A book is a medium for recording
information in the form of
images, typically composed of many
pages (made of
bound together and protected by a
cover. It can also be a handwritten or printed work of fiction or nonfiction, usually on sheets of paper fastened or bound together within covers. The technical term for this physical arrangement is codex (plural, codices). In the history of hand-held physical supports for extended written compositions or records, the codex replaces its predecessor, the
scroll. A single sheet in a codex is a
leaf and each side of a leaf is a
As an intellectual object, a book is prototypically a composition of such great length that it takes a considerable investment of time to compose and still considered as an investment of time to read. In a restricted sense, a book is a self-sufficient section or part of a longer composition, a usage reflecting that, in antiquity, long works had to be written on several scrolls and each scroll had to be identified by the book it contained. Each part of
Aristotle's Physics is called a book. In an unrestricted sense, a book is the compositional whole of which such sections, whether called books or
chapters or parts, are parts.
The intellectual content in a physical book need not be a composition, nor even be called a book. Books can consist only of
crossword puzzles or cut-out dolls. In a physical book, the pages can be left blank or can feature an abstract set of lines to support entries, such as in an account book, appointment book,
autograph book, notebook, diary or
sketchbook. Some physical books are made with pages thick and sturdy enough to support other physical objects, like a scrapbook or photograph album. Books may be distributed in electronic form as
ebooks and other formats.
Although in ordinary academic parlance a
monograph is understood to be a specialist academic work, rather than a reference work on a scholarly subject, in
library and information sciencemonograph denotes more broadly any non-serial publication complete in one
volume (book) or a finite number of volumes (even a novel like
Proust's seven-volume In Search of Lost Time), in contrast to serial publications like a
newspaper. An avid reader or collector of books is a
bibliophile or, colloquially, "bookworm". Books are traded at both regular stores and specialized
bookstores, and people can read borrowed books, often for free, at
Google has estimated that by 2010, approximately 130,000,000 titles had been published.
In some wealthier nations, the sale of printed books has decreased because of the increased usage of e-books. However, in most countries, printed books continue to outsell their digital counterparts due to many people still preferring to read in a traditional way. The 21st century has also seen a rapid rise in the popularity of
audiobooks, which are recordings of books being read aloud. (Full article...)
Featured articles are displayed here, which represent some of the best content on English Wikipedia.
First edition cover
The Story of Miss Moppet is a tale about teasing, featuring a kitten and a mouse, that was written and illustrated by
Beatrix Potter, and published by
Frederick Warne & Co for the 1906 Christmas season. Potter was born in London in 1866, and between 1902 and 1905 published a series of small-format children's books with Warne. In 1906, she experimented with an atypical panorama design for Miss Moppet, which booksellers disliked; the story was reprinted in 1916 in small book format.
Miss Moppet, the story's eponymous main character, is a kitten teased by a mouse. While pursuing him she bumps her head on a cupboard. She then wraps a duster about her head, and sits before the fire "looking very ill". The curious mouse creeps closer, is captured, "and because the Mouse has teased Miss Moppet—Miss Moppet thinks she will tease the Mouse; which is not at all nice of Miss Moppet". She ties him up in the duster and tosses him about. However, the mouse makes his escape, and once safely out of reach, dances a jig atop the cupboard. (Full article...)
First page of the only surviving manuscript,
c. 14th century
The story describes how Sir
Gawain, a knight of
Round Table, accepts a challenge from a mysterious "
Green Knight" who dares any knight to strike him with his axe if he will take a return blow in a year and a day. Gawain accepts and beheads him, at which point, the Green Knight stands, picks up his head, and reminds Gawain of the appointed time. In his struggles to keep his bargain, Gawain demonstrates
loyalty until his honour is called into question by a test involving the lord and the lady of the castle at which he is a guest. The poem survives in one
manuscript, Cotton Nero A.x., which also includes three religious
narrative poems: Pearl, Cleanness, and Patience. All four are written in a
NorthWest Midlands dialect of Middle English, and are thought to be by the same author, dubbed the "Pearl Poet" or "
Gawain Poet". (Full article...)
