I am working on a series of book-trivia puzzles. Given an excerpt from the book directly mentioning the book title, players are asked to fill in the title.


Given the excerpt

...now we were running down for it with a bright lookout day and night. It was about the last day of our outward voyage by the largest computation; some time that night, or at latest before noon of the morrow, we should sight the [book title].

recover the book title:

Robert Lewis Stevenson, Treasure Island.

This is an example of a book suitable for this puzzle, because

Words outward voyage hint at heroes travelling by the sea, and with a bright lookout hints that they are searching for a feature in the sea, i. e., a reef, a ship, or an island. This limits the search for the answer to the known works of fiction with island in the name.

More examples

I will give more examples that I deem good below, both for the sake of clarity and for your entertainment.

  1. The cub, who had thus received a name in the world, lay and watched. For a time the man-animals continued to make their mouth-noises. Then Grey Beaver took a knife from a sheath that hung around his neck, and went into the thicket and cut a stick. [Book title] watched him.

The cub and man-animals hint at an animal story, and specifically, one told from the animal perspective. Grey Beaver sounds like a Native American name / nickname. Combine the two to get White Fang by Jack London.

  1. We have devoted several centuries to inventing and elaborating [book title] as a universal language and method for expressing all intellectual concepts and all artistic values and reducing them to a common denominator.

The title of the book is a universal language system and is a method of expressing both science and art. Few authors have dared to combine science and art in one action, and even fewer named their books after such actions. The answer is The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse.

  1. The human beings did not hate [book title] any less now that it was prospering; indeed, they hated it more than ever. Every human being held it as an article of faith that the [book title] would go bankrupt sooner or later, and, above all, that the windmill would be a failure. They would meet in the public-houses and prove to one another by means of diagrams that the windmill was bound to fall down, or that if it did stand up, then that it would never work.

Again, human beings are contrasted to the main characters of the work of fiction, so they might be animals. If [book title] can go bankrupt, it should have a kind of company, enterprize, factory etc in the title. Combine to get Animal Farm by George Orwell.

  1. I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff—I mean if they’re running and they don’t look where they’re going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That’s all I’d do all day. I’d just be [book title] and all. I know it’s crazy, but that’s the only thing I’d really like to be. I know it’s crazy.

A monologue declares that the character wants to be someone, and his main responsibility will be to catch people. Naturally, he is a catcher, specifically, The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.

  1. "Can't we," he pleaded to the world, to himself, to the officials, to the Machine, "can't we take it back, can't we make it alive again? Can't we start over? Can't we-"

    He did not move. Eyes shut, he waited, shivering. He heard Travis breathe loud in the room; he heard Travis shift his rifle, click the safety catch, and raise the weapon.

    There was [book title].

Making alive again and starting over hints at time travel stories. Then, in the second paragraph, sounds are thouroughly listed: loud breathing, shifting a rifle, clicking the catch; we are safe to assume that the book title will have a sound. Specifically, A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury.

  1. “You are a silly little boy,” said the [book title], “just an ignorant, silly little boy.”

    Simon moved his swollen tongue but said nothing.

    “Don’t you agree?” said the [book title]. “Aren’t you just a silly little boy?”

    Simon answered him in the same silent voice.

    “Well then,” said the [book title], “you’d better run off and play with the others. They think you’re batty. You don’t want Ralph to think you’re batty, do you? You like Ralph a lot, don’t you? And Piggy, and Jack?”

A work of art clearly depicting little boys and their wrongdoings. Too much conflict to be Peter Pan. It's Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

  1. I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin [book title].

More of a construction puzzle, this one. The book title clearly has a verb first and a bird to contrast bluejays second. It's To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

  1. Goodby Miss Kinnian and dr Strauss and evrybody…

    PS. please tel prof Nemur not to be such a grouch when pepul laff at him and he woud have more frends. Its easy to have frends if you let pepul laff at you. Im going to have lots of frends where I go.

    PPS. please if you get a chanse put some [book tilte] grave in the bak yard.

If a characteristic spelling, intentionally left out even in the placeholder, does not give this one away, think of things that are typically put at the graves. Food? Books? Anyway, flowers come to my mind first. Seeking for a work of fiction with Flowers in the title, it's Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.

  1. “The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends,” Ser Jorah told her. “It is no matter to them if the high lords play their [book title], so long as they are left in peace.”

First, there's something that high lords play, so we have a good chance of guessing right by looking for titles containing Game. A medieval fantasy series with lots of high lords? Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.

