In honor of banned book week 2016, I wrote a quiz. See if you can guess the titles of the top 10 banned books of all time. This quiz is rather difficult because almost all the clues are about the author. You will have to figure out who the author is, and then which book of theirs was most likely to be banned. Not surprisingly, the authors of banned book are interesting characters. Post your answers in the comments. I will add a list of the sites I gathered these facts from and the quiz answers in a week. If you become stumped before then, post that as a comment and I will give you some more hints.

  1. His father was in the opium business.

His first word was beastly.

His real last name is my first name.

When he met Ernest Hemingway and told him his name, this is reported to be what happened,

“Hemingway pushed the suitcases to the end of the bed, bent down, and brought a bottle of Scotch from underneath it and still bellowing said, “Why the ….. didn’t you say so. Have a drink. Have a double. Straight or with water, there’s no soda.””

  1. Mel Brooks used the name of the main protagonist in this book in his film/musical The Producers.

The entire book takes place over just one day.

This book was banned because it was considered pornography by many, including Edith Wharton and Virginia Wolfe.

The first nine words of this book mimic the dactylic hexameter of Homer’s Greek verse.

  1. The author was introduced on Saturday Night Live as the greatest living writer in America.

He was in a U2 video but preferred Viennese Waltzes.

This book was actually a collaborative work between the listed author, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg.

He is on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

  1. His third novel was originally titled Lovely Lesbians.

He was married five times.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Grove Press, Inc., v. Gerstein, citing Jacobellis v. Ohio (which was decided the same day in 1964), overruled the state court findings of obscenity and declared this author’s banned book a work of literature; it was one of the notable events in what has come to be known as the sexual revolution.

He was a devout Buddhist.

He is the responsible for Herman Hesse’s book Siddhartha being translated into English.

  1. He wrote most of this banned book while he was in the army during WWII.

He wrote to his maid once: “Dear Mary – Please make sure all the errands are done before you go on vacation, as I do not want to be bothered with insignificant things.

He had trouble getting his banned book published, but within 2 months of it being published it was a best seller.

He was a neat freak.

This book was linked to two murders, that of a musician and an actress, and one attempted murder, that of a US President.

  1. His first job was writing for George Burns and Gracie Allen.

He never got a driver’s license, and he thought cars were the most dangerous weapon ever invented.

He hated computers.

He wrote this book in nine days.

The site of one of the Mars landings is named after him.

  1. Her real first name is her grandmother’s spelled backward.

One of her best friends throughout her life was Truman Capote.

She was a Mets’ fan.

Her favorite authors were William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Jane Austen, and Thomas McCauley.

  1. This book was banned because it was considered, “depraved, immoral, psychotic, vulgar, and anti-Christian.”

He gave grades to his books, ranging from A+’s to D’s.

He was a car salesman.

He preferred drawing to writing.

He played a cameo in a Rodney Dangerfield movie.

He disliked semicolons; he said “They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.” 😉

  1. He liked to climb trees in the nude to stimulate his imagination.

Only 10 people attended his funeral, but one of them was Aldous Huxley.

His banned book was put on trial thirty years after his death. During the trial the prosecuting attorney asked the jury, “Is this a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?” The answer was, sure. The book was acquitted of all charges.

He was plagued with tuberculosis throughout his life.

  1. An early draft of one of his books was eaten by his dog. “I was pretty mad, but the poor little fellow may have been acting critically,” he wrote his agent.

His wife wrote poetry under the name of Amnesia Glasscock.

He protested against Japanese internment during WW2.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962.

This book was not written by a Russian, and is not about life in the USSR, but Stalin banned the book in the USSR.

Good luck! Don’t scroll any further if you do not want to peak at the answers. 

1. George Orwell 1984
2. James Joyce Ulysses
3. William S. Burroughs Naked Lunch
4. Henry Miller Tropic of Cancer
5. J D. Salinger Catcher in the Rye
6. Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451
7. Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird
8. Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse Five
9.D. H. Lawrence Lady Chatterley’s Lover
10. John Steinbeck Grapes of Wrath

John Steinbeck Trivia

Harper Lee Facts

Twenty-Five Facts About George Orwell

Facts about Bloomsday and Joyce’s Ulysses

12 Things You Might Not Have Known About William S. Burroughs, Per His Biographer

Henry Miller Buddhism

45 Facts about JD Salinger and The Catcher in the Rye

10 Things You Should Know about Ray Bradbury

10 Facts about Kurt Vonnegut

The Top Ten Weird Facts About Legendary Weirdo Kurt Vonnegut

Five Fascinating Facts about D. H. Lawrence