Unknown facts about your favorite books

Strange and surprising facts you may not know about some of the most popular and best-selling books ever.

Six Lord of the Rings books

Lord of the Rings was originally going to be a saga consisting of six books. Tolkien had even come up with working titles for each of the installments:

Book 1: The First Journey, The Ring Sets Out, or The Return of the Shadow; book 2: The Journey of the Nine Companions, or The Ring Goes South; book 3: The Treason of Isengard; book 4: The Journey of the Ring-bearers, or The Ring Goes East; book 5: The War of the Ring; and book 6: The End of the Third Age.

The author also considered the whole series as a single work, divided into a prologue, 6 books, and 5 appendices, but publishing it as one huge volume would have been too expensive for its time (making the book even more expensive and putting off potential readers), so the publisher decided to split it into three volumes. Tolkien always disliked the titles the books ended up having.


The Name of the Rose vs. The Abbey of Crime

Umberto Eco’s best-seller, the “father” of The DaVinci Code and many more to come, had a different name before being Il Nome della Rosa. Eco wanted to call it The Abbey of Crime.

Fun fact: La abadía del crimen (Spanish for The Abbey of Crime) would end up being chosen as the title of a 1987 video game by Spaniards Paco Menéndez and Juan Delcán, published by Opera Soft during what has been called “the golden age of Spanish video games”.


27 years of “It”

Stephen King’s IT is a fan favorite and has gained new followers since the remake of the 1990 film.

Every King fan knows this but you may not know that the movie was released in 2017, exactly 27 years later, and Pennywise also comes back every 27 years (according to King’s novel because in the first adaptation, it’s mentioned that “It” comes back to Derry every 30 years or so).


What the Bible, Hunger Games and Jobs’ bio have in common

They’re the most highlighted books ever, according to Amazon.

They get these stats from the Kindle service, which allows readers to highlight their favorite passages. Suzanne Collins’ best-selling trilogy and Walter Isaacson’s biography of Apple’s CEO are right up there with the Bible.


Millennium: Lisbeth Longstocking?

If you’ve read the best-selling books of the unfinished Millennium saga by Swedish author Stieg Larsson (or watched the film adaptation), then you know who Lisbeth Salander is. What you may not know is that the kick-ass protagonist is based on… Pippi Longstocking!

In an interview, the author stated that he based the character on what he imagined Pippi Longstocking might have been like as an adult. Another clue is “V. Kulla” (an abbreviation of Villa Villekulla, Pippi’s house), which is displayed on the door of Lisbeth’s apartment.


Moby Dick: True story

Herman Melville was inspired to create Moby Dick, the murderous white whale, by a real-life one: an 80-ton sperm whale called “Mocha Dick”. Apparently, the real whale’s attacks seemed… premeditated.

One of Melville’s sources -in addition to his own experience -was the article Mocha Dick: or the White Whale of the Pacific. The rest is fiction.


Hunger Games Camp

Would you send your kids to the Hunger Games? I bet you wouldn’t; that’s why this was a “light” version, with the death match being a simple flag-collecting contest.

A “real-life version” of the Hunger Games, inspired by the trilogy of books and films, was held in a US summer camp hosted by the Country Day School in Largo, Florida.

Sadly, some articles reported injuries and bullying so the camp was eventually closed down.


So I can eat you better

The most famous versions of Little Red Riding Hood are those of Charles Perrault and the Grimm Brothers, but we’re talking about a very old tale that has suffered several variations through the centuries.

There are different endings to the story (a huntsman saves the girl and her grandma; the wolf turns into an ogre in an Italian version) and one of them features the little girl eating her grandma’s flesh and blood given to her by the villain. (!)


Tolkien‘s poor fingers

The master of fantasy wrote his unforgettable saga (both The Hobbit and the LOTR trilogy) with just two fingers. That’s more than 1,200 pages.

The question is why. And the answer is that -according to an interview with the NY Times- that’s the only way that the writer had learned how to type. He even called the experience “exhausting”.


A Song of Ice and 90’s

The internet is too big of a distraction and George R. R. Martin knows it. That’s why he told Conan O’Brien that while he’s working, he tries to stay away from the web, as well as from new technologies.

He achieves this by writing his successful novels with a DOS-based computer with no internet connection; he even mentioned he uses the WordStar 4.0 processor (a mid-nineties processor).

The extra protection of not being connected to the internet is also a big advantage for the author, with millions of people wanting to know everything about the next book in the series.


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