On this day in 1955, the first Guinness Book of Records was bound and ready to be sold as a 198-page edition. The text went to the top of the British bestseller list by Christmas. The annual reference book’s collection of records and achievements is a curiosity for many people — and we recently did a little digging to find out the weirdest and most fascinating title holders when it comes to books. Here are just a few of the best picks with the hopes of inspiring a long, lazy weekend of reading for you.
Largest pop-up book
“The largest pop-up book ever made measured 4 m (13 ft 1 in) by 3 m (9 ft 10 in) when closed. The book, entitled My Word, was completed on 6 September 2010 for a television commercial advertising Pearle Opticiens (Belgium). When opened the book measured 4 m (13 ft 1 in) by 6m (19 ft 8 in) and the pop-up objects reached a height of 2.35 m (7 ft 9 in).”
Oldest comic book artist
“The oldest comic book artist is Kenneth ‘Ken’ Bald (USA, b. 1 August 1920), who, after illustrating comic books, comic strips, movie posters, and TV storyboards for over 83 years, continues doing commissioned sketches of comic superheroes for his fans as of 4 March 2015, aged 94 years 215 days.” Wikipedia states that Ken is still working as of June 2016.
Thickest book published
“The thickest published book measures 322 mm (12.67 in) in width and was unveiled by HarperCollins in London, UK, on 20 May 2009. All Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple stories – 12 novels and 20 short stories – are collected and published in this volume. The book contains 4,032 pages and weighs 8.04 kg.”
Slowest selling book
“The accolade for the world’s slowest-selling book (known in US publishing as slooow sellers) probably belongs to David Wilkins’ translation of the New Testament from Coptic into Latin, published by Oxford University Press (OUP) in 1716 in 500 copies. Selling an average of one each 20 weeks, it remained in print for 191 years.” Browse the book on Archive.org.
Largest collection of books autographed
“Richard Warren of Lake Forest, California, USA, has collected 2,381 books, all signed by their original authors. Pastor Rick Warren began building his personal library in 1970 at the age of 16. Over the years as he travelled and spoke around the world, he began asking authors to autograph their books for him. Also many other authors began to send him their books autographed.”
Largest library book fine paid
“The world´s largest fine for an overdue library book is $345.14 (£203.29), the amount owed at two cents a day for the poetry book Days and Deeds checked out of Kewanee Public Library, Illinois, USA in April 1955 by Emily Canellos-Simms.” The book contains poetry relating to American holidays and different Americans.
Largest online book discussion in 24 hours
“The largest online book discussion involved 33,695 participants in 24 hours, achieved by Laundry Books (Canada), at an event organized to promote positive mental health through the book I Can Believe in Myself in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, on May 7th, 2014.”
First female character to star in her own comic book
“Sheena Queen of the Jungle was the first female character to star in her own comic book. The character debuted in the first issue of the comic Wags, published in the UK in 1937; by her debut in the USA came in the first issue of Jumbo Comics in September 1938. In spring 1942 came the first issue of Sheena Queen of the Jungle. The first issue of Wonder Woman also appeared in 1942, but not until the summer of that year. Sheena Queen of the Jungle ran for 18 issues, the last one appearing in winter 1952.” Explore issues of Sheena over here.
Youngest person to write a published book (female)
“The youngest commercially published female author is Dorothy Straight (b. 25 May 1958), of Washington, DC, USA, who wrote How the World Began in 1962, aged 4. It was published in August 1964 by Pantheon Books.” Straight wrote the book for her grandmother, and her parents thought it was remarkable enough to send it to the publisher for consideration.
Longest marathon reading aloud
“The longest marathon reading aloud is 113 hours 15 minutes achieved by Deepak Sharma Bajagain (Nepal) at the Tudikhel Ground, Kathmandu, Nepal, from 19 to 24 September 2008. He recited 17 different books from 13 authors during his record attempt.”