In Original Stories, Wollstonecraft employed the then-burgeoning genre of children's literature to promote the education of women and an emerging
middle-class ideology. She argued that women would be able to become rational adults if they were educated properly as children, which was not a widely held belief in the 18th century, and contended that the nascent middle-class ethos was superior to the court culture represented by
fairy tales and to the values of chance and luck found in
chapbook stories for the poor. Wollstonecraft, in developing her own pedagogy, also responded to the works of the two most important educational theorists of the 18th century:
John Locke and
Jean-Jacques Rousseau. (Full article...)
An Introduction was reviewed positively in several academic publications. The political philosopher Steve Cooke said that Cochrane's own approach showed promise, and that the book would have benefited from devoting more space to it.
Robert Garner, a political theorist, praised Cochrane's synthesis of such a broad range of literature, but argued that the work was too uncritical of the concept of
justice as it might apply to animals. Cochrane's account of interest-based rights for animals was subsequently considered at greater length in his 2012 book Animal Rights Without Liberation, published by
Columbia University Press. An Introduction to Animals and Political Theory was one of the first books to explore animals from the perspective of political theory, and became an established part of a literature critical of the topic's traditional neglect. (Full article...)
Various evolutionary ideas had already been proposed to explain
new findings in biology. There was growing support for such ideas among dissident anatomists and the general public, but during the first half of the 19th century the English scientific establishment was closely tied to the
Church of England, while science was part of
natural theology. Ideas about the
transmutation of species were controversial as they conflicted with the beliefs that species were unchanging parts of a designed hierarchy and that humans were unique, unrelated to other animals. The political and theological implications were intensely debated, but transmutation was not accepted by the scientific mainstream. (Full article...)
Page from Hemming's Cartulary, folio 121 of the manuscript
Hemming's Cartulary is a manuscript
cartulary, or collection of
charters and other land records, collected by a monk named
Hemming around the time of the
Norman Conquest of England. The manuscript comprises two separate cartularies that were made at different times and later bound together; it is in the
British Library as MS Cotton Tiberius A xiii. The first was composed at the end of the 10th or beginning of the 11th century. The second section was compiled by Hemming and was written around the end of the 11th or the beginning of the 12th century. The first section, traditionally titled the Liber Wigorniensis, is a collection of
Anglo-Saxon charters and other land records, most of which are organized geographically. The second section, Hemming's Cartulary proper, combines charters and other land records with a narrative of deprivation of property owned by the church of Worcester.
The two works are bound together in one surviving manuscript, the earliest surviving cartulary from medieval England. A major theme is the losses suffered by Worcester at the hands of royal officials and local landowners. Included amongst the despoilers are kings such as
William the Conqueror, and nobles such as
Eadric Streona and
Urse d'Abetot. Also included are accounts of lawsuits waged by the Worcester monks in an effort to regain their lost lands. The two sections of the cartulary were first printed in 1723. The original manuscript was slightly damaged by fire in 1733, and required rebinding. (Full article...)
Stone commemorative marker at
Literary Hall in Romney, West Virginia
The Romney Literary Society (also known as the Literary Society of Romney) existed from January 30, 1819, to February 15, 1886, in
Romney, West Virginia. Established as the Polemic Society of Romney, it became the first organization of its kind in the present-day state of West Virginia, and one of the first in the United States. The society was founded by nine prominent men of Romney with the objectives of advancing literature and science, purchasing and maintaining a library, and improving educational opportunities.
The society debated an extensive range of scientific and social topics, often violating its own rules which banned religious and political subjects. Even though its membership was relatively small, its debates and activities were frequently discussed throughout the
Potomac Highlands region, and the organization greatly influenced trends of thought in the Romney community and surrounding areas. (Full article...)
