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Literary Finger Puppets!

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Go Fish — For Book Nerds!

There’s a lovely new game on the market for book nerds.  Well, it’s actually an old game with a new  literary twist, but I find it incredibly enjoyable and thought I’d share.

Notable Novelists of the 20th Century” is essentially just the classic card game Go Fish, but the sets you’re trying to build and match are authors.

Eighteen noted authors – Edith Wharton, James Baldwin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Roberto Bolano, Virginia Woolf, Zora Neale Hurston, Ernest Hemingway, Willa Cather, John Cheever, William Faulkner, Kurt Vonnegut, Flannery O’Connor, Vladmir Nabokov, D.H. Lawrence, Saul Bellow, James Joyce, E.M. Forster, and Richard Wright – are featured on a series of cards.  For each author, there’s an Author card (which featured a cleverly drawn cartoon-ish image of the author), a Bio card (which has a fact or two about said author), and a Library card (which features a few of their selected titles.)

At the start of the game, each player is dealt four cards.  Your goal is to complete the three-card set for each author.   So, for example, if after the original cards are dealt you find yourself with the Vonnegut Author and Bio card, you’d go looking to see who had the Vonnegut Library card.  Once you have all three cards in an author set, you lay it down.  The winner is the person with the most sets once all the cards are gone.

Creators Gina Manola, Nick Rudd, and Townes Durbin have obviously taken their time in creating this game, and the artwork is lovely.  I’m sure narrowing down all the authors that could have been included into just these eighteen was tricky, but I appreciate the diversity of the authors selected.  (Where else are Edith Wharton and Kurt Vonnegut going to share the same space?)

As someone who digs learning about authors, I really enjoy the game.  For my friends who aren’t as book-crazed, it’s like playing Go Fish, which is always fun.  So really, it’s a win all around. I recommend it as a gift for the special booknerd in your life.

A Board Game for Book Nerds: “Liebrary”

I didn’t expect to leave the Chicago Toy & Game Fair with a new favorite board game.

Then again, I’d never really given the idea of book-based board games a thought. If such things existed, I was unaware of them.  My scope of board games was limited to my beloved classics – Monopoly, Clue, Trivial Pursuit, and the like.

Then, in the middle of a convention on Navy Pier, I met “Liebrary.”

In the vein of games like “Balderdash,” which require some cunning, “Liebrary” is a game where you have to guess the first line of famous novels – and you have to bluff in order to get the other players to guess the wrong one.  There are five categories of books – Classics, Children’s, Romance, Fiction/Nonfiction, and Horror/SciFi/Mystery – and one player acts as the librarian, who presides over the reading of the correct and incorrect first lines.

(Me, Presiding over my dominion as Librarian.)

Having bought the game, we headed home with our friends Brett and Amanda to test it out. (And also to test the other games we bought at the fair, too!)  Wine and cheese were consumed, and games were played, and I’m delighted with “Liebrary.” I mean, there were questions about “1984,” “Breakfast of Champions,” and even a Nora Roberts book.  I can’t even imagine what other books are featured in the stack of cards.

Yeah, it’s super-nerdy.

Of course, I adore it.

Randomly, the game was created by actresses Daryl Hannah (yep, that Daryl Hannah) and Hilary Shepherd, both board game fanatics. Somehow, the edition of the game I bought at the fair is autographed by both actresses, so you know – score!It’s distributed by Discovery Bay Games and is, honestly, a blast. (Side Note: Brett, a movie nerd, purchased Discovery Bay’s “Famous Last Lines” game, which is a lot like “Liebrary” and super fun, too!)

Need a gift for that special book nerd in your life? Look no further.