan Rhodes
(c) Truman Capote
(d) Ray Bradbury

SEVEN   Sara Pascoe says that part of what’s so sad about this book is that it’s a sign that sometimes by being an outlier, you get punished.

(a) 1984
(b) Fahrenheit 451
(c) Laika
(d) Sex, Death and Punishment

EIGHT   Which book did Chris Hadfield and his co-astronauts keep in the space station toilet?

(a) First Men in the Moon
(b) Darwin’s Ghosts
(c) Calvin and Hobbes
(d) Shit My Dad Says

NINE   Which author is also a postman?

(a) Dan Rhodes
(b) Jared M. Diamond
(c) Mark E. Smith
(d) David Seabrook


Chris Hadfield, Robin Ince, Josie Long


TEN   What book is Robin Ince describing here? “It’s a bit Beckett, a bit Joyce. What’s great about it is that it took her ten years, and then it was picked up by a small publisher in Norris. They went ‘we’ll print it.’ Then when it came out, I think it was Faber who went ‘You know what, we’ll buy this off you, we love it.’ What’s great is it’s won loads of awards, but it’s not an easy read. It’s one of those reads that once you’re into it, you go ‘I have to read it again.’ It reminds me of things like Beckett’s Not I.”

(a) A Girl is a Half Formed Thing
(b) Off the Road
(c) Angry Woman
(d) Fun Home

ELEVEN   Which book is Josie Long describing here? “It’s about this very bougie couple and I sort of couldn’t bear them, but I loved them because they’re such full, real people.”

(a) Light Years
(b) Children on Men
(c) The Handmaid’s Tale
(d) The Shock Doctrine

TWELVE   Which book is Josie Long describing here? “Basically, this guy befriends this girl, and she’s from this family of non-conformists, and instead of watching the big TV screens, they just read. It’s very funny because there’s loads of tropes where everyone’s got these massive TV screens where they take up whole walls in their house. Everyone constantly puts these little shells in their ears to listen to music and telly and stuff. This is in the 60s.”

(a) World Beyond: The Everlasting Frontier
(b) 1984
(c) The Woman Who Was Not There
(d) Fahrenheit 451


Josie Long, Reece Shearsmith, Robin Ince


THIRTEEN   What is the funniest book Stewart Lee has ever read?

FOURTEEN   Chris Hadfield has a kids book coming out in fall 2016. What is the title?

FIFTEEN   What was Robin Ince first favorite book?

SIXTEEN   What was Stewart Lee’s first favorite book?

SEVENTEEN   What was the first graphic novel Sara Pascoe ever read?

EIGHTEEN   Which book did Chris Hadfield read in its entirety on the space station?

NINETEEN   What is Sara Pascoe’s dad’s favorite book?

TWENTY   Stewart Lee said which book was “un-put-downable?”


BONUS   Which book is this a quote from? “Giving the same argument while wearing different trousers gives the illusion of varied insight.”


Anglonerd magazine is donating $5 per episode to Book Shambles to keep it going. Want to donate? Visit Patreon and pledge!

If you buy your books through Powell’s Bookstore (Portland, Oregon) by clicking the logo below, a portion of your purchase dollars will go to help fund Anglonerd magazine, with no extra cost to you.

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One thought on “Book Shambles Literary Quiz

  1. Pingback: Answers: Book Shambles Literary Quiz | Anglonerd

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