The Lives formed part of the Cabinet of Biography in the Cabinet Cyclopaedia. Within the set of ten, the three-volume Lives of the Most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men of Italy, Spain and Portugal (1835–37) and the two-volume Lives of the Most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men of France (1838–39) consist of
biographies of important writers and thinkers of the 14th to 18th centuries. Most of them were written by the
Mary Shelley. Shelley's biographies reveal her as a professional woman of letters, contracted to produce several volumes of works and paid well to do so. Her extensive knowledge of history and languages, her ability to tell a gripping biographical narrative, and her interest in the burgeoning field of
feministhistoriography are reflected in these works. (Full article...)
Lemurs of Madagascar is a 2010
reference work and
field guide for the
Madagascar, giving descriptions and biogeographic data for the known species. The primary contributor is
Russell Mittermeier, president of
Conservation International, and the cover art and illustrations were drawn by
Stephen D. Nash. Currently in its third edition, the book provides details about all known lemur species, general information about lemurs and their history, and also helps travelers identify species they may encounter. Four related pocket field guides have also been released, containing color illustrations of each species, miniature range maps, and species checklists.
The first edition was reviewed favorably in the International Journal of Primatology, Conservation Biology, and Lemur News. Reviewers, including
Alison Jolly, praised the book for its meticulous coverage of each species, numerous high-quality illustrations, and engaging discussion of lemur topics, including conservation, evolution, and the recently extinct
subfossil lemurs. Each agreed that the book was an excellent resource for a wide audience, including
ecotourists and lemur researchers. A lengthy review of the second edition was published in the American Journal of Primatology, where it received similar favorable comments, plus praise for its updates and enhancements. The third edition was reviewed favorably in Lemur News; the reviewer praised the expanded content of the book, but was concerned that the edition was not as portable as its predecessors. (Full article...)
Cover of the 1940 edition
The Negro Motorist Green Book (also The Negro Motorist Green-Book, The Negro Travelers' Green Book, or simply the Green Book) was an annual
African Americanroadtrippers. It was originated and published by African American New York City postal worker
Victor Hugo Green from 1936 to 1966, during the era of
Jim Crow laws, when open and often legally prescribed discrimination against African Americans especially and other non-whites was widespread. Although pervasive racial discrimination and poverty limited black car ownership, the emerging
African American middle class bought automobiles as soon as they could, but faced a variety of dangers and inconveniences along the road, from refusal of food and lodging to
arbitrary arrest. In response, Green wrote his guide to services and places relatively friendly to African Americans, eventually expanding its coverage from the New York area to much of North America, as well as founding a travel agency.
Many black Americans took to driving, in part to avoid segregation on public transportation. As the writer
George Schuyler put it in 1930, "all Negroes who can do so purchase an automobile as soon as possible in order to be free of discomfort, discrimination, segregation and insult". Black Americans employed as athletes, entertainers, and salesmen also traveled frequently for work purposes using automobiles that they owned personally. (Full article...)
The Heart of a Woman (1981) is an
autobiography by American writer
Maya Angelou. The book is the fourth installment in Angelou's series of seven autobiographies. The Heart of a Woman recounts events in Angelou's life between 1957 and 1962 and follows her travels to
New York City,
Ghana as she raises her teenage son, becomes a published author, becomes active in the
civil rights movement, and becomes romantically involved with a South African
anti-apartheid fighter. One of the most important themes of The Heart of a Woman is motherhood, as Angelou continues to raise her son. The book ends with her son leaving for college and Angelou looking forward to newfound independence and freedom.
William Barley (1565?–1614) was an English bookseller and publisher. He completed an apprenticeship as a
draper in 1587, but was soon working in the London book trade. As a freeman of the
Drapers' Company, he was embroiled in a dispute between it and the
Stationers' Company over the rights of drapers to function as publishers and booksellers. He found himself in legal tangles throughout his life.
Barley's role in
Elizabethan music publishing has proved to be a contentious issue among scholars. The assessments of him range from "a man of energy, determination, and ambition", to "somewhat remarkable", to "surely to some extent a rather nefarious figure". His contemporaries harshly criticised the quality of two of the first works of music that he published, but he was also influential in his field. (Full article...)
