Nerd Jeopardy: Literature trivia night at McNally Jackson Books

Get tips for dominating the competition at this bookish trivia night from founder Ryan Chapman.

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Hey, readers: If you’re tired of losing at bar quizzes to sports fans and music aficionados, here’s a chance to dominate. Ryan Chapman, marketing director at Penguin Press, dreamed up a trivia night for the literati. Chapman confesses, “I wanted to be Alex Trebek” (don’t we all). In 2010, he launched Nerd Jeopardy, a riff on the Jeopardy! format: All the questions are book-related, groups of three play rather than individuals, and attendees are loosened up with complimentary wine.

Prospective teams are drawn from a hat at the start of every event, with competitors vying for signed and special-edition books (and the likelihood of getting hit on after the game). Audience members also have a shot at a $100 gift certificate during an interlude of parlor games. A previous winner was able to correctly arrange the titles from Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past in chronological order. If your response to that challenge is, “Can I answer in the original French?,” perhaps you should throw your hat in the ring for the main event. Here are three tips, provided by Chapman himself, to help you crush your opposing bibliophiles.

Be an English major

“While all your premed friends were burning the midnight oil, you were reading Virginia Woolf and Henry James.” If this describes you, chances are you’re a shoo-in.

Guilty pleasures are rewarded

Fifty Shades of Grey and The Hunger Games come up just as much as Zadie Smith and Roberto Bolaño.” Hit up your little sister’s book collection and don’t leave any “Twilight” page unturned.

Stack your team with ringers

“I’ve seen teams of literary bloggers, booksellers and freelance reviewers decimate the competition. You have two spots on your team to fill, and there is no law prohibiting you from recruiting Colson Whitehead.” Now you know who to call.


GET YOUR NOSE OUT OF THAT BOOK! McNally Jackson Books, 52 Prince St between Lafayette and Mulberry Sts (212-274-1160, mcnallyjackson.com). Oct 18 at 7pm; free.


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