Douglas Adams came up with the title for The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy while lying drunk in a field near Innsbruck with a copy of The Hitch-Hikers Guide to Europe. Looking up at the stars, he thought it would be a good idea for someone to write a hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy as well.
Charles Dickens’ novels were hugely popular even among the illiterate poor. They would pool their money to hire a reader, and then gather together to listen to the stories.
A writer was caught for a murder only after a detective read his book about a fictional murder which contained similarities and details to the real life murder that only the killer would know about. Authorities also learned he was also planning to commit another murder to write book about.
True History is considered the earliest form of science fiction written in 2nd century about adventurers who travel to outer space and get involved in interplanetary warfare between the king of the Moon and the king of the Sun.
A book, called Ella Minnow Pea, is set on an island where the government slowly bans letters. As the letters are banned, they disappear from the writing in the book as well.
The Iliad and the Odyssey are just two parts out of an eight-part epic, but the other six parts have been almost entirely lost to history.
Some Cuban cigar factories employed a “Lector” who would read newspapers, political treatises and classical literature aloud to help break the monotony of the cigar-rollers’ work, thus even illiterate cigar-rollers would be well-informed and familiar with great literature.
The Japanese have a word (tsundoku [積ん読]) for the habit of buying a lot of books and never reading them.
There is a surviving fantasy novel written in the 2nd century AD in Roman Syria that features explorers flying to the moon, a first encounter with aliens, interplanetary war between imperialistic celestial kingdoms, and the discovery of a continent across the ocean
The earliest piece of great literature, The Epic of Gilgamesh, includes a story in which Utnapishtim is told to build a ship to save the animals of the world from a “great flood”. Nearly 2,000 years later, a similar tale with different names appeared in the Bible’s book of Genesis.