A book can have some magical effects on you as soon as you grab one and start reading. It disconnects you temporarily from the real world and you enter mentally into a world created by the book’s story. Books are also effective in killing time when you’re traveling in a train or waiting in a queue.

If you’re an avid reader, you’d probably understand the joy of relaxing on your couch with a good book. There are a few relatively unknown facts about books that you probably never knew. So, here we’ve listed some of these facts that would never fail to astonish you:

1. There’s a word for the act of smelling books

You might’ve done this many times when you held a book in your hand. Many readers like the smell of a book, especially the older ones. As they hold a book, they can’t resist the temptation to smell it. The act of smelling books or the smell of a good book is called ‘bibliosmia’. Of course, it’s not a popular word and you won’t find it in all the dictionaries.

2. One of the first novels written on a typewriter

The world-renowned author, Mark Twain, wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in the late 19th century. It was a commercial failure upon its first release, but eventually became one of Mark Twain’s best selling works. The novel talks about a boy who grows up along the Mississippi River.

This book was among the earliest novels that were written using a typewriter. Considered by many as a masterpiece of American literature, this book is based on Mark Twain’s own experiences as a child.

3. The oldest surviving literary material

The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem that dates back to the 18th century BC. There’s a belief that it’s from ancient Mesopotamia and many consider it the oldest surviving literary material. The poem discovered in its tablet form is also considered as the second oldest religious text.

The poem tells the tale of King Gilgamesh, the ruler of Uruk, and a wild man called ‘Enkidu’. This wild man was gods’ creation and his purpose was to stop King Gilgamesh from oppressing Uruk’s subjects. The two later end up becoming friends.

4. Alice in Wonderland is based on a real Alice

Also called Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, this 1865 children’s novel features a young girl named Alice as the protagonist. The popular belief is that author Lewis Carroll had based this book on Alice Liddell. While rowing on the Isis River, he used to tell stories to entertain the 11-year-old Alice and her sisters.

It is through these stories that he developed the character ‘Alice’ for Alice in Wonderland. This has been disagreed upon by many of the scholars.

5. The world’s oldest operating bookstore

Founded in 1732, Livraria Bertrand is a bookstore located in Portugal’s capital, Lisbon. As it continues to operate even today, it has become the world’s oldest operating bookstore. Bertrand has a network of more than 50 shops across the country. Many authors have frequented this amazing bookstore over the years, including Fernando Pessoa, Antero de Quental, and Alexandre Herculano.

6. Inventor of the printing press

Johannes Gutenberg was the man behind Europe’s ‘Printing Revolution’. He invented the movable-type printing press in 1440, which could produce up to 3,600 pages a day. So, you need to thank Gutenberg for all the books that you’re able to read today. His invention had reduced the printing costs of books and other documents in Europe to a great extent in those times.

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