Blind dating with books: the game

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I recently hosted Blind Dating with Books as part of Noted Festival’s LitHop, where a Lonely Reader from the audience played to find the book of his or her dreams.

Some of the books the Lonely Reader met included the fine, well-known titles listed here. Can you guess the identity of these books? They may be fiction or non-fiction, for adults or kids. Answers below. No cheating!

Book 1
Setting: New Zealand
Themes: good vs evil, heroism, climbing volcanoes, love of jewellery, friendship, long journeys, getting out of your comfort zone, The Great Outdoors
Plot notes: Supernatural big brother, communing with trees, etc

Book 2
Setting
: The Middle East, or a vaguely desert-like place
Themes: Salvation, good vs. evil, begetting, killing your child, the patriarchy
Plot notes: Probably the most famous beginning, major flooding, getting swallowed by a whale, giant vs. slingshot, murder via DIY woodworking

Book 3
Setting
: modern Europe
Themes: ancient conspiracies, bad grammar, murder, “symbology”
Plot notes: murder in a museum, cryptic clues, famous artworks, historical and scientific inaccuracies

Book 4
Setting
: Nazi Germany
Themes: Survival, friendship, how great books are, hatred/racism, death
Plot notes: hiding from Nazis, book burnings, orphanhood, getting whipped (but not in a sexy way)

Book 5
Setting: A fruit bowl?
Themes: counting, transformation
Plot notes: chocolate cake, ice-cream cone, pickle, Swiss cheese, salami, lollipop, cherry pie, sausage, cupcake, a lot of various fruits

Book 6
Setting
: Old timey England
Themes: love, romance, marriage, social inequality
Plot notes: boarding school, secret spouse, dead parents, typhus and other old-timey diseases, horse-riding accidents, a proposal from your cousin, arson

Book 7
Setting
: Northern Europe, present day
Themes: murder, justice, challenging stereotypes
Plot notes: computer hacking, open marriage, lucrative ghost-writing, Nazi relatives, amateur tattoo artistry, patricide

Book 8
Setting
: A private island
Themes: murder, mystery, survival, justice
Plot notes: cyanide poisoning, message in a bottle, confession, life imitates poetry, a marble clock shaped like a bear

Book 9
Setting
: Old timey England
Themes: love, romance, marriage, family
Plot notes: snobbery, balls, fever, never-ending marriage proposals, horse riding, the worst brother-in-law

Book 10
Setting
: Melbourne
Themes: love, romance, acceptance, reducing inefficiency
Plot notes: very specific menus, ‘affirmative’, cocktails, trip to New York, project work, bicycles, science!

Book 11
Setting
: small-town America
Themes: childhood trauma and its echoes in adulthood, ugliness lurking behind small-town quaintness, overcoming evil
Plot notes: stuttering, oversized spiders, Dracula, Hansel & Gretel, a werewolf, Frankenstein’s monster, blood oath, a random turtle

Book 12
Setting
: Modern day US
Themes: power/control, life choices
Plot notes: “I don’t do the girlfriend thing”, drunk calls, private helicopter, “written consent”/nondisclosure agreement, “hard limits”, a lot of crying

Book 13
Setting
: The universe
Themes: Science! Learning! Amusing anecdotes! Terror!
Plot notes: How did the universe start? What are supernovae? Big Bang Theory, the size, shape, weight and orbit of the Earth, theory of relativity and quantum physics, the fabric of spacetime, potential deadly meteor strike, Yellowstone supervolcano, global warming; possibly recurring ice ages

Book 14
Setting
: London
Themes: love and romance, self-improvement (?), weight loss
Plot notes: Having a crush on your boss, how confusing men are, a time-share scam, awkward dates, culinary disasters

Answers
1. The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
2. The Bible – God et al.
3. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
4. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
5. The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
6. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Steig Larsen
8. And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
9. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austin
10. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
11. It – Stephen King
12. 50 Shades of Grey – EL James
13. A Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson
14. Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

7 signs your thesis may be imminently due

thesis-jokes-ashley-kalagian-blunt
You have run out of hand soap and are now using shampoo instead.

You envy people in prison because at least they get to sleep.

Your grocery list is MLA formatted:
Tiger, Tony the. (2017[1952]) “Frosted Flakes,” Kellog’s, n. pag.

You’re also using shampoo as dish detergent. Your dishes smell like ylang-ylang.

You’ve forgotten your husband’s name. Maybe … Bill?

You fantasize about giving Theodor Adorno a wedgie.

Discovering you’ve run out of shampoo results in three hours huddled under your desk, crying.

Woks cited

Creuset, Le Wok w/ Lid, Satin Black: 32cm
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Scanpan Impact Wok, Silver: 32cm
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Scanpan IQ Wok: 32cm
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Solidteknics (AUS-ION) Formed Iron Sauteuse/Wok: 28cm
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Tefal, Character GV5 Wokpan, Red: 28cm
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*This post courtesy of a thesis typo I didn’t notice for weeks.

Financial advice for writers (and other chronically underpaid professionals)

If you’re like me, you’ve probably never made a decent paycheque. Some people might suggest you’re in the “wrong industry” and you should get a “real job,” but those people will never know the joy that comes with putting the finishing touches on the thirty-seventh draft of a made-for-YouTube webisode script entitled Monkey Balls. But even though you’re not rolling in anything but bed bug infested sheets, you still deserve quality financial advice – and I am here to give it you. You can trust me, I’ve been barely employed for years.

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There’s one key secret to financial success: instead of making money, don’t spend money! More specifically, plan in detail what you would spend if you had money, and then find a way to not spend it. Need a pedicure? Wear socks! Want news pants? Get mustard stains trending on Instagram! Want to buy a book? Find a terrible review of it! “Kiki” gave Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl one star with the comment “lousy ending.” So forget reading that. You just sort of made yourself a sweet $6.18 and are well on the way to your financial goal of not living in an abandoned car.

You can see how with this system, you can relieve yourself of the need to earn thousands of dollars – or even more. For example, figure out a reason you need to buy an aircraft carrier – then don’t! You just saved billions of dollars, and can pat yourself on the back for your savvy financial decision-making. As you can see, this system also allows you to put your creativity to work – with lucrative results.