Archive for the ‘Trivia’ Category

Words My Kindle Taught Me: The Quiz

February 27, 2011

Words My Kindle Taught Me: The Quiz

I’ve talked about this before, but I thought it would be fun to set it up as a little quiz.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised that I use the Kindle’s onboard dictionary as much as I do.

After all, at one point I’d read a dictionary cover to cover.  Just for fun, when I was younger…I think it was an unabridged Random House, as I recall.

However, I certainly haven’t retained it all over time.  :)

So, I actually enjoy it when the Kindle can define a word for me that I can’t define.  I sometimes recognize the word, but it’s always been a rule in my house that you can’t use a word in a word game (like Scrabble or Boggle) if you can’t define it.

It tends to happen when I’m either reading some older (pre-1930s, I’d say) or something translated.  It may also be specialized vocabulary…I’m running into quite a few sailing terms while reading Riddle of the Sands by Robert Erskine Childers.

A lot of regular readers know I used to manage a bookstore.  I also used to manage a game store (I’ve mentioned that before, I think).

Let’s make this a game.  I’m going to give you a word I looked up in the Kindle dictionary, and give you three definitions…one true, three false.  Pick which one you think it is.  I’m also going to rewrite the definition, so they are all in a similar style.  I’ll update the post later with the answers.

How do you think you did?

You can check the post in a few days for the answers (please don’t look them up before answering the polls).  If you are reading this on your Kindle, you’ll get the updated version…that happens with Kindle blogs.

For more information on using the Kindle’s dictionary, see this previous post.

UPDATE: The answers.  I’ve had at least one challenge that I wrote a definition imprecisely, and now that the answers can be seen, I’m happy to discuss that.  :)  If you want to play the game, please answer the questions above before you read this.  Verst=2; Tufa=1; Jezail=1; Dado=3; Coppice=1; Serried=3; Behoof = 3; Burgee = 3; Dottle = 2; Casuistry = 2.  I had deliberately used some words that might evoke other words.  I used a “piece of medieval clothing” for coppice, for example, thinking it might suggest “codpiece”.  :)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

In honor of Fathers’ Day: like author, like son

June 20, 2010

In honor of Fathers’ Day: like author, like son

You know that old thing about sons going into the family business?  All those stores that are “So and so and son”?  Um…like Sanford and Son?

Well, that’s happened several times with authors.

That seems like a real sign of respect to me…to want to do what your father did. 

Of course, there is some financial incentive possible, too, but I really have a hard time with the idea that people become authors just to make money.  Yes, a very few authors make a lot of money, but most of them make very little from their writing.  It’s also one of those things that, well, I think people do because they like it.  I’m specifically talking about writing novels, here.  Some people do write mostly as a job, but novels?  I think you have to like the process.

In honor of Fathers’ Day, I thought I’d mention some of the father/son writing pairs.  Not teams, mind you…I’m not requiring that they wrote together, just that they both wrote.

Kingsley and Martin Amis

Kingsley, who was knighted, is considered one of the great British 20th Century novelists.  His best known work is probably his first, Lucky Jim.  However, he wrote in a number of genres, including fantasy.  He won the Man Booker Prize (for The Old Devils), and was an expert on James Bond.  His son, Martin, is a well-known writer as well.  His novels include Money and London Fields, and he’s written short stories and non-fiction as well.

Stephen King and Joe Hill

Stephen King, of course, is one of the best-selling novelists of all time.  When his son, Joe, became an author, he wanted to succeed without trading on his father’s name.  Before his identity was publicly acknowledged he had already won the Bram Stoker Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the World Fantasy Award for Best Novella.

Alexandre Dumas, père and fils

The senior Dumas (père) wrote some of the classic adventure novels: The Three Musketeers, the Count of Monte Cristo, and many more.  He also wrote plays.  His son had considerable success as a playwright, and wrote a couple of novels.

Frank and Brian Herbert

Frank Herbert wrote one of the great science fiction novels, Dune.  He went on to write six Dune novels, and a number of other respected science fiction novels, including The Lazarus Effect and The Green Brain.  Brian has added to the Dune universe (writing novels with Kevin J. Anderson), and has written the Timeweb series (among other works).

H.G. Wells and Anthony West

H.G. Wells wrote so many classic science fictions works, many of which have been adapted into movies and other productions many times (The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, The Island of Doctor Moreau).  Anthony, who also wrote about his father and growing up in a divided family, wrote novels as well (The Vintage and Another Kind).