The wordless novel is a narrative genre that uses sequences of captionless pictures to tell a story. As artists have often made such books using
woodcut and other
relief printing techniques, the terms woodcut novel or novel in woodcuts are also used. The genre flourished primarily in the 1920s and 1930s and was most popular in Germany.
Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry like Christmas is the third book of
Maya Angelou's seven-volume
autobiography series. Set between 1949 and 1955, the book spans Angelou's early twenties. In this volume, Angelou describes her struggles to support her young son, form meaningful relationships, and forge a successful career in the entertainment world. The work's 1976 publication was the first time an
African-American woman had expanded her life story into a third volume. Scholar Dolly McPherson calls the book "a graphic portrait of the adult self in bloom" and critic Lyman B. Hagen calls it "a journey of discovery and rebirth". In Singin' and Swingin, Angelou examines many of the same subjects and themes in her previous autobiographies including
motherhood. Angelou depicts the conflict she felt as a single mother, despite her success as a performer as she travels Europe with the musical Porgy and Bess. Her depictions of her travels, which take up 40 percent of the book, have roots in the African-American
slave narrative. Angelou uses music and musical concepts throughout Singin' and Swingin'; McPherson calls it Angelou's "praisesong" to Porgy and Bess. Angelou's
stereotypes about race and race relations are challenged as she interacts more with people of different races. During the course of this narrative, she
changes her name from Marguerite Johnson to Maya Angelou for professional reasons. Her young son changes his name as well, from Clyde to Guy, and their relationship is strengthened as the book ends. (Full article...)
... that Facebook's outage on October 4, 2021, also cut off the company's internal communications, preventing employees from sending or receiving external emails or logging in to Zoom?
Karel van het Reve, author of Twee minuten stilte (1959), inserted a fake letter to the publisher in the first edition which was real enough for later book owners to return the letter to the author?
... that there is disagreement about whether Lots of Mommies, in which a girl is raised by four mothers, should be considered to be an
LGBTQ picture book?
... that according to one legal scholar, "no intelligent lawyer could well practice without" the books of Joseph Kinnicutt Angell?
This Is Not My Hat is a 2012 American
children'spicture book by the author and illustrator
Jon Klassen. The story is told through the
unreliable narration of a little fish, who has stolen a hat from a big fish and how the big fish reacts to the theft. It is a thematic follow-up to I Want My Hat Back (2011) and was meant to be a more literal sequel until Klassen took a suggestion to change which animals were in the story. The book was well received by critics who praised its dark or ironic humor which could only be understood by comparing the words of the little fish's narration against the events of the illustrations. In addition to several positive reviews, Klassen received the 2013
Caldecott Medal and the 2014
Kate Greenaway Medal becoming the first book to win both awards. This is Not My Hat was also a commercial success. (Full article...)
The guide compiles approximately 3,000
capsule album reviews, most of which were originally written by Christgau for his monthly "Consumer Guide" column in The Village Voice through the 1980s. It covers a variety of genres and musical developments from the decade, which are given an overview in his introductory essays. Further insight is also given into his grading criteria. (Full article...)
Goldacre argues in the book that "the whole edifice of medicine is broken", because the evidence on which it is based is systematically distorted by the pharmaceutical industry. He writes that the industry finances most of the
clinical trials into its own products and much of doctors' continuing education, that clinical trials are often conducted on small groups of unrepresentative subjects and negative data is routinely withheld, and that apparently independent academic papers may be planned and even
ghostwritten by pharmaceutical companies or their contractors, without disclosure. Describing the situation as a "murderous disaster", he makes suggestions for action by patients' groups, physicians, academics and the industry itself. (Full article...)
The Bog People is divided into six chapters. The first is devoted to
Tollund Man, and the second to
Grauballe Man, two of the best known Iron Age bog bodies to have been discovered in
Denmark. The third and fourth chapters are devoted to the wider context of bog bodies first in Denmark and then in other parts of Europe. The final two chapters are devoted to a wider exposition of life and death in Iron Age Denmark. (Full article...)
