The first novel, called The story of Genji, was written in 1007 by Japanese noble woman, Murasaki Shikibu.

In 1097, Trotula, a midwife of Salerno, wrote The Diseases of Women - it was used in medical schools for 600 years.


The world's longest nonfiction work is The Yongle Dadian, a 10,000-volume encyclopaedia produced by 5,000 scholars during the Ming Dynasty in China 500 years ago.

Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote Meteorologica in 350 BC - it remained the standard textbook on weather for 2,000 years.

The first illustrated book for children was published in Germany in 1658.

Barbara Cartland completed a novel every two weeks, publishing 723 novels.

The words "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" were penned in the 17th century by English philospher John Locke.

To save costs, the body of Shakespeare's friend and fellow dramatist, Ben Jonson, was buried standing up in Westminister Abbey, London in 1637.

The first novel sold through a vending machine - at the Paris Metro - was Murder on the Orient Express.

The shortest stage play is Samuel Beckett's "Breath" - 35 seconds of screams and heavy breathing.

There are more than ten billion web pages on the internet.

The world's libraries store more than a 100 million original volumes.

The largest web bookshop, Amazon.com, stores almost 3 million books.

The Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, stores 18 million books on approximately 850 km (530 miles) of bookshelves. The collections include 119 million items, 2 million recordings, 12million photographs, 4 million maps and 53 million manuscripts.

2 billion people still cannot read.

The first English dictionary was written by Samuel Johnson in 1755.

The first Oxford English Dictionary was published in April 1928, 50 years after it was started. It consisted of 400,000 words and phrases in 10 volumes. The latest edition fills 22,000 pages, includes 33,000 Shakespeare quotations, and is bound in 20 volumes. All of which is available on a single CD.

Amongst the many words that Shakespeare invented are assassination, bump, lonely, bloodstained, leapfrog and mountaineer.

Mark Twain was born on a day in 1835 when Halley’s Comet came into view. When he died in 1910, Halley’s came into view again.

The word 'monosyllable' meaning 'one syllable' actually has five syllables in it.

365 different languages are spoken in Indonesia.

Virginia Woolf wrote all her books standing.

The word trivia comes from the Latin word trivium, a place where 3 roads meet. The perfect opportunity to exchange stories, gossip, and information.

The word “Jeep” comes from “GP” which is short for General Purpose.

Abdul Kassem Ismael, Grand Vizier of Persia in the tenth century, carried his library with him wherever he went. The 117,000 volumes were carried by 400 camels trained to walk in
alphabetical order.

The start of a musical note is known as ATTACK.

Lachanophobia is the fear of vegetables.

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