A literary quiz

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John F
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A literary quiz

Post by John F » Sat Jul 16, 2016 5:57 pm

I did well in quizzes 1, 4, and 5, but tanked in 2 and 3.

Want to Work in 18 Miles of Books? First, the Quiz
JULY 15, 2016

As Jennifer Lobaugh arrived at the Strand Book Store to apply for a job this spring, she remembered feeling jittery. It wasn’t only because she badly wanted a job at the fabled bookstore in Greenwich Village, her first in New York City, but also because at the end of the application, there was a quiz — a book quiz.

She rode the elevator to the third floor, sat down at a long table and scanned the quiz: a list of titles and a list of authors. She matched “The Second Sex” with Simone de Beauvoir right away. But then she had doubts. “I thought I would have no trouble,” said Ms. Lobaugh, 27, who has an M.F.A. in creative writing and a background in French and Russian literature. “But I got nervous.”

The Strand is the undisputed king of the city’s independent bookstores, a giant in an ever-shrinking field. It moves 2.5 million books a year and has around 200 employees. While its competitors have closed by the dozens, it has survived on castaways — from publishers, reviewers, the public and even other booksellers.

For nearly a century, the huge downtown bookstore has symbolized not only inexpensive books, but something just as valuable: full-time work for those whose arcane knowledge outweighs their practical skills. “Ask Us,” says a big red sign on the walls of the Strand. The starting wage is $10.50 per hour, with health benefits in 60 days and union representation. And there are unwritten perks, including discounts, a casual dress code and brushes with celebrity.

A job at the Strand has also offered generations of newcomers, like Ms. Lobaugh, originally of Ponca City, Okla., something like instant New Yorker status. The Strand employees are known for being “curmudgeonly” but also clever, even cool: Former employees include Patti Smith and Luc Sante.

For about four decades, however, applicants have confronted a final hurdle to enter its ranks: the literary matching quiz.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016 ... -quiz.html

Over time, the reputation of the Strand’s quiz has grown; it has become as much a part of the store’s identity as its canvas tote bags. The legend has become larger, in fact, than the quiz itself, which is only 10 lines long, covering a few inches of the photocopied application.

“How long did it take? I probably agonized about it for five minutes,” said Ms. Lobaugh, wearing a flamingo-printed T-shirt and unpacking books on the main floor of the Strand on a recent Tuesday.

“But it probably took 90 seconds.”

Still, the stakes feel high. About 60 people apply for a job at the Strand every week; typically only a couple are hired.

The booksellers scuttling across the 10,000-square-foot main floor are not the only ones required to face the quiz. Members of the Books by the Foot team, which assembles collections for television and film sets, have to take it, too, as do new workers at the Strand satellite in a Club Monaco shop in the Flatiron district and the kiosks by Central Park and Times Square. Even to work at the warehouse in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, one must take the quiz.

Fred Bass, who with his daughter, Nancy Bass Wyden, owns the Strand, called the quiz “a very good way to find good employees,” regardless of their duties. “Without good people,” Mr. Bass said, “you don’t have anything going.”..

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/17/nyreg ... -quiz.html
John Francis

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Re: A literary quiz

Post by Ricordanza » Sun Jul 17, 2016 6:44 am

Although I got all 10 on Quiz 1 (with a couple guesses), my overall score was 33 out of 50. A C minus? A D plus? Oh well.

John F
Posts: 21076
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: A literary quiz

Post by John F » Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:47 am

As an English major in college and an editor of textbooks in English language and literature, I expected to ace all the quizzes, but the Strand laid bare my ignorance of fiction since, say, 1960. On the other hand, the Strand doesn't recognize the existence of books of poems since the Divine Comedy. :( Unfair!
John Francis

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Re: A literary quiz

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 1:19 pm

I aced them all, and all while watching Pinocchio, which is based on a story by Carlo Collodi. Now if you will excuse me, I'll just go and have my handy cousin down the street deal with my nose with a chainsaw. ;)

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: A literary quiz

Post by LSAmadeus » Sat Aug 13, 2016 8:57 am

13/50. A lot of them I'd never heard of so didn't answer.
Not a single Dickens amongst them...
'An artist must have the freedom to express himself' - Edward Weston

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