I just read one of the best books about books, though much of the text was more in list form than in traditional sentences and paragraphs. It was more like a mini-encyclopedia slash atlas, featuring hundreds of entries that is sure to interest bibliophiles, bibliomaniacs, and bibliopoles – but not biblioclasmists, bibliophobiatics, or bibliokleptomaniacs.
I recently discovered the 2005 book at a used bookstore so I don’t know if in the past 13 years things have changed, but Bibliotopia or Mr. Gilbar’s Book of Books and Catch-all of Literary Facts and Curiosities compiled by Steven Gilbar is a gem.
Here are some book facts you may appreciate:
Oldest bookstore in the U.S. – the Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, PA was established in 1775 and is believed to be the longest-operating bookstore in the nation.
First-American Book Club – The Book–of-the-Month Club was established in 1926.
Most Ever Paid for a Book – In 2000, an original 4-volume subscription set of Audubon’s The Birds of America sold at auction for $8.8 million.
First Book Copyrighted – The Philadelphia Spelling Book was registered by its author, John Barry , on June 9, 1790.
First Book Printed in English – The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye was translated and published by William Carton in 1475.
First Printing Press in the New World – Mexico City, 1533.
First Printing Press in America – Cambridge, MA, 1638.
Fist Book Printed in America – The Bay Psalm Book (1640) was the first bound book printed in the British Colonies.
Biggest-selling Children’s Book Series – The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling.
Oldest Library in Existence – The Vatican Library, 1431.
Largest libraries in the U.S. based on number of books – 1.Library of Congress 2. Harvard University Library 3, New York Public Library. They rank, in the world, 1, 6, and 9 respectively.
World’s Longest Novel – Marcel Proust’s 13-volume book, In Search of Lost Time, contains 9,609,000 characters.
Nobel Prize in Literature Refusals – Two writers declined their honor. Jean-Paul Sartre in 1961 and he’s refusing the prize on the grounds that such awards could interfere with a writer’s responsibility to his readers. In 1958, Boas Pasternak was forced by the Soviet Union to refuse it.
Oscar Winners Based on Novels – Scores of Oscar-winning movies are based on books, including Gone with the Wind, All the King’s Men, In the Heat of the Night, The Godfather, Kramer vs. Kramer, Schindler’s List and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.
Many TV Shows are Based on Books – Sex and the City, Lassie and Little House on the Prairie are good examples.
First American Novel to be Adapted to the Stage – The Spy, in 1821, by James Penimore Cooper, premiered.
Great Novels – Turned-Into –Plays – Ragtime, Man of La Mancha, Showboat, Camelot, Damn Yankees, Cabaret, Fiddler on the Roof, Guys and Dolls, and Les Miserables come to mind.
First Exclusive Paperback Bookshop – City Lights Book Shop in San Francisco, 1953.
Famous American Pseudonyms – Ayn Rand was really Alissa Rosenbaum, Dr. Seuss was Theodore Seuss Geisel and Mark Twain was Samuel Clemens.
First Novel Published in the U.S. – The Power of Sympathy by William Hill Brown, in 1789.
Most Prolific American Author – Lauran Paine (1916-1995) wrote over 900 books, mainly westerns, romance novels, and mysteries, under an array of pen names.
Oldest Professional Society of Authors – In 2019, the Authors Guild will turn 100 and be the nation’s oldest and largest professional society of published authors.
Some Authors Who Were Rhodes Scholars – Naomi Wolf, Brian Greene, and Jonathan Kozol are some.
American Writers Who Never Went to College or Dropped Out After a Short Stint of College – Truman Capote, James Baldwin, Gore Vidal, Edith Wharton, Ernest Hemingway, and Eugene O’Neill come to mind.
Famous British Pen Names – George Orwell was Eric Blair; John Le Carre was David Cornwall; George Eliot was Mary Ann Evans.
First Novel Ever – the first full-fledged novel is Lady Murasaki’s The Tale of Genji, circa 1011, a chronicle of 10th century Japanese Court life.
Bibliotopia has many random lists, including the last words uttered by famous writers; the closing words of famous books; various awards winners; clichés from English literature; maxims of George Bernard Shaw; national historic landmarks associated with literary figures; etc.
Gilbar, now 77, has penned other books, including Good Books; A Book Lover’s Companion and Reading in Bed: Personal Essays on the Glories of Reading.
“Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.”
“A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.”
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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.
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