Thursday, April 28, 2011

ABC, X for X-beliebige Fakten (Any Random Facts)

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X-beliebig is one of 54 x-words in my 'Duden' dictionary and the first of another 26 utterly useless, but also quite interesting facts about books and writing in my today's A-Z post:



  1. There have been over 20,000 books written about the game of Chess.
  2. The main library at Indiana University sinks over an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.
  3. The Bible contains 3,566,480 letters, or 810,697 words.
  4. The Library of Congress, Washington DC, USA contains 28 million books and has 532 miles of shelving.
  5. Pope Pius II wrote an erotic book 'Historia de duobos amantibus' in 1444.
  6. Paper was invented in China around 105 A.D., by the eunuch Ts'ai Lun.
  7. A new book is published every 13 minutes in America.
  8. Euclid is the most successful textbook writer of all time. His Elements, written around 300 B.C., has gone through more than 1,000 editions since the invention of printing.
  9. The first volume of recipes was published in 62 A.D. by the Roman Apicius. Titled De Re Coquinaria, it described the feasts enjoyed by the Emperor Claudius.
  10. The story of Cinderella first appears in a Chinese book written in the 850s.
  11. 315 entries in Webster's Dictionary will be misspelled.
  12. 85,000,000 tons of paper are used each year in the U.S.
  13. Goethe couldn't stand the sound of barking dogs and could only write if he had an apple rotting in the drawer of his desk.
  14. An original copy of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales sold for a record £4,621,500 (9 times the expected price) at Christies, London, UK on 8th July 1998 by a private collector. The book was the first major work printed in England by William Caxton, in 1477.
  15. Biggest books: The complete Buddhist scriptures were engraved on 729 white marble tablets and are regarded by Myanmar Buddhists as orthodox texts. The tablets are set up in a square, each being protected by a small temple. The 730th Pagoda is a conventional temple occupying the centre of the square. Each marble tablets are about 3' wide and 4' height. It is known as Ku Tho Daw Phayar, situated at the foot of Mandalay Hill, Mandalay.
  16. Another world breaker is a book called the Super Book, which has 300 pages, measures 2.74 x 3.07 mtrs and weighs 252.6kg.
  17. Barnes and Noble Bookstore, New York City, USA. It has 12 miles (20.71km) of shelving and covers an area of 14,330m² (154,250ft²).
  18. Of all time, this accolade goes to Agatha Christie, detective story authoress. Since 1920 her books have sold over a billion copies in the English language and another billion in over 45 foreign languages. She is outsold only by the Bible and William Shakespeare.
  19. J K Rowling's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth book in the acclaimed series, had a first-run print of 8.5 million copies. This is approximately 80 times the average bestseller!
  20. Between 1986 and 1996, Brazilian author Jose Carlos Ryoki de Alpoim Inoue had a massive 1,058 novels published. He writes westerns, science fiction and thrillers. Does he ever eat?
  21. The sole surviving written record of Mayan history is three codices written in hieroglyphs on bark paper. All three are now held in European cities.
  22. William Shakespeare's average annual income as a playwright was under £20, which works out to about £8 per play. However, he made about twice as much from writing plays as Ben Jonson, the only contemporary playwright who was better known at the time than Shakespeare.
  23. Shakespeare used around 29,000 different words in his plays. About 10,000 of those words had never previously been used in any surviving English literature. Around 6,000 words only appear once.
  24. Thomas Watson was one of the most popular and important playwrights in the Elizabethan age, but none of his dramas exists today.
  25. The Guinness Book of World Records, first published in 1955, got into itself nineteen years later, in 1974, by setting a record as the fastest-selling book in the world.
  26. In 1939 an author named Ernest Vincent wrote a 50,000 word novel called Gadsby. The only thing unusual about the novel is that there is not a single letter 'e' in the whole thing.

Continue here:
For Your Warehouse of Useless Knowledge (Not only book related!)
Fun Facts: Books and Literature
Some Interesting Facts about Books and Authors

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