In the Iliad and the Odyssey, the Aegean is described dozens of times as “wine-dark”. Honey is “green”. Iron is “violet”. This has led to fringe theories that the classical Greeks saw the world in very different colours than us.
The content of Agatha Christie’s writing has been analysed, uncovering some interesting patterns. Her vocabulary became much smaller as she grew older, and she started using far more indefinite words (“something, thing, anything”) Some now suspect that she was writing her final novels through the early stages of Alzheimers. Of course, could also have been suffering from a similar but unrelated disease called “who gives a shit, I live in a house of solid gold.”
Aquinas once said “beware the man of one book.” Most think that means “don’t trust people who rely on one point of truth and don’t consider outside perspective”, but actually Aquinas meant the opposite, that someone who has learned and mastered just one book can be formidable.
The entire Twilight series has about 43 million copies in print. By comparison, the Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung has only 820 million copies.
One of the earliest ebook readers, if you take a cosmopolitan view of the word, was the Nintendo Gameboy. In the mid-90s someone found a way to fit the entire KJV Bible on a GB cartridge (you can download a ROM here), allowing for reading and even advanced capabilities such as indexing/referencing. On eBay the original cartridges are selling for more than $500, making it one of the more expensive editions of the Bible.
Someone once described fiction writers as “professional liars”. If you accept this, science fiction might actually be the least lie-filled genre, since it has potential to become the truth.
After Marquis de Sade died, his skull was phrenologically examined. It was exactly the right shape for a priest.
Dean Koontz sold the first story he ever wrote, and then collected 75 rejections before making another sale. Some wish this ratio still held true in 2015.
The most prolific author might well be this programmer, who algorithmically generated 800,000 books and started selling them on Amazon.
Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 has been packaged a lot of interesting ways. First Ballantine released a limited run that was bound in asbestos. A more recent one comes with a match and an igniter strip. And, of course, you can read it on the Kindle, after wiping away a thick layer of irony.
To paraphrase something recently pointed out to me, “buy my book” is the white person’s version of “buy my mixtape”.
On the topic of The Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, I find it likely that somewhere, sometime, a person in the midst of starvation actually tried to eat theirs.