50 Interesting Facts about Books and Novels

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26The Iron Giant

The Iron Giant

The writer behind the 'The Iron Giant', Ted Hughes, had written the book for his two children to help explain to them the 1963 suicide death of their mother.

27. The collective nouns we use for animals (gaggle of geese, herd of deer, etc.) mostly come from the ‘Book of St. Albans,’ which was published in 1486. It also included terms for professions such as a melody of harpists, a sentence of judges and a superfluity of nuns.

28. The first Sherlock Holmes book "A Study in Scarlet" was the first work of fiction to mention a magnifying glass being used as an investigative tool and is the reason we still connect this item with detectives today.

29. J.R.R. Tolkien began a book named "The Lost Road," which concerned modern-day people experiencing "flashbacks" to their former selfs in the Middle Earth. He died before finishing it.

30. When F. Scott Fitzgerald died, he thought that he was a failure, and his work forever forgotten. His novel, 'The Great Gatsby', was reviewed poorly and had only sold 20,000 copies. It's now considered the greatest novel in American history, and sells over 500,000 copies per year.

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The book 'Walden' by Henry David Thoreau is often seen as a 'bible' for self-sufficiency enthusiasts. However, while many picture Thoreau as a hermit in the woods, his cabin on the lake was about a mile from town, where he would often go to visit his mother, who did his laundry for him.

32. There is a book called "Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero" written by a neuroscience professor named E. Paul Zehr, which covers in detail how much an ordinary person would need to train and adapt to become Batman.

33. Between 2000 and 2002, over 1100 priceless books disappeared from the mountaintop abbey of Mont Saint-Odileto in France to the confusion of the monks and the local police, despite reinforcing the library's doors and changing its locks. It turned out that the culprit was using a long-forgotten secret passageway found in the public archives.

34. Despite being a quarter of a million words long, American novelist Herman Melville managed to use a unique word (a word that's only used once in the novel) per every 12 words in 'Moby Dick.'

35. In 'Hannibal' novel, Clarice Starling and Dr. Lecter escape together and become lovers in Argentina. (And Anthony Hopkins liked the ending better).

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36Paris in the Twentieth Century

Paris in the Twentieth Century

French novelist Jules Verne wrote the novel "Paris in the Twentieth Century" back in 1863 and described a world of glass skyscrapers, high-speed trains, gas-powered automobiles, calculators, and a worldwide communications network.

37. A book entitled ‘Atlanta Nights’ was written by a group of science fiction authors to be intentionally terrible as a test for the publisher PublishAmerica. It included a chapter containing computer generated random sentences and two word for word identical chapters. The publisher accepted it.

38. Horton Hears a Who!, by Dr. Seuss, is an allegory for post-World War 2 US occupation of Japan. Seuss, who was vehemently anti-Japanese during the conflict, had a drastic change of heart after visiting postwar Japan. He dedicated the book to a Japanese friend.

39. In 2010, an Australian publisher had to reprint 7,000 copies of a recipe book named 'The Pasta Bible' because a typo asked for "freshly ground black people" instead of black pepper.

40. A Dutch author named Richard Klinkhamer wrote a pretty suspicious book named ‘Woensdag Gehaktdag’, which detailed seven ways to kill your spouse. He wrote it a year after his wife disappeared. He became a celebrity and spent the next decade hinting - in print and on TV - that he had murdered her. Finally, it turned out that he really had.

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41Complete Manual of Suicide

Complete Manual of Suicide

‘The Complete Manual of Suicide’ is a Japanese book which provides explicit descriptions on various methods of suicide. It was first published in 1993 and sold more than 1 million copies.

42. In 1956, at the urging of radio host Jean Shepherd, listeners entered bookstores and asked for a book named ‘I, Libertine’ that did not exist. So many people took part in this hoax that the book was soon on The New York Times Best Seller list.

43. Harry Houdini wrote a book in 1909 called “Handcuff Secrets” in which he revealed many of the tricks behind his famous escapes.

44. The book 'A Clockwork Orange' by Anthony Burgess had two different versions, an American one and a European one, because the US publisher thought Americans would find the the idea of a criminal being redeemed unrealistic.

45. There is such an expansive collection of books under the British library in their archive, that if a person could read 5 books per day it would take them 80,000 years to complete.

46The Cuckoo's Calling

The Cuckoo's Calling

In 2013, J.K. Rowling secretly released a book named ‘The Cuckoo's Calling’ under a different name (Robert Galbraith) in order to release a book “without hype and expectation.” When she was revealed to be the author, the book surged from 4,709th on Amazon to #1 best-selling novel.

47. There has been a book written from the perspective of a successful sociopath/psychopath about the intricacies of the life of someone with this condition called "Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight". The book, for obvious reasons, was written under a pseudonym.

48. Sinclair Lewis wrote a satirical novel entitled 'Main Street' which criticized the close mindedness of a fictional small town in Minnesota. It was banned by the town of Alexandria (a small town in Minnesota), because they disagreed with it.

49. In ‘Q & A’, the novel on which the movie ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ is based on, the hero's real goal is to get close enough to the game show host to assassinate him.

50. The cigar brand Montecristo got its name from the Alexandre Dumas book "The Count of Monte Cristo". Books were often read aloud in the cigar factory by a lector, and the Dumas novel was a popular choice among the cigar rollers.

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