Interesting Facts about Books

A book represents a basic element in a person's life as it is the one helping us grow mentally, spiritually and culturally. The importance of books has always been a long subject of debate, however, it is the personal relation that allows us to better describe the role a book can play in our lives. Here are some interesting facts about books.

You probably wonder what was the first printed book in the world. Well, this a quite tricky business since we should first establish what we understand by “printed”. As besides the modern printing methods even the first ways of transferring words or symbols to paper, clay and other materials can also be considered as printing that dates for thousands of years. Based on this and on different evidences, many people say that it is impossible to clearly state what was the first printed book in the world. However, authorities tend to give the credit to the Gutenberg Bible. On the other hand, there is also the possibility of giving the title to a certain book in Asia.

The largest book in the world is "The Klencke Atlas” with 1,75 meters long and 1,90 meters wide. It is so heavy as it needs six persons to lift it and other two to open it. Johan Maurits of Nassau made The Klencke Atlas, which Amsterdam merchant Johannes Klencke apparently presented to Charles II of England upon the king's restoration to the throne in 1660. The book is a collection of 37 printed wall maps encapsulating all the geographic and historical knowledge of the time. All the maps are either unique or one of only a few copies.

The most expensive book in the world has only 13 pages, but it has a worth of about 153 million euros. The title of the book is “The Task”, written by Tomas Alexander Hartmann. The author explained that its value stands in its content, the book offering answers to some fundamental questions of humankind in less than three hundred sentences: Where do we come from? Where are we going?, and What is the real task we still have to take on? The book could be seen in 2009 at the Dubai At Fair, but it will never be exhibited again, at the author's demand.

Well, we have the biggest and the most expensive books in the world, but we also have to mention the weirdest one. Even if for some people a book is indeed a strange object, maybe unknown, the book "Cent mille milliards de poèmes" ("One hundred million million poems") was written in 1961 by the French poet Raymond Queneau. It has only 10 pages with 14 lines on each page. So far, nothing seems weird. Its curiosity stands in the fact that every single page is cut into strips, containing a sonnet. These can be read combining fragments at your personal will. All ten sonnets have the same rhyme scheme and employ the same rhyme sounds. Therefore, any line from a sonnet can be combined with any from the other nine, giving 1014 (= 100,000,000,000,000) different poems. Reading all the possible variants would require a lot of time, therefore some people see it as being also the longest book in the world.

The longest online novel, on the other hand, is “Marienbad my love” written by Mark Leach and published in 1998. The author started writing the 17 million words novel in 1980, telling the story of a journalist who becomes a movie director convinced that after he would have filmed a new version of the French New Wave classic, “Last year at Marienbad” (1961), the end of the world would come. You can read the novel on

The most famous bookshop in the world is called Shakespeare and Company. Even though it is situated on Bucherie street, in Paris, France, this emblematic bookshop became famous due to its numerous visitors and tourists around the world. It was opened in 1919, on Dupuytren street, but it was closed in 1941, after the German occupation. The owner, Sylvia Beach (1887-1962) is known around the world as the publisher of the famous novel “Ulysses” by James Joyce.

One of the most controversial books of all times is “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov. This was a subject for controversy right from its publication in 1955 and the controversial character followed it ever since. It was published in France, but it was banned there and in other countries such as United Kingdom, South Africa, Argentina, or New Zealand. However, it seems that in America the book enjoyed a big success selling 100,000 copies in the first three weeks. The novel is an exploration inside the mind of a pedophile named Humbert Humbert, who narrates his life and obsession for nymphets like the 12-year-old Dolores Haze.

The National Library of Spain (Biblioteca Nacional de España), in Madrid, houses more than 6 million books. Founded by King Philip V of Spain in 1712, this is the largest library in the Spanish speaking world. Through its treasures one can find the Cervantes Collection of 26 editions of Don Quijote, printed in Castilian, in the 17th century. The library collection has over 26 million documents (manuscripts, incunabula, samples of printed documents dating back to before 1831, modern monographs, newspapers and other published works) that are placed on over 280 kilometers of bookstands.

Tags: interesting facts about books, Vladimir Nabokov, books, National Library of Spain, Gutenberg Bible, The Klencke Atlas, Charles II of England, Johan Maurits of Nassau, Johannes Klencke, The Task, Tomas Alexander Hartmann, Cent mille milliards de poèmes, One hundred m

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