Break the monotony of early-week blues by discovering some little-known facts about famous books and writers and about the history of books themselves!
The first printed books didn’t have the name of the author or even the title printed on the covers. The covers were artworks itself, covered in drawings, leather or even gold. So you really had no choice but to judge a book by its cover!
The longest sentence in English literature can be found in Jonathan Coe’s The Rotters Club (2001), which has 13,955 words. There is, however, also apparently a Polish novel that holds a whopping 40,000-word sentence. You can practically hear the 9th grade English teachers around the world groaning out loud now.
Former American president Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt was known to read an average of a book a day, occasionally up to three. This seems to be a presidential commonality, as former POTUS speed readers also include the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy.
The oldest cookbook in the world is inscribed on three small clay tablets from as far back as 1750 B.C. (in the time of Hammurabi) and contains cooking instructions for thirty-five Akkadian dishes.
Edgar Allan Poe introduced mystery fiction’s first fictional detective, C. Auguste Dupin, in his classic 1841 story, The Murders in the Rue Morgue.
Speaking of fictional detectives, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary Sherlock Holmes never actually said “Elementary, my dear Watson.”
The Danish word for bookseller is the ever-amusing “boghandler.”
The word “Yahoo” was coined by Jonathan Swift in Gulliver’s Travels, published in 1726. It was the name of a legendary, primitive creature that Swift described with less-than-favorable terms—the word is now used to indicate a similarly “coarse or brutish person.”
Agatha Christie (1890-1976) remains the world’s best-selling novelist.
Paperbacks first appeared in the U.S. around 1845 before more or less disappearing after legislation in 1891 had them banned. They resurfaced in 1936 when Allen Lane’s Penguin Press (sound familiar?) began publishing them again and sparked their newfound popularity. By 1980, about 70% of the books published in the U.S. were paperbacks.