Pilates for Your Brain 

BW puts your reading mettle to the test

Rather than twist the rules of some overpriced board game into Boise Weekly speak for the purposes of endorsing some corporate creation and introducing you to what may become the next box in your coat closet collecting dust, we've decided to take this week's column to play a game with you, our presumably adoring public.

As we are often criticized for our esoteric tastes in everything from food to music and literature to films, we're bringing it back to the classics, old and new. Clearly, a reading and intelligent public you are, thus we implore you to don your mental spelunking gear and explore the darker memories of your days in literature class. The means is the list below. The end is the author's name and novel title. The rules outlaw the use of Google (or other Internet means), as well as polite questions directed at your lit prof relatives. The only clue we'll offer is that each is a book, which in our snobbery, we think everyone should read instead of resigning themselves to whiling away the time with Milton Bradley. If you're stumped, the answers are printed upside down below.

1. Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo ...

2. I first met Dean not long after my wife and I split up. I had just gotten over a serious illness that I won't bother to talk about, except that it had something to do with the miserably weary split-up and my feeling that everything was dead.

3. A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once.

4. When the fair gold morning of April stirred Mary Hawley awake, she turned over to her husband and saw him, little fingers pulling a frog mouth at her.

5. If this typewriter can't do it, then fuck it, it can't be done. (From the essential prologue.) / In the last quarter of the twentieth century, at a time when Western civilization was declining too rapidly for comfort and yet too slowly to be very exciting, much of the world sat on the edge of an increasingly expensive theater seat, waiting--with various combinations of dread, hope, and ennui--for something momentous to occur. (From the first chapter of the novel proper.)

6. Now I believe they will leave me alone.

7. "Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are just family estates of the Buonapartes."

8. Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men.

9. When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only. I lived there two years and two months. At present I am a sojourner in civilized life again.

10. It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.

ANSWERS: 1. James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man 2. Jack Kerouac, On the Road 3. John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces 4. John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent 5. Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker 6. Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose 7. Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace 8. Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God 9. Henry David Thoreau, Walden 10. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

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