Tag: book history

Seven Surprising Facts About Books for National Trivia Day

It’s National Trivia Day, and I always want to know more about books. Here are seven book fun facts to celebrate the holiday right – and a hot tip to make ANOTHER holiday more bookish. Gold, dead languages, and a shocking number of knights – book history is INTERESTING.

 

Oldest Book

Image via Wigan Lane Books

The oldest book of all time is the Etruscan Gold Book, found in a canal in Bulgaria, and is now in the Bulgarian History Museum. It’s six pages and 24k gold, and written in Etruscan characters and illustrated. Clocking in at 2,673 years old, it’s the oldest book ever discovered, by a little over a hundred years. The runner up is also gold, the Pyrgi Gold Tablets, found in Italy and also written in Etuscan. (According to Wigan Lane Books)

 

 

Oldest Novel in English

Image result for le morte d'arthur
Image via Amazon

The title IS contested, but Le Mort d’Arthur by Thomas Malory is a hundred years older than the next candidate, Beware the Cat by William Baldwin. Though the spelling and grammar are inconsistently preserved today, this is still considered the definitive text on King Arthur. First published in 1485, there are bound to be some slips over the centuries. Malory’s original title was The Whole Book of King Arthur and His Noble Knights of the Round Table, but the publisher changed it after his death. (According to Wikipedia)

 

 

Longest Novel

Image result for Devta Mohiuddin Nawab
Image via Free Novels and Books

The longest novel ever written was Devta by Mohiuddin Nawab. Written between 1977 and 2010, it clocks in at over 8000 pages, in over fifty volumes. It was serialized in Urdu for all 33 years, and consists of a fictional bibliography of Farhad Ali Taimoor, a man who develops telepathic powers. This aside, it’s primarily a crime mystery. Interestingly, both runners up are French. (According to Wikipedia).

 

 

Most Banned

Image result for oldest bible cover
Image via Pinterest

This is kind of a straightforward answer, but the Bible is now the most banned book. It’s largely been banned in schools and classrooms, at least in the US, which also seems a little straightforward, but maybe also too much? Don’t ban books, people! Check out Strand Bookstore’s list of banned books for some classics they can’t stop you from reading. At least not in some places! Yikes.

 

 

Oldest Dictionary

Urra=Hubullu The Earliest Known Dictionaries (Circa 2,300 BCE). It consists of Sumerian and Akkadian lexical lists ordered by topic.
Image via Pinterest

The oldest dictionary ever written is considered to be this bilingual list of Sumarian-Akkadian words from about 2300BCE. Many modern day dictionaries of Akkadian exist if you want to learn an incredibly old language, and who doesn’t? The next oldest dictionaries were Babylonian and Chinese. The first English dictionary dates to 1604. (According to Wikipedia)

 

 

Best Selling Novel

Image result for don quixote
Image via The Conversation

The best selling novel of all time is Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, according to Best Life. It was published in Spanish in 1605 and 1615, and translated to English almost immediately, the first part being published in 1612 and the second in 1620. It follows a book mad knight errant and his farmer squire. It was first thought of as a comic novel, but during the French revolution it was viewed more as a moral work. (According to Wikipedia)

 

 

Jólabókaflóð

Image result for gift wrapped books
Image via Hearts & Minds Books

In Iceland, Christmas gifts are given on Christmas Eve, and they’re BOOKS. I mean, that’s basically what every gifting event already looks like for me, but enshrining it in tradition? I am IN. Should we all move to Iceland right now? They spend the rest of the night reading. They turned Christmas into the perfect holiday. I’m buying a plane ticket.

Image via Copy Blogger

 

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The New Library of Alexandria

The Library of Alexandria was maybe the greatest repository of knowledge in the ancient world. Located in Alexandria, Egypt, right on the Mediterranean, the library was burned by Julius Caesar in 48AD, and centuries worth of written wisdom were lost.

If you’re as upset about this fact as the rest of the internet, it’s probably too soon, but I come bearing good news: though we’ll probably never know exactly the magnitude of what we lost, there is now another library on the site of the burned one.

Image via Ancient World Magazine

 

The Maktabat El-Iskandarīyah (or… Library of Alexandria, in English) opened in 2002, and can hold up to eight million books, though it holds only about 100,000 now. This is equivalent to what scholars believe the Great Library, held in its day. Experts estimate the library won’t be full for another eighty years. The new Library of Alexandria is also home to seven specialized libraries, four museums, two extensive permanent collections, and access to the Internet Archive, a massive digital library.

Image via Pinterest

 

The ancient library was important not only in itself, as one of the most prestigious libraries of its age, but in that it was a model for other libraries which proliferated throughout the area in major cities and even in smaller ones. The new library, though modern, is both a memorial to the one that burned, and proof that knowledge is still valued as it was then. The library houses books in Classical Arabic, English, and French.

Featured image via Travel and Leisure