Book Lovers’ Quiz ANSWERS

Here are the answers to my book lovers’ quiz (if you have not had a go yet you can see the questions here). Let me know how you got on!

1. Real name                                                      nom de plume

Stephen King                                                     Richard Bachman

Anton Chekhov                                                Man Without a Spleen

Mary Ann Evans                                               George Eliot

William Sydney Porter                                   O. Henry

Agatha Christie                                                 Mary Westmacott


2. The series all contain six books which is known as a hexalogy or a sextet.


3. d) 1987. Pasternak won the Nobel Prize for Literature for Doctor Zhivago after it was smuggled out of Russia and published. Sadly the Russian government banned him from collecting his prize.


4. The James Bond series by Ian Fleming. Fleming himself wrote about Bond in 12 novels and 2 short stories.


5. Slumdog Millionaire. The film went on to win 8 Oscars.


6. They were all unfinished novels which were posthumously published (some in fragments).


7. S. E. Hinton (The Outsiders) was 18

Percy Bysshe Shelley (Zastrozzi) was 18

Mary Shelley (Frankenstein) was 21

Brett Easton Ellis (Less than Zero) was 21

George Eliot (Adam Bede) was 40

Richard Adams (Watership Down) was 52

Anna Sewell (Black Beauty) was 57

Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes) was 66


8. 723!


9. d) 2.1 million. The book came in ten volumes and has 13,095 pages.


10. b) A Tale of Two Cities. Although numerous celebrated books vie for the title of best-selling book of all time, poor record keeping in the past and unreliable sales figures has made gaining a definitive answer difficult, however it has widely been agreed that A Tale of Two Cities has sold over 200 million copies since publication.


11. The skins of roughly 170 calves would be required to make one bible from vellum.


12. a) ‘All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’ Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

b) ‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’ 1984 by George Orwell

c) ‘It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents…’ Paul Clifford by George Bulwer-Lytton

d) ‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.’ The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley


13. Jacket colour                                                type of book

Orange                                                                 fiction

Green                                                                   crime fiction

Cerise                                                                   travel & adventure

Dark blue                                                             biography


14. d) 38. Mitchell is in good company. J K Rowling, James Joyce, Beatrix Potter and Yann Martel were all also rejected by numerous publishers before finally securing a deal.


15. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier


I hope you enjoyed the quiz! You can buy The Book Lovers’ Miscellany here.

Library quiz

Book cover for A Library Miscellany

Welcome to my library quiz! It’s packed full of fun library facts from my book A Library Miscellany, do have a go and let me know how you get on. Answers in a separate post here (no cheating!).

1. Which is the biggest library in the world by number of items in its collection?

a) National Library of Russia

b) The British Library

c) Library of Congress

d) New York Public Library


2. Which library, which opened in 1909, was designed in art nouveau style by Charles Rennie Mackintosh?


3. Which popular 1990s TV show included the fictional library Sunnydale High Library?


4. Which is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world?

a) The Bodleian Library, Oxford

b) New York Public Library, New York

c) The Wren Library, Cambridge

d) Chetham’s Library, Manchester


5. In the first decade of the noughties (2000–2010) who was the most borrowed author in UK libraries?

a) Jacqueline Wilson

b) Catherine Cookson

c) Roald Dahl

d) James Patterson


6. Name any three of the six legal deposit libraries in the United Kingdom (bonus points if you can name all six).


7. The Osmotheque is a unique library in Versailles, France. But what does it preserve there?

a) Poisons

b) Pornographic books

c) Gems

d) Perfumes


8.  Which celebrated author was said to have published a book in all of the ten main subject groupings of the Dewey Decimal Classification System except ‘100 philosophy’?

a) Isaac Asimov

b) J R R Tolkien

c) Mark Twain

d) Barbra Cartland


9. The American Library Association keeps a record of all books that are challenged or banned in libraries across the USA. Which book was the most ‘challenged’ book in America 2000–2010?

a) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

b) The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

c) His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman

d) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


10. Match the writer’s archive to the library which holds it:

Virginia Woolf                                                  New York Public Library

George Orwell                                                  British Library

George Eliot                                                       Lilly Library, Indiana University

Sylvia Plath                                                         University College London Library


11. Over the years many famous people have worked as librarians, but who is the odd one out in this list and the only person who was never a librarian?

Mao Zedong      J. Edgar Hoover                 Andy Warhol      Marcel Duchamp              Giacomo Casanova


12. What do L’Enfer in Biblioteque Nationale de France, the Phi collection in the Bodleian, the triple-star collection in New York Public Library and the XR collection in Harvard’s Widener Library all have in common?


13. Which American luminary borrowed a book from the New York Society Library in 1789 which was not returned until 2010? (Bonus point if you can name the book!)

a) Alexander Hamilton

b) George Washington

c) Paul Revere

d) John James Audubon


14. The Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library at Harvard was established by Eleanor Elkins Widener in memory of her son after he died in which disaster?

a) World War I

b) The Hindenburg disaster

c) The sinking of the Titanic

d) The Great Boston Molasses Flood


15. True or false: White gloves should always be worn when handling rare books.


Check your answers here!

If you enjoyed this quiz have a go at my museum quiz here.

For more library fun buy a copy of A Library Miscellany here.

Book cover for A Library Miscellany

Museum Quiz!