  1. One of the recurring philosophical questions is: “Does a falling tree in the forest make a sound when there is no one to hear?”

    Which says something about the nature of philosophers, because there is always someone in a forest. It may only be a badger, wondering what that cracking noise was, or a squirrel a bit puzzled by all the scenery going upwards, but someone. At the very least, if it was deep enough in the forest, millions of [book title] would have heard it.

Might be the hardest ones. Who hears the sound in the forest, but for the people and animals? Insects? Possibly. Supernatural beings? More fitting for the title of a book raising philosophical questions. Millions of supernatural beings? Small Gods by Terry Pratchett.


Try finding the answers without looking up in the Internet. I am fully aware that search engines trivialize this puzzle to the point where it can be done programmatically. However, I believe my examples have all the clues needed to answer the questions on your own.

Do provide some feedback: was it hard or not?

If you can, please suggest more books that can be plausibly used in the puzzle.

EDIT. Most of the book titles have been correctly answered at this point. I'm updating the post with hints and answers. I'll still be happy with feedback.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/TitleDrop/Literature could be a good source for these. $\endgroup$
    – f''
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 4:08
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I've voted to close: asking people to make puzzles is not on-topic for this site. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 4:09
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I didn't find these to be puzzley but more like trivia. I recognized the ones I read immediately and feel like I had no chance with those I don't know. The names and context make familiar ones easy to recognize. $\endgroup$
    – xnor
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 4:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @xnor I feel I can expand on how to answer each of those without having read the actual books. Should I do that? $\endgroup$
    – svavil
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 7:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @svavil Looking at the explanations for ones I didn't get: #2 and #10 I never heard of and had no chance. #1 I somewhat knew about and perhaps could have gotten from the implied format with more thought. For #4 and #5, I understand the explanation in retrospect, but my knowledge the titles only existed vaguely in my memory enough that I can't imagine having gotten the clues. Maybe I'm just not peripherally aware enough of literature that I haven't read to be your target audience. $\endgroup$
    – xnor
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 3:33

7 Answers 7


I've got one:

“and in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing [part of the book title]. In the souls of the people [book title] are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This one is nice. Searching for feelings, I initially went for The Hunger Games, but the real answer is so much better. $\endgroup$
    – svavil
    Commented Feb 27, 2016 at 23:07
  • $\begingroup$ I'm marking this as the accepted answer because it adds valuable information to the post. $\endgroup$
    – svavil
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 12:51

6 is:

Lord of the Flies

And 7 must be:

To Kill a Mockingbird

  • $\begingroup$ You got both correct! $\endgroup$
    – svavil
    Commented Feb 27, 2016 at 23:08

I think 3 is

Animal Farm.

As stated already, 6 and 7 are:

Lord of the Flies and To Kill a Mockingbird.

8 is

Flowers for Algernon.

  • $\begingroup$ You got 3 and 8 correctly! $\endgroup$
    – svavil
    Commented Feb 27, 2016 at 23:08


Small Gods

Paul Evans's answer:

Grapes of Wrath

1 and 9 I thought were easy.

2, 5 and 8 I don't know, and I'm pretty sure I haven't read.

3 and Paul Evans's I didn't know right off, but the clues were enough to guess.

I should think programmatically creating these would be of the same order of difficulty as solving them, and vastly more entertaining.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm not really sure if they can be created programmatically. Finding full texts of works of fiction that are not on Gutenberg project is tricky, and then I put a lof of effort into having some hints in the excerpts. $\endgroup$
    – svavil
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 8:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You've got mine correctly save the The at the beginning and so glad you solved it as a puzzle - some human effort was used to choose it so: ) ) $\endgroup$
    – Paul Evans
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ @svavil you are right, my first attempts for #4 which I though should be pretty easy using google books failed due to the title being put at the top of every page. $\endgroup$
    – user19641
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 17:51


The Catcher in the Rye


(A) Game of Thrones


I think 1 is

White Fang

And 5 is

A Sound of Thunder

but that's technically a short story.

Either way, it was kind of hard, but mostly becuase if you haven't happened to read that particular book you haven't a chance.

  • $\begingroup$ You got 1 and 5 correct. $\endgroup$
    – svavil
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 13:28

Note: whoops, I didn't read closely enough to see that this answer was already here.

8 is

Flowers For Algernon

but not exactly because that doesn't fit the sentence structure; it must be

Flowers on Algernon's

or something like that.

  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, the actual text does not contain the book title precisely. I gave myself some leeway here, but this possibly should not make it to the final version. $\endgroup$
    – svavil
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 20:31

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