National Read A Book Day is observed annually on September 6th. On August 9th, we all celebrated National Book Lovers Day. While these bookish days may seem similar, National Read a Book Day invites us ALL to grab books we might enjoy and spend the day reading.
Don’t keep it to yourself. Share the experience! Read aloud either to children or to grandparents. Read to your pets or to your stuffed animals and plants.
Reading improves memory and concentration as well as reduces stress. Older adults who spend time reading show a slower cognitive decline and tend to participate in more mentally stimulating activities over their lifetime. Books are an inexpensive entertainment, education and time machine, too!
- The earliest known work of literature is an epic poem titled the Epic of Gilgamesh, from Ancient Mesopotamia. Because paper books did not exist at the time, the whole tale is told on 12 tablets. Today, the Epic of Gilgamesh is available on a digital tablet or e-reader.
- The world’s first novel as we know it was The Tale of Genji, written by Murasaki Shikibu, a noblewoman and lady-in-waiting in 11th century Japan. In the original edition, almost none of the characters had names and were referred to by titles and honorifics because of Heian-era Japanese court etiquette.
- Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi (1882) is considered by historians to be the first fully typewritten manuscript sent to a publisher. In Mark Twain’s 1904 autobiography, he misattributed this to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which typically ends on up on fact lists (like this one) instead.
- An estimated 755,755 new books are published every year. As of mid-2017, there are an estimated 134,399,411 total published books in the world. That’s a lot of books.
- The world’s longest novel ever written is Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust, or A la recherche du temps perdu in its native tongue (French). The novel is estimated to have 9,609,000 characters.
- If one of the first things you do when you get a new book is smell the pages, you’re not alone. The act of smelling books is called “bibliosmia”, it’s actually pretty common.
- In January 2017, two of the biggest trending topics in the media were “fake news” and “alternative facts”. This inspired consumers to buy every physical copy of 1984 from Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, by the end of the month. Amazon was unable to get more newly printed copies in stock until February 3rd.
- Powell’s City of Books (founded by Walter Powell) takes up a whole city block in Portland, Oregon. The megastore has about 1.6 acres (68,000 square feet) of retail floor space.