Member Reviews

Part-history and part-strategy guide, Answers in the Form of Questions is a loving look at Jeopardy! It was written before Alex Trebek passed, of course, so it will need some editing. However, it’s still got a great hook and mostly stays well on track.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an ARC. This review contains my honest, unbiased opinion.

Was this review helpful?

Category: Entertainment
Clue: A trip down memory lane
Answer: What is a book about Jeopardy!, my all-time favorite TV game show?

Fact is, my husband and I rarely miss it (for the record - and the benefit of various friends and family who might wonder what happened to us from 7 to 7:30 on a weeknight - if the phone rings when we're watching we refuse to answer).

You see, we go all the way back to the 1964 debut of the show with Art Fleming as the host and Don Pardo as the announcer. The current version is far more popular with viewers, with host Alex Trebek bounding on stage at the exuberant introduction of announcer Johnny Gilbert. Neither is exactly a spring chicken; Gilbert is well into his 90s (and still, IMHO, doing a bang-up job).

Despite being ecstatic over getting the chance, thanks to the publisher, to read and review a pre-release copy of this book, I figured I would already know most of what's in it. To some extent, I was right. But truth is, I learned a lot - most notably about such things as the importance of mastering buzzer ring-in timing, the process of becoming a contestant (don't for one second think it comes easy, or cheap) and what really happens behind the scenes. On top of that come insights from former champions - almost all of whom are familiar to those of us who watch religiously. From handlebar-mustached New York cop Frank Spangenberg to quirky bartender Austin Rogers to somewhat more conventional Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings and the phenomenal James Holzhauer, they're all in here - offering tidbits about their strategies and experiences. There's even a chapter on the show's very active Alumni Chapter and how Weird Al Yankovic influenced the show's revival (say WHAT)?

I wish I could reveal some of the details, but doing so would spoil it for others so I'll keep them to myself, recommend that you read the book for yourself and end with this:

Category: Adjectives
Clue: Word that best describes this book
Answer: What is delightful?

Was this review helpful?

I love Jeopardy. Completely and unreservedly. It isn’t just the best game show ever, it’s my favorite sport and by far the only one I’d consider worth watching. It has managed to stay on and stay relevant in a country that has grown increasingly anti intellectual without ever pandering to the unread unwashed or dolling itself up to compete with other hotter for a time but always inferior programs of similar nature. Jeopardy is smart, fun, good, unflashy and steady. Good qualities for a person or a tv show. I’ve watched it, even read about it, in Jeopardy’s best for my money champion Jennings’ Brainiac and another book dedicated to quiz shows and trivia in general, but this was a text dedicated exclusively to the game itself, facts, trivia, stats, numbers and, of course, the people behind it all. The show isn’t just hosted to perfection, it also has a dedicated team that’s been around for ages and then there are the players, the brainiacs and the maniacs whose dedication and, at times, obsession, drives them to get on the show and compete. The eternal trivia pursuit, if you will. And it’s really inspiring to read about, because despite the fact that there is a significant amount of money involved, at its base the show is about knowing things and showing that knowledge proudly, which is kinda awesome. Actually, the money thing is real and a lot of the book is dedicated to it, the betting strategies, the wagers and all that, but it’s never been the attractor for me and frankly there isn’t that much money in it comparing to other shows and the level of difficulty in playing. It’s about the sheer pleasure of knowing the right answer…or, in this case, the right question. Anyone who’s ever played any sort of competitive trivia game, even a pub quiz, should be familiar with it. It’s fun. So basically I knew a fair amount about Jeopardy and figured this was going to be like a revisit of sorts, a tour of a museum you like but have been to, but no…this book actually had lots of new to me and fascinating information, from genuinely quirky things like the bizarrely significant role Weird Al has played in making Jeopardy 2.0 version go live to some genuinely entertaining Jeopardy facts and statistics to solution to elimination of Kids Jeopardy to mustache obituary. There are stories about the greatest champions, carbon based and AI. Stories about astoundingly determined aspirants and once upon a timers. Stories about an entire community of trivia loving individuals. And, of course, a speculation on what’s next, because it appears that after decades of consistency, the show will soon have a new producer, audience coordinator and possibly a new…no, can’t go there yet, too sad. Actually, I haven’t watched Jeopardy in a while and this book has made me miss it terribly, so right now I’ve no idea what’s going on with the show, but it has my absolutely best wishes and hopes for a bright continuously excellent future. This was a lovely read, educational and entertaining, much like its subject. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.

Was this review helpful?