Adult Books

I Used to Know That: Literature
Stuff You Forgot From School

By C. Alan Joyce and Sarah Janssen

Subject: Bestselling I Used to Know That Series
Paper-over-board | 176 pages | 5 3/8 x 8 x 11/16
US$14.99 | CAN$15.99
Publication Date: 2012-02-29
ISBN: 9781606524152
EBOOK: 9781606523865

The latest book in the popular I Used to Know That series is a collection of little-known stories about some of the world's best-known books and authors.

Bibliophiles, grab your glasses! Here is a compendium of interesting—and often scandalous—facts and quips about the literary world. Featuring authors and tomes of yesteryear and yesterday, from Tolkien's Middle-earth to Jeffrey Eugenides's Middlesex, I Used to Know That: Literature includes sections such as:

  • You Don't Say: Commonly-used words and phrases that were coined or popularized in classic words of fiction—sometimes with very different meanings.
  • Gruesomely Ever After: The original endings of some of the world's most cherished fairy tales—Snow White, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, and more.
  • Hip to be Square: Banned works of fiction and the controversy surrounding them.
  • Anthropomorphized Characters: The real-life stories and inspirations behind beloved "leading creatures."
  • Time to Make the Doughnuts: Odd jobs of famous authors.
  • Parental Guidance Suggested: Dahl?s short stories, Seuss?s political cartoons; the lesser-known, and sometimes shocking, adult writings of beloved children?s authors.
  • The Long Con: Shocking (and sometimes shockingly long-lived) literary hoaxes: Frey, JT Leroy, The Education of Little Tree, The Day After Roswell, etc.
  • Science Fiction, Science Fact: If alien monoliths are ever found on the moon, the safer bet is that they would be translucent crystal; Sir Arthur C. Clarke is celebrated for making accurate predictions of various technologies, years ahead of their time. A look at which of his predictions held true and the same feats of other authors.
  • Screen Test: The truth about great works of fiction and the odd challenges that had to be surmounted to bring them to the silver screen.
  • The Secret Life of Kilgore Trout: True facts about fake characters (and the writers who created them).


Sarah Janssen is an editor of The World Almanac and Book of Facts and other diverse titles, focusing primarily on arts and media, consumer information, geography, history, and sports. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.