Quiz: Judging a Book By Its Subject Headings

Need a crash course in a classic? Look no further than the page before the first page- the subject headings, care of the Library of Congress, on the copyright page give it all away and can prove to be an excellent study guide. (Also can provide a good laugh on just the right sort of day. See: Jane Eyre.)

1.Boys. Shoe shiners. Poor children. New York (N.Y.). Street children.

2. Gentry. Ventriloquists. Pennsylvania.

3. Physicians’ spouses. Adultery. Middle class.

4. Russia—History. Russia—Officials and employees.

5. Sea stories, American. New York (N.Y.). Slave trade. Copyists. Sailors.

6. Swindlers and swindling. Swindlers and swindling in literature. Mississippi River. Steamboats.

7. Actresses. Mistresses. Young women.

8. Teenage boys. Criminals. Satire.

9. Orphans. Gardens. Friendship. Sick children. Yorkshire.

10. Triangles. Rejection. Yorkshire. Rural families. Foundlings.

11. Governesses. Mentally ill women. England.

12. Appearance. Conduct of life. Portraits.

13. Magicians. Germany. Devil.

14. Canada—Social life and customs. City and town life. Canada—In literature.

15. Irish—India. Orphans. Lamas. Boys.

16. Communal living. Collective farms. Farm life.

17. Wessex. People with visual disabilities. Mothers and sons. Mate selection. Heathlands. Adultery.

18. Lithuanian Americans. Chicago (Ill.) Working class. Stockyards. Immigrants.

19. Survival after airplane accidents, shipwrecks, etc. Fathers and daughters. Castaways. Magicians. Islands

20. Fathers and daughter. Exiles.

21. Villages. France.

22. Infants switched at birth. Impostors and imposture. Passing (Identity). Trials (Murder). Conjoined twins. Race relations.

23. Physicians. London. Multiple personality.

24. Dentists—California.

(Answers below the jump!)

Read more …


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The winner of our March Madness bracket has been decided! Not Connecticut huskies, but a man-bug thing. Close enough.
Thanks to all who submitted brackets (winning one to be announced later today) and voted to help us decide which title would be crowned champion. We hope you enjoyed following the action and that you’ve been inspired to pick up (or read again) one of these classics.

The winner of our March Madness bracket has been decided! Not Connecticut huskies, but a man-bug thing. Close enough.

Thanks to all who submitted brackets (winning one to be announced later today) and voted to help us decide which title would be crowned champion. We hope you enjoyed following the action and that you’ve been inspired to pick up (or read again) one of these classics.


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Our Book Bracket finalists prepare for battle in not dissimilar ways: one walks around Dublin hating himself, the other crawls around his house being hated. And both are ultimately transformed.Throw your weight behind Joyce or Kafka here! The winning title—and winning submitted bracket—will be announced on Monday afternoon.

Our Book Bracket finalists prepare for battle in not dissimilar ways: one walks around Dublin hating himself, the other crawls around his house being hated. And both are ultimately transformed.

Throw your weight behind Joyce or Kafka here! The winning title—and winning submitted bracket—will be announced on Monday afternoon.


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Perhaps it was too mired in ethical dilemmas—The Brothers Karamazov couldn’t squeak out the win it needed for advancement into the Book Bracket semifinals. Our first contender for the gold and glory has been chosen, and he’s going to write a villanelle to celebrate! Congrats to Stephen Dedalus, who will be up against either Gregor Samsa the human beetle or Lily Bart the cautionary tale. Help decide which author battles Joyce in the semifinal of the 2014 Book Bracket by voting here.With your help, the final match-up will be decided over the weekend and announced on Monday—keep an eye out for a voting link!

Perhaps it was too mired in ethical dilemmas—The Brothers Karamazov couldn’t squeak out the win it needed for advancement into the Book Bracket semifinals. Our first contender for the gold and glory has been chosen, and he’s going to write a villanelle to celebrate!

Congrats to Stephen Dedalus, who will be up against either Gregor Samsa the human beetle or Lily Bart the cautionary tale. Help decide which author battles Joyce in the semifinal of the 2014 Book Bracket by voting here.

With your help, the final match-up will be decided over the weekend and announced on Monday—keep an eye out for a voting link!


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Dostoevsky, Joyce, Kafka, and Wharton have all cemented spots in the quarterfinals. But which lucky books will go on to the semis? Your chance to choose! Submit your votes here.

Dostoevsky, Joyce, Kafka, and Wharton have all cemented spots in the quarterfinals. But which lucky books will go on to the semis? Your chance to choose! Submit your votes here.


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At the W. W. Norton Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too, we teach you that there’s more to life than just being really really ridiculously good-looking.Introducing the March Hare—the quiet collective who whittled the Book Bracket Sweet Sixteen to the Elite Eight. Now it’s your turn to choose the winners! Games 11 and 12 have yet to be decided.

At the W. W. Norton Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too, we teach you that there’s more to life than just being really really ridiculously good-looking.

Introducing the March Hare—the quiet collective who whittled the Book Bracket Sweet Sixteen to the Elite Eight. Now it’s your turn to choose the winners! Games 11 and 12 have yet to be decided.


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After a long and hard-fought battle in which much mud was slung, #4 seed Brothers Karamazov has won the first slot in the quarterfinals! What a tight race that was—but first-seeded Faulkner was perhaps just too exhausted from running around his own sentences.
On Monday, Thomas Mann and James Joyce face off in a modernism match-up. Be sure to record your votes here!

After a long and hard-fought battle in which much mud was slung, #4 seed Brothers Karamazov has won the first slot in the quarterfinals! What a tight race that was—but first-seeded Faulkner was perhaps just too exhausted from running around his own sentences.

On Monday, Thomas Mann and James Joyce face off in a modernism match-up. Be sure to record your votes here!


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