By Jeopardy! contestant
The Reading List
The people at Jeopardy, or Millionaire or Weakest Link will not give you any clues about what to study. In fact, due to the systems in place to prevent cheating, even the producers of the show won't know the exact material until the day of the show. So you'll have to decide what to study.
These are books, tapes, videos and other resources I actually used. (I figure I spent about $3,000 on Jeopardy between travel and books. It was worth it.) Yes, I am trying to sell them to you, via a link with Amazon.com. The price is the same as if you went directly, but I get a 5% commission which I promise will only go into my four year old son's college savings. You can, and should, study according to your identified weaknesses, but this list may save you some of the shopping around. A lot of them are audio books, because I used my commute time to study. (Audio books implies audio cassette unless CD is specified.)
A note on kids books. Non-fiction books for children, especially for teens, are great sources of information. They usually cover the topic in a very introductory way, but are usually thorough enough to hit all the important issues. You can't learn everything, so just learn the basics about as many different things as you can.
Literature You'll need to know major authors, works, and major characters.
The Poetry of Walt Whitman, Audio Book with study guide
Short cut to Art & Literature, Audio CD Book
The History of English Literature, Audio CD Book
Lives of the Authors, Audio Book
Reading - from Plato to Bradbury by Robert Kanigel
Shakespeare You'll need to know the major plays, their plots and major characters. Shakespeare is really fun - one of the best things about Jeopardy was getting reacquainted with the Bard. If you can rent Mel Gibson's video version of Hamlet I highly recommend it, forsooth 'tis better than BraveHeart!
Hamlet, Audio Book with study guide
Macbeth, Audio Book with study guide
King Lear, Audio Book with study guide
A Midsummer Night's Dream, Audio Book with study guide
The Merchant of Venice, Audio Book
Julius Caesar, Audio Book
Essential Shakespeare, Audio Book
Children's Shakespeare, Audio Book
Shakespeare Stories (Kid's Book)
Shakespeare Stories - Histories
William Shakespeare, A & E Biography Video
Hamlet, Starring Sir Laurence Olivier, Video
An Introduction to Shakespeare
Mythology You'll need to know at least the Greek and Roman gods and their stories. Knowing a Norse tale or two may be helpful as well.
D'aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, Audio Book
Bullfinch's Mythology, Audio Book
Wishbone, The Odyssey (kids book)
Complete Idiot's Guide to Classical Mythology
Great Books You Ought to Know at Least the Plots of:
I found the study guides that some of these audio books come with very helpful.
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, Audio Book
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, Audio Book with study guide
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, Audio Book with study guide
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Audio Book with study guide
Paradise Lost, by John Milton, Audio Book with study guide
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, Audio Book with study guide
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Audio Book with study guide
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, Audio Book with study guide
The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway, Audio Book with study guide
Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo, Audio Book
Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo, kids book
Don Quixote, by Cervantes, Audio Book
Geography Know all the states and their capitals, the Canadian provinces (Alex is from Canada, there is always a "Canadian Question"), and all world capitals and major cities. Study a map, globe or atlas and make lists until you have them memorized. Also watch the news on CNN or listen to NPR on the radio to get in depth news. Jeopardy often asks about countries that have been in the news.
Don't Know Much About Geography, Audio Book
History Know the major wars, explorers, past and present leaders of important countries, major inventions, Presidents, Vice Presidents, English Royalty and big scandals.
Time / CBS News People of the Century, Audio Book
Lives of the Presidents, Audio Book
The Lives of the Kings & Queens of England, Audio Book
Instant Genius - The Constitution, Audio Book
Instant Genius - US Wars Before 1900, Audio Book
Instant Genius - US Wars After 1900, Audio Book
The American Century I, 1889 - 1929, Audio Book
The American Century II, 1929 - 1945, Audio Book
The American Century III, 1945 - 1965, Audio Book
The American Century IV, 1963 - 1989, Audio Book
The Complete Idiot's Guide to British Royalty
Don't Know Much About History, Audio Book
Magazine American Legends
Entertainment & Celebrities My "weakest link." Know who won the Oscars, film directors, movie stars, who's hot right now, musical groups, mixed drinks, fine foods, and popular television.
Instant Genius - Wine, Audio Book
101 Great Movies for Kids, by Jeffery Lyons
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Movies, Flicks & Film
People Magazine, Great Cover Subjects, Audio Book
A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies, Video
People Magazine Celebrates the '80s
Director's Vision, A Guide to 250 Great Filmmakers
Art and Artists Know famous American painters and their works, Impressionist painters, major themes and movements, French artists, Leonardo and Rembrandt, major museums in New York and Europe. Sister Wendy is a great help! (She was a Final Jeopardy question once too!)
Shortcut to Art & Literature, Audio CD Book
Lives of the Artists, Audio Book
Instant Genius - Modern Art, Audio Book
Art for Dummies, by Thomas Hoving
Sister Wendy's Story of Painting, Modernism, Video
Sister Wendy's Story of Painting, Grand Tour, Video
Sister Wendy's American Collection, boxed set Video
Classical Music Know major composers in Europe, major works, types of instruments, American musical theater, major operas and their plots. I discovered I really like opera too, like Shakespeare it's full of blood, sex, intrigue and action!
Opera for Dummies, Audio Book
Lives of the Musicians, Audio Book
Jazz, History of America's Music, by Ken Burns, Audio Book
Classical Music for Dummies, Audio Book
Philosophy and Religion Know major religions, religious holidays, religious leaders, philosophers and their ideas and books. Find an old high school philosophy textbook.
Instant Genius - Philosophy, Audio Book
Instant Genius - World Religions, Audio Book
Don't Know Much About the Bible, Audio Book
Sports Know major pro teams and stars, college teams, their mascots and cities, championships, Super Bowl and World Series winners, major scandals, basic history of major sports.
Sports Illustrated Moments of Glory, Audio Book
Sports Illustrated American Heroes, Audio Book
America's Greatest Olympians, Video
Famous Athletes, Kids Book
20 Greatest Athletes of the 20th Century (Kids book)
Football All Stars (Kids book)
Story of the Olympics (Kids book)
Great Sporting Moments
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