Monday, October 10, 2011

Fun Facts--A Century of Books

Did you know The oldest known writings were Sumerian and were written around 2600 B.C? Did you know The Gutenberg Bible was the first book printed using moveable metal type in 1455? Did you know that in 2010, there were 288,355 books published in the United States? Can you even imagine the number of books printed during those 555 years? That's a whole lotta books!

So, I decided to do some light research and look back through the last 1000 years at some of the most popular authors and books of each century. Some were obvious, but others I've never even heard of before so I would like to share my newfound knowledge with all of you.

12 Century:
Chretien de Troyes, a French poet, was termed as "the inventor of the modern novel." He was the first writer to mention Queen Guinevere and Lancelot.

13th Century:
Bonaventure, an Italian theologian and philosopher, wrote "The Life of St. Francis of Assisi." "The Travels of Marco Polo," A travelogue of stories told by Marco Polo and written by Rustichello da Pisa, was also popular.

14th Century:
Dante Alighieri wrote "The Divine Comedy" between 1308 and 1321. The epic poem is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature.

15th Century:
Sir Thomas Malory wrote eight romances about King Arthur under the title, "Le Morte d'Arthur." There were at least six Thomas Malorys alive when it was published in 1485. The true identity of the writer is not known.

16th Century:
In the mid 1590s, William Shakespeare wrote "Love's Labour's Lost"--the first of many plays.

17th Century:
Aphra Behn was the first woman to make a living with her writing. Her works were considered highly improper and in bad taste. Before writing numerous plays, poems, and novels, she was a spy for Charles II! I'd like to read more about this lady.

18th Century:
Beloved Jane Austen finished the first draft of "Pride and Prejudice" in 1797 and went on to complete six novels.

19th Century:
Queen Victoria ruled Britain and the Industrial Revolution spawned social reform. Victor Hugo, ("The Hunchback of Notre Dame") Mark Twain, ("The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn") and Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities) are the most popular authors of this time.

20th Century:
Ernest Hemingway was one of the greatest novelists of this century. He wrote "The Sun Also Rises" in 1926.

21st Century:
We're all familiar with some of the most popular authors of the past eleven years. JK Rowling, Jonathan Franzen, and Philip Roth are just a few of many authors that come to mind but the bestselling author, so far, started his career in 1976 and in 2000 began revealing several titles every year. He also happens to be one of my many favorites. James Patterson.

Well, there you have it. Did you learn something new? I know I did.