William F. and Christopher Buckley

While William F. Buckley, Jr. (who is the father in this pair) may have been best known as a conservative commentator and language maven, he was also a novelist.  He wrote a dozen novels in the Blackford Oakes spy series.  His son, Christopher, has written a number of satirical novels.  Thank You for Smoking was made into a Golden Globe-nominated movie by Jason Reitman (screenplay and direction) and starring Aaron Eckhart.  A movie based on Little Green Men, which focuses on the government response to UFOs, is in development now.

John and Robert Updike

John is the author of the famous “Rabbit” novels, for which he won two Pulitzer Prizes.  He wrote quite a few famous novels, including The Witches of Eastwick (and its sequel, The Widows of Eastwick).  He also wrote short stories, poetry and non-fiction.  His son David has written a series of children’s novels featuring a character named Homer, and named for the different seasons (A Winter Journey, An Autumn Tale), ans well as other works.

 Arthur and Evelyn Waugh

This is a case of the son (Evelyn) being better known today than the father.  Arthur wrote a biography of Lord Tennyson, as well as other works including poetry.  Evelyn, of course, wrote Brideshead Revisited, and more than ten other novels (including the Sword of Honour trilogy).  Although not as well-known today, Evelyn’s brother (and yes, Arthur’s son) Alec had a huge success with The Loom of Youth, which in 1917 included LGBT elements.  His novel Island in the Sun, was adapted into a movie that featured James Mason and Harry Belafonte, among others.

Erasmus and Charles Darwin

Okay, Erasmus is actually the grandfather…but Fathers’ Day is about grandfathers too, right?  Erasmus was a poet who wrote poems on scientific matters…really.  He’d also formed the Lichfield Botanical Society (to translate the works of Linnaeus).  He was also a doctor and an inventor.  It seems clear that he must have inspired and influenced his grandson, who is strongly associated with the theory of evolution.  Charles wrote many works, the most famous of which is The Origin of Species.

There are a few examples.  Of course, there are father and daughter author pairs as well. 

My father is an incredible person.  He is an educator (as I am, although we do very different things), he was a fighter pilot, had a big band (he played kit drums…I’ve played conga drum), and was a prize fighter.  He worked with Martin Luther King and did research with behaviorist B.F. Skinner.  I know I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my father being who he is.

I salute fathers, grandfathers, sons, and daughters today.  For the inspiration you give, take, or find, have a great day!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Answers to Literary Mom trivia #1

May 10, 2010

Answers to the Literary Mom trivia #1

In a recent post, I described some famous mothers in literature with links to free versions of the books.

In this post, I give you the answers…so if you want to play, you may want to go that post first.  :)

Mystery Mom #1

Her “adopted son” is famous for his upbringing, although many people probably don’t know the details.  He is Tarzan of the Apes: she is Kala, one of those “apes”.  Although, it’s perfectly reasonable to argue that they are of genus Homo, but not Homo sapiens. 

Mystery Mom #2

You think your Significant Other’s boss is a Scrooge?  This Mystery Mom is Mrs. Cratchit (I don’t think any first name is given), and her husband is Bob Cratchit.  She is a significant presence in the book.

Mystery Mom #3

The fact that she leaves to care for her sick husband is a very important element in this classic work, and she referenced quite a bit.  The sisters call her “Marmee”, and she is Margaret March from Little Women.

Mystery Mom #4

This mom has four kids when the newcomer joins them…and nurses them all simultaneously.  She is a wolf, and hopes her adopted man child may grow up to defeat the tiger, Shere Kahn (since humans hunt tigers).  She calls herself “Raksha the demon” at one point, but it isn’t clear to me if that is her name, or she is equating herself with a supernatural being (she is generally called Mother Wolf).  The book is The Jungle Book.

Mystery Mom #5

This mom’s nature has been greatly debated in scholarly works.  She is the Queen of Denmark, Gertrude, and Hamlet’s mother.  Was she involved in her husband’s murder?   That’s part of the debate…

Mystery Mom #6

I tried to make this one more difficult by presenting the scenes out of order.   Her child makes quite a pig of himself…she is The Duchess from Alice in Wonderland.

Mystery Mom #7

Reading back over the books a bit to produce the trivia, it was wonderful to revisit this wonderfully-written classic.  Her nanny is a dog, and she is Mary Darling.  Her kids become involved with Peter Pan.

There you go, I hope you enjoyed this!  If not, I’ll do more of that “math-y” stuff later.  ;)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


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