Youth Book Corner: Book Lover’s Day

Sunday, August 9 is Book Lover’s Day. Here are a few fascinating facts about books compiled by our Outreach Coordinator Leena Desai.

How many types of books are out there?

That’s a difficult question to answer because it depends upon what qualifies as a book in your mind. The traditional types, or genres, of books are fiction, nonfiction, poetry and plays. Each of these types can be divided into even more genres and if you included those, well then, there are at least 40-odd types of books. Depending on who you ask or rather, which website you refer to, you’ll get a different answer. After all, we live in the era of Twitterature and there are those that even consider tweets as literature!

What is the oldest book ever written?

The Nag Hammadi codices, 13 leather-bound papyrus codices (ancient manuscripts), discovered in 1945 in Upper Egypt are some of oldest books in the world. They are believed to be 1,693 years old. The St. Cuthbert Gospel, believed to be 1,315 years old, is the oldest known surviving intact book in Europe. It is the earliest surviving example of the craft of European bookbinding.

What is the first novel ever written?

Genji Monogatari or The Tale of Genji (1010) is considered one of the greatest works of Japanese literature and the world’s first novel. It follows the life of a prince named Hikaru Genji and his endeavour to gain political success and find true love.

Can you use Shakespearean words without having read any plays by the Bard?

Yes, you can and most of us do. William Shakespeare is reputed to have added 2,000 words to the English language. Common phrases that we use, without knowing Shakespeare coined them, are ‘the be-all and end-all,’ ‘in a pickle,’ ‘with bated breath,’ ‘a wild goose chase,’ ‘salad days’ and ‘a heart of gold.’

What is the most expensive book in the world?

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Codex Leicester is the world’s most expensive book. It lives in the private collection of Bill Gates, who reputedly, bought it for $30.8 million dollars. The book contains scientific writings and illustrations on subjects such as astronomy, geology and physics by the legendary 15th century thinker, sculptor, painter and visionary.

Of phobias, loves and… smells?

The person who loves to read is a bibliophile; one who has a fear of running out of things to read suffers from abibliophobia; and someone who loves the smell of old books is prone to bibliosmia!   

Happy reading!


Leena Desai