April 23 is International World Book and Copyright Day sponsored by UNESCO (United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization). According to the UNESCO website, the day “is an opportunity to recognize the power of books to change our lives for the better and to support books and those who produce them.”
My Tuesday list this week consists of interesting facts about books or authors. To present only 10 facts about this topic is somewhat ludicrous. It is somewhat akin to taking 10 drops of water from an ocean and claiming the sample you obtain is representative of all the oceans in the world.
This list is actually a teaser to get you to look at the blog Interesting Literature with a tagline of “A Library of Literary Interestingness”. It is an excellent, fascinating blog packed with the greatest trivia about books and authors. It is the source of the book facts that comprise today’s list. Examples of posts from the blog are: “5 Fascinating Facts About Ernest Hemingway“ and “Interesting Facts About the Cinderella Fairy Tale.” The site contains something for everyone and I highly recommend it.
10 Interesting Facts About Books from Interesting Literature
- Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar has sold around 30 million copies. This classic children’s book was originally called A Week with Willi Worm with the main protagonist being a book warm.
- The American writer Washington Irving was named after the first official President of the United States and was the first person to refer to New York as “Gotham City.”
- The Japanese word “tsundoku” means “buying a load of books and then not getting around to reading them.
- John Steinbeck used 300 pencils to write East of Eden. He preferred using pencils over a typewriter or pens and was known to use up to 60 pencils in a day.
- “Bibliosmia” is the enjoyment of the smell of old books.
- Only 2% of the 2.1 million different books sold in the U.S. in 2004 sold more than 5,000 copies.
- J.K. Rowling’s first fan letter was written by a girl named Francesca Gray who began the letter, “Dear Sir..” Rowling wrote under her initials J.K. because her publisher thought her book would be less appealing to boys if the author was known to be a woman.
- Sir Arthur Canon Doyle was originally going to name Sherlock Holmes “Sherrinford”. The name was changed to Sherlock possibly because of a cricket player who bore the name. Doyle was a fan of cricket and played cricket himself.
- The term “scaredy-cat” was invented by Dorothy Parker in a 1933 short story called “The Waltz.”
- The biggest selling book written in English is Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities.
The international World Book Day has been celebrated on April 23 since 1995. April 23, 1616 was the date of death of William Shakespeare. It was also said to be the date of death of Miguel de Cervantes although he had actually died the day before. April 23 was also the date of death of William Wordsworth in 1850. Some countries celebrate World Book Day on other days.
Here’s to celebrating and enjoying books and the richness they bring to our lives.
What other interesting fact about books or authors would you add to the list?
[In the spirit of spreading blog love, I want to give credit to the blog from where I first learned about Interesting Literature. A post 30 Interesting Facts About Books was re-blogged on The Thoughts and Life of Me on March 5 because Norway celebrated World Book Day on March 7. That post led me to Interesting Literature.]