- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Particular Books (3 Nov. 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1846148685
- ISBN-13: 978-1846148682
- Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 3 x 20.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Joy of Quiz Hardcover – 3 Nov 2016
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An absolute must-read for anyone who loves quizzes. Alan knows everything, knows everyone, and writes beautifully too. I loved it! (Richard Osman)
Knowledgeable and playful ... An absolute delight (Simon Humphreys Mail on Sunday)
An entertaining new book on quizzing ... Connor has again succeeded in explaining the enduring popularity of a curious pastime. The Joy of Quiz offers an entertaining sideways social history that takes in debates over quizzing and public morals, government oversight, and - I've started so I'll finish - the strange things otherwise ordinary people will undergo to win a round of drinks (John Gallagher Guardian)
Alan Connor has the mind of an entertainer and the soul of a quizzer. I can't think of anyone better placed to lead readers through this weird, wonderful, competitive and dastardly trivial pursuit (Victoria Coren Mitchell)
About the Author
Alan Connor is the question editor of BBC2's Only Connect and writes quizzes for various newspapers. He cannot see a new fact without wondering how to make it into a piece of quiz. Alan is a screenwriter, journalist and the author of Two Girls, One on Each Knee, about the puzzling world of crosswords. His favourite quiz question is: What word was intentionally omitted from the screenplay of The Godfather?
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Top Customer Reviews
It is, essentially, a history of TV quiz shows – with a few nods to radio shows and quizzes in general. Which sounds a bit dull – but it definitely isn’t. For those of a certain disposition it's unputdownable.
From the very opening pages I was hooked. Maybe it was learning (QI-style) that the most fundamental fact about quizzes – the one we all know concerned a wager in 18th century Dublin – is not true; or the fact that a mistake in a quiz question was so widely repeated that the definition of the term has now been changed to match the answer; or that a quiz about a sport accidentally created a term now widely used in that sport.
As well as the history, which at times tips over into a glorious nostalgia fest for readers of a certain age, there are elements of psychology in here, of anecdotes from behind the scenes, plus advice to quizzers (there’s more to it than just remembering lists) as well as quiz setters (how to avoid being boring).
Then, to add extra spice to the mixture, there are 300 or so quiz questions dropped into the text like so many currants in a bun, many of them illustrating the sort of questions beloved by certain shows (I got the “difficult” Only Connect one, but failed on the “easy” one).
In short – it is a book with everything for the quiz enthusiast, including a dust cover that is itself a quiz game.
On first glance this is a book you buy someone for Christmas - you can hardly go wrong with the subject of 'Quiz' can you? In fact I read this book at a single sitting, not because it is thin (it has almost 300 pages), or because it is full of illustrations (mine had none), but because it is riveting.
Quizzing apparently started with radio and as you read through the pages you will find sections on almost all the shows you can remember (nostalgia alert!). There is much said of University Challenge, Mastermind, Ask the Family and Who wants to be a millionaire - including the Major Ingram scandal! Basically the book talks much about the board game 'Trivial Pursuit' and goes on to the rest of those family quiz shows. It tells you trivia about Trivial Pursuit, and millions of details about Millionaire with lots of other details along the way.
If you like quizzing then you will enjoy this book. It is well researched, with ample end notes and lots of quiz questions along the way (answers upside down on the bottom of each page). This is a winner of a gift and if you like quizzing then why not buy it for yourself - I loved it!
The author Alan Connor is the question editor of the somewhat challenging Only Connect; someone who finds quiz absolutely fascinating, and this enthusiasm is evident throughout the book.
The loose cover of the book is in itself a ready made quiz, with dozens of questions in little tear off squares and the answers printed on the other side.
If giving this as a Christmas present to a family member, be prepared for a potential quizzing session sometime over the Christmas period.
I really liked the way in which Alan weaves quiz questions into the fabric of the book, right from the first page. The opening chapter is a detailed history of the phenomenally successful boardgame Trivial Pursuit, which was initially turned down by major companies. The opening questions, therefore, are on the band famously turned down by Decca in 1962*, and the legendary TV comedy turned down in 1974 by a BBC comedy editor.**
From Trivial Pursuit we move through information packed pages on the history of quizzes, including the erroneous origin of the word.
Then on to quiz formats, hosts, the importance of luck and hard quizzes.
Hard quizzes? University Challenge, is tough of course, and so is King William's College, I.O.M.s infamously tough General Knowledge Paper, set each Christmas, but I hadn't heard of the USA's College Bowl.
We are taken through how to prepare for a quiz, how to answer, why some information engages us and why other info may not. Question setters, prizes, scandals (cough), the history of prizes, and more, there isn't an area of the topic that Alan Connor doesn't engage with, ending with speculation on the possible future of quizzes.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a really fascinating book - a treat for anyone with even just a passing interest in quizzing, with lots of insights into the minds of the people who set questions and those... Read morePublished 21 days ago by Dr. I. E. West
Very well written and informative, especially for not only a fan of geeky QI-style facts but also of quizzes such as me! I really enjoyed reading it and learned a lot.Published 1 month ago by Flickering Ember
As quiz lover, I feel this book could have been written for me. Reading about ones own hobby is often frustrating because so little is learned when a book is written for a general... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ray Blake
A good read for the quizzically inclined - I just wish it was twice as long. Can't help thinking there ought to be degree courses about quizzes if it's a way to earn a living -... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amlaffin
Do you enjoy quizzes or game shows? If so, then you really need to read this book, which is a history of radio and television quizzes since the 1930’s. Read morePublished 2 months ago by S Riaz
No joy for me, this is basically a history of quizzes with lots about scandals that plagued the early days of quizzing. Didn't like he way the word 'quiz' was used throughout. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dan
After reading all the previous reviews, the bad news, for me anyway is that I appear to be the only person not involved with David Vine, consequently having had to purchase my... Read morePublished 2 months ago by leelee