It’s not important that you read a whole book on September 6, recognized across America as National Read a Book Day. But it’s great if you can get one started.
To celebrate the day and to help you warm up your reading muscles, we’ve found five reading-related fun facts we hope you’ll appreciate. Enjoy!
Golden Oldie. The oldest dated printed book known is the “Diamond Sutra,” published May 11, 868. A Daoist monk discovered the text in a Chinese cave in 1900. The book, which is a collection of wood block prints, reveals a sermon by the Buddha. The book was so named because, according to the Buddha, its wisdom is as sharp as a diamond and quickly cuts through to the truth.
An Arm and a Leg. The most expensive book to date is the famous “Codex Leicester Leonardo da Vinci,” bought by billionaire Bill Gates in 1994 for about $31 million. The book, which dates to the early 1500s, is a collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s scientific writings on such topics as fossils, geology, the movement of water and the light of the moon. With its pages unbound, Gates regularly puts the book on display.
Enlightenment Blockbuster. The bestselling novel of all time, according to many, is “Don Quixote.” Written by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra in 1605, it’s estimated to have sold more than 500 million copies. The book follows the adventures of Alonso Quixano and his quest to restore chivalry to the world. Some consider it the best work of fiction ever written.
Protracted Prose. The longest novel ever written, according to the Guinness World Book of Records, is Marcel Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past.” Proust, a French novelist born in 1871, was one of the most famous novelists of the 20th Century. He’s known for mostly avoiding plot and focusing on description. “Remembrance of Things Past” took about 13 years to write. It’s printed in several volumes, and it’s said to contain 9,609,000 characters.
Take a Breather. The longest English sentence ever printed is said to be in writer Jonathan Coe’s “The Rotters’ Club.” The book, published in 2001, is loosely based on Coe’s British childhood school days. The record-breaking sentence is 13, 955 words long. It beats author James Joyce’s longwinded sentence of 4,391 words published in his 1922 novel “Ulysses.”