Middle School Book Report | Connecticut Public Radio
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Middle School Book Report

Mar 1, 2019
Originally published on July 12, 2019 10:07 am

For everyone who thinks The Catcher in the Rye is about a baseball star stuck in a loaf bread, this game is for you. Contestants must identify books based on fictional book reports written by middle schoolers who only read the work's title.

As heard on Jim Gaffigan Brings The Laughs Again.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Want our next special guest to play for you? Follow ASK ME ANOTHER on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Our next game is middle school themed. And who knew doing a book report without reading the book would prepare me for a bright future in book clubs?

Let's meet our contestants. First up, Allison Kave, you own a combination bar and bakery. So cool.

ALLISON KAVE: Yes.

EISENBERG: OK. So how did you get into the bakery-bar business?

KAVE: Well, I was a baker and a bartender.

EISENBERG: You were a baker and a bartender.

KAVE: Yeah. I was - you know, you can't really make a lot of money baking pies. So you also have to bartend.

EISENBERG: Sure.

KAVE: So, yeah. That's sort of how the concept came about.

EISENBERG: And is it 50/50?

KAVE: We don't like to do really formal pairings. It's much more casual. So some people come in, you know...

EISENBERG: I love that you went for, we don't like to do formal pairings, like, I - yeah...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I wasn't even going there, and I was like, but you should.

KAVE: I mean, you can have whatever you want is the idea.

EISENBERG: Yes.

KAVE: So you can come and just get a piece of cake, come and just have a cocktail. We have regulars who just come every week and get a slice of our birthday cake or a beer or whatever. So...

EISENBERG: Fantastic. I love it.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Allison, when you ring in, we'll hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Your opponent is Joel Kotler. You work for an ad-tech startup, and you're currently taking care of a bonsai.

JOEL KOTLER: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: All right.

KOTLER: That's true.

EISENBERG: Joel, bonsais are tough.

KOTLER: You're telling me.

EISENBERG: Yeah. OK.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I love plants, but I'm a little intimidated by the bonsai. How - what made you decide to get into the bonsai...

KOTLER: Sure.

EISENBERG: ...Garden?

KOTLER: So I recently got into gardening...

EISENBERG: Yeah.

KOTLER: ...Just in general. It's been going great.

EISENBERG: Great.

KOTLER: And then I was at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, and they have those amazing bonsais...

EISENBERG: Yes.

KOTLER: ...That are like 100 or 200 years old. So I was like, I better get started.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: OK. So what kind of bonsai did you get?

KOTLER: So I have a trident maple bonsai, and it's pretty cool. But right now, it's actually in the basement of my apartment because it doesn't need any lights...

EISENBERG: It doesn't need any light?

KOTLER: ...Or anything during the winter. It's supposed to winter and stay that way...

EISENBERG: OK.

KOTLER: ...Or I hope so.

(LAUGHTER)

KOTLER: We'll find out in mid-March.

EISENBERG: Fantastic. I'm rooting for you.

KOTLER: Me too.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Rooting - anyways. Joel, when you ring in, we'll hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL RINGING TWICE)

EISENBERG: Remember, Allison and Joel, whoever has more points after two games will go to our final round. Let's go to your first game.

Allison, if you had to write an academic paper right now, what would you write about?

KAVE: Picking the perfect cocktail for any situation.

EISENBERG: Any situation?

KAVE: Any situation.

EISENBERG: OK. I've got one for you.

KAVE: OK.

EISENBERG: It's 7 a.m.

KAVE: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

KAVE: OK.

EISENBERG: You agreed to go to a yoga class at 8. You don't want to go. What cocktail?

KAVE: I mean, I think an Irish coffee is the obvious answer.

EISENBERG: Smart, smart, smart, smart.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Joel, if you had to write an academic paper right this minute, what would you write about?

KOTLER: I guess something I know more about than other people. So...

EISENBERG: Good one.

KOTLER: ...I guess smoking pot.

(LAUGHTER)

KOTLER: I'm pretty good at that.

KAVE: You're so healthy.

EISENBERG: That's kind of amazing. I mean, I can believe you said that. You're growing a bonsai for God's sakes.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: This trivia game is called Middle School Book Report. Jonathan and I will read fake book reports written by lazy middle schoolers who only bothered to read the assigned book's title and then just took it away from there.

KOTLER: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: You ring in and identify the book.

JONATHAN COULTON: Before Harry Potter, there was this guy named Chuck Dickens who also wrote long books. Believe it or not, Chucky D's (ph) book is also about a guy who does magic at the MGM theater in Las Vegas.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL RINGING TWICE)

COULTON: Joel.

KOTLER: "David Copperfield"?

COULTON: That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Jane Austin's P and P is a rad two-part book. Part one is about a LGBT parade. And part two is how my mom describes my uncle.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Allison.

KAVE: "Pride And Prejudice."

EISENBERG: You got that right. Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: John Steinbeck could have written only about rodents or only about dudes, but he made the interesting choice to write this book about both.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: This is a very good sequel to "Stuart Little."

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Allison.

KAVE: "Of Mice And Men."

COULTON: Yeah, that's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: According to Merriam-Website (ph), the first word in this book's title means to blow with a dull, roaring sound. In the next four paragraphs, I'll discuss why Emily Bronte chose to do these sounds from up high instead of down low. They're both thinking. I'll give you a hint. It's Emily Bronte's only novel.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Just make a list of all of her novels, and look right at the top.

EISENBERG: Right at the top.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: The main character's name is Heathcliff.

KAVE: Oh.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Allison.

KAVE: "Wuthering Heights."

EISENBERG: That is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: This is your last clue. Not a lot of people know this, but Alice Walker's famous book is actually a combination of two earlier books, "The Color Red" (ph) and "The Color Blue" (ph).

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Allison.

KAVE: "The Color Purple."

COULTON: You got it.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Great game. Allison is in the lead.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: If you were horrified by that last game because you always read the assigned book and it reminded you of all the slackers you were stuck working on a group project with, you should be on our show. Go to amatickets.org.

Coming up, we're going to rock about rock. We're going to get stoned. I mean, we're going to be singing about minerals. And if you think we've hit rock bottom, we're not even close.

I'm Ophira Eisenberg and this is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.