Roald Dahl was buried with a bottle of Burgundy, his snooker cues, HB pencils, a power saw and some chocolate.
Until the late 15th century the word ‘girl’ meant a child of either sex. Boys were occasionally called ‘knave girls’ and girls ‘gay girls’.
The dramatist Sophocles supposedly died after running out of breath reading a long section of one of his plays written without any commas.
As a struggling young writer, Harper Lee once got a year’s wages as a gift from a friend with the note “You have a year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas.” She wrote To Kill a Mockingbird.
J. K. Rowling said Fred was one of her personal favourites and cried while writing about his death.
Alice in Wonderland used to be banned in parts of China. “Bears, lions and other beasts cannot use a human language,” said General Ho Chien in 1931. “To attribute to them such a power is an insult to the human race.”
Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican’s former chief exorcist, believes practising yoga is Satanic. “It leads to evil,” he said, “just like reading Harry Potter.”
While in art school, Maurice Sendak (writer and illustrator of Where The Wild Things Are) was a window dresser for F.A.O. Schwarz in New York.
In 1929, author J.M. Barrie gave the rights to Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street children’s hospital in London. The copyright expired in 2007, but a deal was worked out where the hospital continues to collect royalties from stage performances of Peter Pan in the U.K.
Dr. Seuss said he expected to spend “a week or so” writing The Cat in the Hat. It ended up taking a year and a half.
The first printed books didn’t have the name of the author or even the title printed on the covers. The covers were artworks itself, covered in drawings, leather or even gold.
The longest sentence ever printed is found in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. It is 823 words long.
People in Iceland read more books per capita than in any other country.
The world’s most expensive book ever purchased was bought by Bill Gates for $30.8 million. It was Codex Leicester by Leonardo Da Vinci.
The record for most people balancing books on their heads at the same place and time is 998 in Sydney, Australia, in 2012.
Dickens’s house had a secret door in the form of a fake bookcase. The fake books included titles such as The Life of a Cat in 9 volumes.
The first book bought on Amazon was called Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought.
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Treatise on the Astrolabe is possibly the first children’s science book written in English – he wrote it for his son.
In 2007, Stephen King was mistaken for a vandal when he started signing books during an unannounced visit to a bookshop in Australia.