jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG 22nd July 2019

 Didn’t know that last week about books, authors & literature. Ok, may be some bits I did but I find it fascinating anyway.


1              The top ten bestselling novels of all time have sold a combined total of just over 1.56 billion copies. Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code comes in at number 10 with 80 million sold, and the classic novel Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes is number one with 500 million copies sold.

2              Many famous authors have chosen to publish under a pen name. In some cases, it’s to publish and write something outside of their most well-known genre in an under-the-radar kind of way. In her lifetime, Agatha Christie published 66 detective novels and 15 short story collections, but few people know she wrote six romance novels under the name Mary Westmacott. In 2013, J.K. Rowling secretly published an adult detective novel under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. She created the alter-ego to escape the pressure of being the author of Harry Potter, and to allow the book to be evaluated on its own. Even Rowling’s own publisher didn’t know who Galbraith was when they first saw the novel.

3              President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt was a voracious reader. He was known to read at least a book a day, and sometimes 2-3 if he had a free night. His biggest influence was military writer Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan. His text The Influence of Sea Power Upon History is credited with shaping Roosevelt’s imperialistic thought. He also enjoyed naturalist writers such as Audubon and Spencer Fullerton Baird who inspired him to make America’s natural beauty a priority.

4              Ray Bradbury’s famous dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 was originally called Fireman. The title was thought to be too boring, and Bradbury consulted with a local fire station to find out the temperature at which paper would burn. The fireman had Bradbury wait while they burned a book, and then let him know that it burned at 451 degrees Fahrenheit.

5              August 9 is National Book Lovers Day and is a day to celebrate a love of reading. The origin of the holiday is unknown, but Google records searches for “National Book Lovers Day” beginning in August 2007. In 2012, August 9 was selected as the official date, and that’s when it really caught on.

6              The slowest-selling book of all time is the Oxford University Press translation of the New Testament from Coptic to Latin. In 1716, five hundred copies were printed, and it took until 1907 for the last copy to sell.

7              F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise has the first recorded use of wicked as a word for cool, to the wild celebration of Bostonians everywhere. The novel also contains the first known appearances of the words T-shirt and daiquiri.

This Side of Paradise was published on March 26, 1920, with a first printing of 3,000 copies. The initial printing sold out in three days. On March 30, four days after publication and one day after selling out the first printing, Fitzgerald wired Zelda to come to New York and get married that weekend. Barely a week after publication, Zelda and Scott married in New York on April 3, 1920.

The book went through 12 printings in 1920 and 1921 for a total of 49,075 copies. The novel did not provide a huge income for Fitzgerald. Copies sold for $1.75, for which he earned 10% on the first 5,000 copies and 15% beyond that. In total, in 1920 he earned $6,200 ($82,095.27 in 2015 dollars) from the book. His new fame enabled him to earn much higher rates for his short stories.


8              The Japanese word tsundoku describes a person who buys more books than they will ever be able to read in their lifetime. The word is a combination of three Japanese words—tsunde, which means to stack things, oku, meaning to leave a while, and doku, which means to read. When put together, they basically translate to book hoarder.

9              Prior to World War II, teenagers were not considered a social demographic, and there were no books being published with the teen in mind. That changed in 1942 when Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly was released. The book is about first love and is considered to be the first true novel specifically aimed at teens. The term “Young Adult” was coined by the Young Adult Library Services Association in the 1960s to describe the 12-18 age range, and the literature of the time focused on mature and realistic themes for this group.

10           Serialized fiction is a single larger story that is published in short, sequential installments. The serial format began in the 17th century as a means of reducing the cost of books. The format grew in popularity in the Victorian Era and would be published as weekly or monthly installments in magazines. Charles Dickens is believed to have legitimized the format with his 1834 serial novel The Pickwick Papers, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories were originally serialized in The Strand Magazine.

11           Alice in Wonderland is a frequently banned book for its references to drugs, but China had a completely different reason for banning it. They disapproved of the author’s use of talking animals in the book, and the Governor of the Hunan Province said: “Animals should not use human language, and it is disastrous to put animals and human beings on the same level.”

12           There are a number of commonly used phrases from literature that are actually misquotes or never appeared in the book at all. The line “Me Tarzan, You Jane” never appeared in any of the Tarzan books, and was likely lifted from the 1932 movie Tarzan The Ape Man. Another surprising misquote is Sherlock Holmes’ catchphrase “Elementary, my dear Watson.” The phrase never appears in any of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and is first used by P.G. Wodehouse in the novel Psmith, Journalist.

13           I did know this but I love the story. J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series of books, is the first author to gross a billion dollars for her books. Harry Potter has sold over 400 million copies around the world and has been published in 55 languages. Rowling is also one of only five women to become self-made billionaires.

14           When Victor Hugo’s novel Les Miserables was published, Hugo was away on vacation. Wanting to know how the book had been received, he sent a telegram with a single question mark to his publishers. The publisher responded back with an exclamation point, signifying the book’s success.

15           For over 70 years, The Little Prince has been a favorite book of adults and children alike, but the idea for the story came from an unusual source. Author Antoine de Saint-Exupery was a pilot, and the stories in the book were drawn from his experiences and hallucinations while waiting in the desert to be rescued.

16           Including television, theater, film and even radio, Charles Dickens is the most adapted author of all time. A Christmas Carol has been filmed over 50 times, and that figure doesn’t include the number of other works that have borrowed its narrative. Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, and A Tale of Two Cities have also been frequently adapted to stage or screen.

17           The 1939 novel Gadsby by Ernest Vincent Wright does not use any words beginning with the letter E in the entire novel. The book was written as a lipogram, which is a kind of writing or word game in which the author deliberately excludes a common letter of the alphabet. While some letters are easier to avoid than others, E, T, and A are the most challenging to ignore.

18           Since its inception, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been handed out 110 times to 114 laureates. The award is given to “the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction,” and has been won by writers from France more than any other country. In fact, the first recipient of the prize was French. Sully Prudhomme won in 1901 for a collection of poetry.

19           Gigi author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette could only write after she had plucked all the fleas off of her cat. She also said she couldn’t write with shoes and socks on.

20           Romantic legend Lord Byron always traveled with his dozens of animals. Just a few of the pets that made it from Byron’s English estate to Venice include ten horses, three monkeys, three peacocks, eight dogs, five cats, one crane, one falcon, one eagle, and one crow.


William Shakespeare‘s legacy survives not only in his many plays, but also in his contributions to the English language. Did you know these phrases originally came from Shakespeare?

dead as a doornail

fair play

all of a sudden

in a pickle

night owl

wear your heart on your sleeve

star-crossed lovers

off with his head

green-eyed monster


My life, my rules


Happiness is…a book of any sort


I took an IQ test and the results were negative.


Love is…the cure


Ride A White Horse – Goldfrapp

Highest Chart Position: No.15 25th Februaru 2006


Monday 22nd July 2019

Hammock Day

Mango Day

Creme Brulee Day

Moth Week



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