‘Battle of the Books’ returns to CMPL

By: Dean Vaglia | C&G Newspapers | Published November 4, 2022

 All six of the Battle of the Books titles are on display  at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library.

All six of the Battle of the Books titles are on display at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library.

Photo provided by CMPL

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Think you’re a good reader? Do you soak in all the information from books? Are you looking for a challenge? Well, grab some friends and test your reading skills at the return of the Clinton-Macomb Public Library’s Battle of the Books.

Taking place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12, the Battle of the Books trivia game is back in person at the library’s main branch for the first time since 2020.

“It’s basically just book trivia,” said Meghan Mott, the library’s adult outreach manager. “Every year, we pick a new selection of six books, and all of the trivia questions come from the books on the reading list.”

The adult competition, now in its fourth edition, is a spin-off of a 12-book competition for kids that takes place in the spring.

“Our youth department has done a Battle of the Books longer than the adults have, but trivia programs are pretty popular with adults,” Mott said. “We thought it might be fun to try a Battle of the Books for adults, too, kind of combining our leaders and our book clubs and have lots of people reading the same books but also (considering how) popular the trivia programs are.

“It combines all of those elements; reading, reading with friends, reading with a group, but also trivia,” Mott said.

The battle is divided into two segments of 20 short-answer questions. Groups have two minutes to read and hear the question, consult with each other, write the answers down and then return them to the judge. Librarians read the books and develop questions to avoid the chance of ambiguous answers.

This year’s six books are “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone,” by Lori Gottlieb; “The Midnight Library,” by Matt Haig; “Of Women and Salt,” by Gabriela Garcia; “The House in the Cerulean Sea,” by T.J. Klune; “Dial A for Aunties,” by Jesse Sutanto; and “The Maid,” by Nita Prose.

“We decided at some point that six seemed like a good number (of books) for adults,” librarian Sarah von Oeyen said. “And then we wanted to make it a mix of genres, so it’s not all the same thing (and) people are getting a taste of a little bit of everything.”

Titles chosen for the Battle of the Books tend to be newer books that are used in CMPL reading programs and groups. Extra copies of the books are purchased, some getting up to 15 copies in circulation throughout the library system to ensure contestants can read what they need. The books are kept on a display in the main branch.

Up to 20 teams can compete, and at last count, seven teams were registered through the CMPL. Partner libraries may provide other teams and interested teams can register at cmpl.libnet.info/event/6681222 by Nov. 11.

“Our goal in this is to make reading fun,” von Oeyen said. “Trying to have things that will appeal to a wide group of people, making it easy for them to find the books to read and then questions that aren’t super challenging, so it feels like anyone can participate.”

Awards will be handed out to first-, second- and third-place teams. Prizes include gift cards and library merchandise. A team spirit award is also up for grabs.