Contemporary reviewers considered Fifty Years to be the best available biography of Neill. They largely praised its clarity and biographical detail and insight, but found the book's philosophical sections comparatively weak and the author biased, as a former teacher from the school. (Full article...)
Stars was an immediate bestseller, prompting Random House to increase their first printing of 350,000 copies to 375,000, even before Angelou began her national book tour to promote it. Like her previous works, the book received generally positive reviews. An audio book, read by the author herself, was recorded in 2001. (Full article...)
The Diamond Smugglers is a non-fiction work by
Ian Fleming that was first published in 1957 in the United Kingdom and in 1958 in the United States. The book is based on two weeks of interviews Fleming undertook with John Collard, a member of the International Diamond Security Organization (IDSO), which was headed by Sir
Percy Sillitoe, the ex-chief of
MI5 who worked for the diamond company
The IDSO was formed by Sillitoe to combat the smuggling of diamonds from Africa, where, it was estimated, £10 million (£256,494,923 in 2023 pounds) worth of gems were being smuggled every year out of South Africa alone. The book expands upon articles Fleming wrote for The Sunday Times in 1957. (Full article...)
Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street is a non-fiction book chronicling the history of the children's television program Sesame Street. Street Gang is journalist and writer
Michael Davis's first book, published by
Viking Press in
2008. On bookshelves in time for the show's 40th anniversary in 2009, the book developed out of a TV Guide article Davis wrote to commemorate the show's 35th anniversary in 2004. Davis spent five years researching and writing the book, and conducted hundreds of interviews with the show's creators, cast, and crew.
Street Gang begins with a description of
Jim Henson's 1990 funeral, from the perspective of co-creator
Joan Ganz Cooney. Its first twelve chapters describe the origin, development, and early years of Sesame Street and the
Children's Television Workshop, the organization created to oversee the production of the show and other projects. Davis includes the biographies of many of the key people involved with the creation and production of Sesame Street. Subsequent chapters chronicle the rest of the show's history, up to its 40th anniversary in 2009. (Full article...)
The encyclopedia was praised by the School Library Journal for its reference value and comprehensiveness. Booklist recommended the encyclopedia be placed in academic, public, and high school libraries as a helpful resource. Publishers Weekly was critical of the author's objectivity, suggesting that the encyclopedia was biased in favor of the agency's intelligence operations, but concluded that the book was still a useful reference tool. (Full article...)
Concealing-Coloration in the Animal Kingdom: An Exposition of the Laws of Disguise Through Color and Pattern; Being a Summary of Abbott H. Thayer’s Discoveries is a book published ostensibly by Gerald H. Thayer in 1909, and revised in 1918, but in fact a collaboration with and completion of his father
Abbott Handerson Thayer's major work.
Elinor Fettiplace's Receipt Book is a 1986 book by
Hilary Spurling containing and describing the recipes in a book inscribed by
Elinor Fettiplace with the date 1604 and compiled in her lifetime: the
manuscript contains additions and marginal notes in several hands. Spurling is the wife of a descendant of Fettiplace who had inherited the manuscript. The book provides a direct view of
Elizabethan era cookery in an aristocratic country house, with Fettiplace's notes on household management.
The book was well received by critics as revealing previously unknown aspects of Elizabethan household life. Spurling was praised for testing the recipes, a challenging task. The historian Elaine Leong cautioned that the homely title could obscure the complex history of the text's authorship and ownership. (Full article...)
A single book at the right time can change our views dramatically, give a quantum boost to our knowledge, help us construct a whole new outlook on the world and our life. Isn't it odd that we don't seek those experiences more systematically?
spine of the book is an important aspect in book design, especially in the cover design. When the books are stacked up or stored in a shelf, the details on the spine is the only visible surface that contains the information about the book. In a book store, it is often the details on the spine that attract the attention first. (from Book design)