Think you know all about York books and bookshops? Then try our fiendishly tricky quiz

A bibliophile's paradise… Lucius Books on Micklegate, York. Photographs: Rachel Rogers
28 Jun 2020 @ 11.49 am
| Quiz

One of the small pleasures that I’ve taken from our restricted year so far has been the rare opportunity to go through novels like cheap bottles of wine. (And vice versa, of course.)

I’ve been able to vicariously experience life in the post-Civil War American South, a 1920s London alehouse and Meiji-era Japan, all while remaining physically comfortable in my Huntington home.

But all this literary globetrotting has left me missing one thing more than ever: York itself. And so we come to this week’s quiz theme.

The following 15 book-related questions are as diverse and wide-ranging as you can imagine, from Dickens to Deaver, and from the medieval period to brand new releases. The only common denominator linking them all is our fabulous city.

Hopefully it will give you one or two ideas for that ever-growing ‘to read’ list, with a distinctly local flavour. Good luck…

York books quiz

Which York bookshop is this?

Photograph: Rachel Rogers
1. Fossgate Books
2. Janette Ray
3. Minster Gate Bookshop
4. The Works

It's the Minster Gate Bookshop

This artful calligraphy is found in the shadow of the Minster itself, within a five-floor bibliophile's paradise on the posher end of the York book scene. 

Which legendary historical novel prominently features Isaac of York, a Jewish moneylender, alongside characters including Cedric the Saxon and King Richard I?

Photograph: Wikimedia Commons
1. The Pillars of the Earth
2. The Name of the Rose
3. Company of Liars
4. Ivanhoe

It's Ivanhoe

Robin Hood, Friar Tuck and a swineherd called Gurth also feature in Sir Walter Scott's romanticised account of medieval chivalry.

'Yorkshire Bradford University' gets destroyed by a bomb in a 2011 Jeffery Deaver novel starring which character?

Photograph: Pixabay
1. James Bond
2. Lincoln Rhyme
3. Philip Marlowe
4. Sherlock Holmes

It's Bond. James Bond

The Bahamas in 'Thunderball'. Geneva in 'Goldfinger'. Outer space in 'Moonraker'. And York in 'Carte Blanche'. What a louche, globetrotting life, Mr Bond.

Fiona Mozley's 'Elmet' was shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize. Where was she working at the time?

1. The Lowther
2. The Little Apple Bookshop
3. Jorvik Viking Centre
4. Huntington Library

It was the Little Apple Bookshop

Now an Edinburgh resident but formerly of Fulford School, Mozley's acclaimed debut novel emerged from humble beginnings, starting life on her phone while she was travelling on the York-London train.

This recently released debut novel by which comedian is partially set in York?

1. David Baddiel
2. Romesh Ranganathan
3. Robert Webb
4. Jo Brand

It's Robert Webb

His inaugural book is a time-travel romance set in part at the University of York. In 2018, the author took to Twitter to crowd-source ideas about what '90s students got up to in our fair city; scrolling through the replies makes for a funny and life-affirming few minutes.

Written by author Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, 'The Morland Dynasty' is a series of 35 books following a York family through how many years of history?

1. 197
2. 297
3. 397
4. 497

It's set over 497 years (so far)

Beginning with 'The Founding' during the Wars of the Roses in 1434, the most recent Morland novel takes place in the post-Crash Depression of 1931.

In 'Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell', the latter character performs magic in York. Which of the following does he do?

1. Turns the Ouse dry
2. Raises Dick Turpin from the dead
3. Changes mead into frogspawn in Ye Olde Starre Inne
4. Brings the Minster statues to life

Mr Norrell the Minster statues to life

Author Susanna Clarke is pretty much bang on with her description of York as 'one of the most magical cities in England'. That said, subsequently describing Newcastle as even more magical somewhat tarnishes the compliment. (Photograph: Allan Harris on Flickr)

The opening line of which famous work of literature reads 'I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, to a good family'?

Photograph: Wikimedia Commons
1. Robinson Crusoe
2. Gulliver's Travels
3. Moby Dick
4. Treasure Island

It was Robinson Crusoe

Or to give it its full title, 'The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who Lived Eight and Twenty Years, All Alone in an Un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, Near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having Been Cast on Shore by Shipwreck, Wherein All the Men Perished but Himself. With an Account how he was at last as Strangely Deliver’d by Pyrates. Written by Himself'. Good grief.

Fill in the blank from Kate Atkinson's 'Started Early, Took My Dog', partially set in York: 'If Britain had been run by ________ , it would never have succumbed to economic Armageddon'.

Photograph: Wikimedia Commons
1. Kuda
2. The Chilli Jam Man
3. Betty's
4. John Sentamu

It was Betty's

In an astonishing moment of hyperbole, private investigator Jackson Brodie is so wowed by the cleanliness and efficiency of Betty's that he starts fantasising about a utopian Britain, run by fat rascal-wielding 1930s women. Excellent 'hello, fellow kids' moment as a pay-off as well.

In which area of York can you find this plaque?

1. Fulford
2. Bootham
3. Heslington
4. Tang Hall

It can be found at 54 Bootham

Best known for the bafflingly revered poem 'Funeral Blues', Auden's family moved to Birmingham whilst he was a baby. Still, traitor.

In Matt Haig's 'The Radleys', a family of what kind of supernatural being live in Bishopthorpe?

Photograph: Geograph
1. Vampires
2. Ghosts
3. Witches
4. Werewolves

The Radleys are vampires

The 2011 novel follows the everyday family of Peter, Helen, Rowan and Clara Radley, who just so happen to have an insatiable lust for human blood.

In which Dickens novel does one character tell the story of the Five Sisters Window in York Minster?

1. The Pickwick Papers
2. Great Expectations
3. A Tale of Two Cities
4. Nicholas Nickleby

It's Nicholas Nickleby

After their coach breaks down in Grantham, the passengers decide to regale each other with tall tales to pass the time, including a 'grey-haired gentleman' who contributes the story of the sisters.

York also features in Cassandra Clare's 2011 novel 'Clockwork Prince'. This is the second book in the 'Infernal Devices' trilogy, a prequel to what hugely popular YA series?

1. The Hunger Games
2. The Mortal Instruments
3. Divergent
4. The Maze Runner

It's the Mortal Instruments series

The six Mortal Instruments books and their accompanying prequels and sequels are worldwide bestsellers, telling the story of Clary Fray, a 'Shadowhunter' who protects the world from demonic forces. In 'Clockwork Prince', the good guys visit the 'York Institute', based on Holy Trinity Church in Goodramgate. 

Complete the opening line to an 1808 poem by Charlotte Richardson: '_________ , once more thy tranquil shades I hail/And breathe again the invigorating breeze'

1. Tang Hall
2. Bishy Road
3. Acomb
4. Clifton Moor

It was 'Acomb, once more thy tranquil shades I hail'

Was it the Aladdin's Cave second hand furniture emporium she was glorifying? Or the unity with nature one feels in the verdant Boroughbridge Road Allotments? Perhaps, alas, we shall never know.

Finally, pictured here is a figure of which Roman goddess, casually leaning on a stack of books?

1. Minerva
2. Venus
3. Juno
4. Fortuna

It's Minerva

Goddess of wisdom and sponsor of the arts, this representation of Minerva is perched atop what is now the fairtrade shop Shared Earth - just yards from the aforementioned Minster Gate bookshop.

All 15 questions completed!


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