Seven books that made history
So many books to read, so little time.
To help you decide where to start, here's our take on some of the books that broke boundaries throughout history.
First book ever written: The Epic of Gilgamesh
It’s widely agreed that the first piece of literature ever written (or carved) is The Epic of Gilgamesh. As the title suggests, it’s a monumental tale about a King - yep, Gilgamesh - who used god-like powers to enslave his people. The tablets were discovered in 1853 but are thought to have been written somewhere around 2000 BC - that would make it 1500 years older than Homer's Iliad.
Fiction book translated into the most languages: The Adventures of Pinocchio
We promise we’re not fibbing; the fiction book that holds this title is Pinocchio. This is the tale of Geppetto's puppet who just wants to be a real boy. Written by Carlo Collodi, the Italian fairytale has been translated into 260 languages since its original publication in 1883.
Most expensive: The Codex Leicester
The Codex Leicester was written by Leonardo Da Vinci. It's a colossal 72 page manuscript that predicted the invention of both the submarine and the steam engine. Fittingly, it was bought for a whopping US$30.8m (£23.8m) in 1994 by the man who would soon become the richest person in the world: none other than Bill Gates.
Largest book: This is the Prophet Mohamed
Now, when we tell you that this is the largest book ever made, we don’t mean the most words or pages. We’re talking about the largest. This is the Prophet Mohamed, measures eight by five metres - which is taller than a double-decker bus! Fifty people put it together and whilst it doesn't weigh as much as a bus, it's still an impressive 1500 kg.
Best-selling fiction book: Don Quixote
The Spanish novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes has sold over 500 million copies since its publication. To be fair, it has had a couple of hundred years' head start, given that it was published in 1605. Lagging behind is a Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, having sold a mere 200 million copies.
Best-selling series: Harry Potter
Unsurprisingly, J. K. Rowling’s magical Harry Potter series is the number one best-seller, with a huge 500 million copies sold to Muggles all over the world. Coming in at number two is the kid-friendly horror series Goosebumps by R. L. Stine, having sold 350 million copies.
First-ever comic book: The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck
Rudolphe Töpffer is thought to be the father of the comic book industry with his Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck. He pioneered the use of bordered panels, as well as text that relied on sketches to tell stories, over 100 years. The 1837 comic contains plot-lines-a-plenty, such as failed romance, robbers, ghosts, drag, and dastardly double-crossing.