The cover of A Museum Miscellany by Claire Cock-Starkey

I thought that seeing as under lockdown all our favourite museums and galleries around the world are closed we could do with some museum-related fun. So I’ve created a quiz based on some of the fascinating information in my book A Museum Miscellany. Do dive in and give it a go, answers to follow in a separate blog post. Good luck!

1. Which museum consistently tops the list of the most visited museum or gallery in the world?

a) National Museum of China

b) The Louvre

c) Metropolitan Museum of Art

d) The British Museum

2. Sir Hans Sloane’s incredible collection of natural history objects formed the basis for London’s Natural History Museum, but which fruit did he name?

a) avocado

b) banana

c) physalis

d) mango

3. True or false: The Night Watch by Rembrandt depicts a night scene?

4. The World’s smallest museum is housed inside what?

a) A tea-chest

b) A canoe

c) A telephone box

d) A shipping container

5. Which world famous museum is home to a large number of resident cats?

6. How many elephants feature in the American Museum of Natural History’s famous Hall of African Mammals diorama?

7. Which museum owns the most complete and scientifically valuable dodo remains in the world?

a) The Smithsonian

b) London’s Natural History Museum

c) The Grant Museum of Zoology

d) Oxford University Museum of Natural History

8. The largest single property theft took place in 1990 when thieves made off with artworks worth over $500 million from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, but how did the thieves disguise themselves?

a) As clowns

b) As museum guards

c) As police officers

d) As cleaners

9. How long did it take Picasso to paint his huge mural painting Guernica?

a) 3 weeks

b) 3 months

c) 3 days

d) 3 years

10. Put these museums in the order that they were established:

Musee des Beaux-arts et D’archaeologie (Besançon, France), Princess Ennigaldi’s Museum (Ur, Iraq), Ashmolean Museum (Oxford), Capitoline Museums (Rome, Italy).

11. What part of Sir John Heydon is preserved at Norwich Castle Museum? Bonus points if you know how the body part became separated from its owner.

12. Which museum is depicted in Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch?

13. Since 2018 the Museum of London have displayed a sample of the largest fatberg ever discovered – but just how big was it?

a) 27 metres long

b) 127 metres long

c) 526 metres long

d) 250 metres long

14. The Louvres is the largest art museum in the world. If you spent just 30 seconds looking at each object in the museum, how many days would it take you to see the whole collection?

a) 100 days

b) 10 days

c) 1,000 days

d) 57 days

15. It has long been tradition for incoming US presidents to request the loan of some artworks from America’s museums. Which artwork did Donald Trump request (and was refused)?

a) Whaam! By Roy Lichenstein

b) Dogs Playing Poker by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge

c) Landscape with Snow by Van Gogh

d) Water Lillies by Monet

Check the answers here. Why not share how well you did in the comments? If you enjoyed the quiz please do share it with your friends and family. Keen for more fabulous museum facts? Buy A Museum Miscellany here.

Museum quiz ANSWERS

The cover of A Museum Miscellany by Claire Cock-Starkey

Hopefully you are reading this page because you have already had a go at my museum quiz, if not, no cheating now, click here to try the quiz.

1.  b) The Louvres has held the top spot of most visited museums for a number of years with a peak of 9.3 million visitors in 2015.

2. Sir Hans Sloane gave the avocado its name in his 1696 catalogue of Jamaican plants.

3. False. The Night Watch does not in fact depict a night scene, its just the layers and layers of varnish applied to the work over the years have caused it to appear as if the scene is set at night. The painting completed in 1642 is actually entitled ‘Officers and Other Civic Guardsmen of District II Amsterdam’ but became popularly known as The Night Watch from the 18th century.

4. The World’s smallest museum is the Warley Museum in West Yorkshire whose collection is housed inside an old red telephone box.

5. The Hermitage has maintained a population of cats since 1745 when they were brought in to control the mice. Today the museums is home to approximately 75 felines.

6. 8 elephants appear in the diorama, one of which was shot and killed by Theodore Roosevelt.

7. No whole dodo skeleton exists but the mummified head and foot of a dodo is kept at Oxford University’s Museum of Natural History. Due to the survival of soft tissue on the specimen scientists have been able to extract DNA, making it an extremely valuable specimen.

8. c) As police officers. The thieves arrived before the museum opened for the day pretending that they were responding to a disturbance. Once inside they tied up the museum guards and made off with 13 paintings by artists such as Degas, Vermeer and Manet. To date the works have yet to be recovered.

9. a) 3 weeks

10. 1. Princess Ennigaldi’s Museum (Ur, Iraq) – established c. 530 BCE

2. Capitoline Museums (Rome, Italy) – established 1471.

3. Ashmoleon Museum (Oxford) – established 1683

4. Musee des Beaux-arts et D’archaeologie (Besançon, France) – established 1694

11. Sir John Heydon’s hand was severed in a duel in 1620 and today resides in an ornate box at Norwich Castle Museum.

12. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is the setting for The Goldfinch, despite the fact that the painting The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius is actually housed by the Mauritshuis in The Hague.

13. The fatberg was 250 metres long and weighed in at 130 tonnes. It was largely comprised of grease, congealed oil and wet wipes.

14. a) It has been calculated that it would take 100 days to view every item in the museum’s collection.

15. c) Landscape with Snow by Van Gogh. The Guggenheim refused Trump’s request and instead offered America by Maurizio Cattelan – a fully-functioning gold toilet

Keen for more fabulous museum facts? Buy A Museum Miscellany here.

The cover of A Museum Miscellany by Claire Cock-Starkey