Literature Quiz / Cryptic Book Title Meanings

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Can you name the title of each literary work from an explanation of its meaning or origin?

Quiz Updated Sep 15, 2016

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Explanation of TitleTitleYear
This J. K. Rowling title takes its name from Severus Snape's lineage and mother's maiden name2005
David Foster Wallace's postmodern novel draws its title from a line in Hamlet in which (poor) Yorick is eulogized1996
This oddly titled Grisham novel really is about a short piece of legal writing concerning Louisiana birds central to the book's plot1992
Tom Clancy's novel about Colombian drug dealers takes its title from the idea that the government can regulate free speech if it presents a...1989
The heroine in this Thomas Harris thriller has nightmares of sheep being slaughtered. The villain claims she wishes to rescue a victim in order to stop the dreams1988
Cormac McCarthy's anti-western's sanguine title is not explained; it could be a reference to the sunset, the violence of westward settlement in North America, or a quote from Byron1985
Nothing to do with sinking boats, this Richard Adams novel about a group of intrepid rabbits takes its title from the real-life hill upon which it is set1972
An auctioneer's peddling of a specific group of goods gives Thomas Pynchon's novella its cryptic title1966
Joseph Heller's novel is titled in reference to a fictional military stipulation that satirizes the absurdity of war; the number was supposed to be 18 but Mila-18 took it first1961
The title of this Bradbury classic comes from the temperature he was told was the auto-ignition point of paper, though there is debate about whether it's correct1953
Explanation of TitleTitleYear
Forever destined to be confused with a similarly titled H.G. Wells novel, this masterwork by Ellison features no ghostly presences but rather a more figurative transparency1952
This novel's title may be a scrambling of the year in which Orwell wrote it; he originally favored 'The Last Man in Europe'1949
Ayn Rand wanted to title her novel of man's ego and architecture 'Mainspring,' but it had been recently used, so she found the current title in a thesaurus1943
Carson McCullers took the title of her debut novel from a poem by William Sharp; its ring of isolation and melancholy fits the novel well1940
The title references one of the fruits the desperate Okies are picking, but was actually coined by the author's wife from a line in the Battle Hymn of the Republic1939
Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer Prize winning smash takes its title from a poem by Edward Dowson, and the romantic idea that the antebellum South is forever lost1936
The title of Faulkner's magnum opus is adapted from Macbeth's Act V soliloquy: 'Life...is a tale told by an idiot, full of [the] ______ ___ [the] _____'1929
Hemingway mulled over a few titles, including 'Fiesta,' which was used in the UK, but settled instead for this biblical quote that illustrates man's ephemeralness1926
This book was named for a true-life notorious albino sperm whale1851
Though it focuses more on the Greeks, this Homeric epic gets its title from its setting of Ilium (aka Troy)~750 B.C.

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