Familiar is defined as well known from long or close association. What are the things that feel familiar to us? People, places, events, objects, smells, sounds, and ..well, the list can go on. And familiarity breeds confidence – that we know all that is to know about the familiar! Is that what you think too? Well, then note that some of the fun and fascinating facts about familiar books listed today might surprise some of you!!
As far as books themselves, even the newest books are immediately familiar to me, simply by being what they are — books! I also know that there are other such incidences; where strangers feel like people we have known forever; where places we know we have never been to surround us with the comfort of familiarity from our first step there; and where a new event leaves us with that strong sensation of having experienced it all before – that exact same thing. This specific feeling of those new and strange things feeling familiar is termed deja vu; but sometimes there is more to it (more enough for a whole different post)
One such person with whom I felt that familiar connection is my wonderful blogger friend, Martha DeMeo; and I am so glad to be one among those people she feels the same about! Check out her blog here.
Soo… let me get back on topic — familiar books!!
13 Fun and Fascinating Facts About Familiar Books
Where the Wild Things Are
Title: Where the Wild Things Are
Author and Illustrator: Maurice Sendak
Length: 37 pages
Imagine reading this book in a parallel world. You see the title says – Where the Wilds Horses Are. Not “wild” imagination at all! In fact, that was Sendak’s original plan, but when he realized he did not know how to draw horses, he changed it to the now super-popular title instead.
The Nancy Drew Series (and The Hardy Boys, and more)
Title: The Nancy Drew Series
Author: Carolyn Keene??
There is no one named Carolyn Keene, at least no one with that actual name who wrote any of the Nancy Drew books. Maybe you knew that already, but if you didn’t then just know it was simply a name used for the many writers who spun out the adventures this teenager went on.
And it is the same with other series, including Hardy Boys (no Franklin W. Dixon)
Title: Curious George
Author and Illustrator: H. A. Ray
Length: 38 pages
This was another story that children around the world almost missed reading (and watching on TV). Hans A. Rey and his wife Margret fled Paris on hand-built bicycles with the first manuscript of Curious George in 1940, just before the city was taken by Nazis.
The Berenstain Bears
Title: The Berenstain Bears
Authors/Illustrators: Stan and Jan Berenstain ; Mike Berenstain
Genre: Picture Books
The Berenstain Bear books is the Berenstain family business. Jan and Stan Berenstain created the first book (pictured here) of the series in 1962. The couple went on to write many ore books, and now their son, Mike, writes and illustrates new stories in the series. Another interesting point to note is that the editor for their initial few books was none other than Theodore Giesel (Dr.Seuss) himself!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Title: The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Author/Illustrator: Eric Carle
Length: 26 pages
Genre: Board Books
This book has been described as having sold the equivalent of a copy per minute since its publication! Looks like its fans are very hungry for it indeed. This was Carle’s first book that I read as well, for myself, and to my kids years ago.
Green Eggs and Ham
Title: Green Eggs and Ham
Length: 62 pages
Genre: Picture Books
One oft repeated item I had to include here – Green Eggs and Ham has only 50 words in it. Dr.Seuss wrote this book on a dare from his editor that he could not write a book with only 50 words. Well, of course Dr.Seuss won the bet!
Bridge to Terabithia
Title: Bridge to Terabithia
Author: Katherine Paterson
Length: 128 pages
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction
Some kind of hidden memory? Deja vu? Paterson says that she thought she had made up Terabithia. This is what she says on her website. “I realized when the book was nearly done, that there is an island in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis called ‘Terebinthia.’ I’m sure I borrowed that unconsciously.” She adds that it wasn’t Lewis’ original idea too – he got Terebinthia from the Biblical terebinth tree!
Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis
Title: Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis
The first and second Harry Potter books have been translated into Latin. I thought this is the first time I knew about this until I went to Goodreads to get the image and found I had marked it as read (on second thoughts, it appears as one of the editions of the book I did read!). A cool way to get people interested in these classic languages!
Winnie ille Pu
Title: Winnie ille Pu
Author: Julio Cortázar
Length: 576 pages (!)
The Latin translation of “Winnie the Pooh,” titled “Winnie ille Pu,” is the only Latin book to have made the New York Times Bestseller List.
Ray Bradbury was a descendant of one of the Salem witches — Mary Perkins Bradbury — who was sentenced to be hanged in 1692 but managed to escape before her execution could take place. Talk about close calls! A world without Ray Bradbury and Fahreneit 451 would have been a different one indeed. Fahrenheit 451 developed out of a series of ideas Bradbury previously, including stories titled The Pedestrian, Bright Phoenix, and The Fireman (which was written in 10-cent/half-hour rental typewriter in the basement of UCLA’s Powell Library).
Pride and Prejudice
Title: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
Length: 392 pages
This was originally titled First Impressions. And most likely, Austen renamed the book both because she drew inspiration from words in Fanny Burney’s Cecilia (the words: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE — in caps in the book), and also because by the time her book was ready for publication, two other novels had been published with the title First Impressions.
Author: Vladimir Nabokov
Length: 336 pages
Nabokov wrote the first draft of his famous Lolita on notecards! Actually, that was his system for writing his books. He wrote on index cards and over time, copied, expanded, and rearranged the cards until they became, in this case, Lolita.
This Side of Paradise
Title: This Side of Paradise
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Length: 275 pages
The first known recorded use of the word ‘wicked’ to mean ‘cool, great’ is from this book. This first novel by Fitzgerald also has the first known use of the word ‘T-shirt’! Wicked, isn’t it?
So there you have it! Aren’t they cool facts about familiar books?! Well, not all of them are truly familiar, but some version of the book and/or the author is, right?
And Now, the End of this Post
Dear reader, do you have any fun facts about familiar books that you want to share? Or about books in general, or authors, or bookstores and libraries, well anything bookish will do? Do let me know in the comments.