Portal:Books

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The book portal

Johannes Trithemius'Polygraphiae (1518)
A book is a set of written, printed, illustrated, or blank sheets, made of paper, parchment, or other materials, fastened together to hinge at one side, with text and/or images printed in ink. A single sheet within a book is a leaf, and each side of a leaf is a page. A set of text-filled or illustrated pages produced in electronic format is known as an electronic book, or e-book.

Books may also refer to works of literature, or a main division of such a work. In library and information science, a book is called a monograph, to distinguish it from serial periodicals such as magazines, journals, or newspapers. The body of all written works including books is literature. In novels and sometimes other types of books (for example, biographies), a book may be divided into several large sections, also called books (Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, and so on). An avid reader of books is a bibliophile or colloquially, "bookworm".

A shop where books are bought and sold is a bookshop or bookstore. Books can also be borrowed from libraries. Google has estimated that as of 2010, approximately 130,000,000 distinct titles had been published. In some wealthier nations, printed books are giving way to the usage of electronic or e-books, though sales of e-books declined in the first half of 2015.

Selected article

Title page from the first edition of Original Stories (1788)

Original Stories from Real Life; with Conversations Calculated to Regulate the Affections, and Form the Mind to Truth and Goodness is the only complete work of children's literature by eighteenth-century British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. Original Stories begins with a frame story, which sketches out the education of two young girls by their maternal teacher Mrs. Mason, proceeded by a series of didactic tales. The book was first published by Joseph Johnson in 1788; a second, illustrated edition, with engravings by William Blake, was released in 1791 and remained in print for around a quarter of a century.In Original Stories Wollstonecraft employs the burgeoning genre of children's literature to promote the education of women and an emerging middle-class ideology. She argues that women can be rational adults if they are educated properly as children (not a widely-held belief in the eighteenth century) and contends that the nascent middle-class ethos is 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, is also responding to the works of the two most important educational theorists of the eighteenth century: John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Selected picture

The 99th plate illustration from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur (1904), showing a variety of hummingbirds.

Credit: Ernst Haeckel

The 99th plate illustration from Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur (1904), showing a variety of hummingbirds.Kunstformen der Natur (Art Forms of Nature) is a book of lithographic and autotype prints by German biologist Ernst Haeckel. Originally published in sets of ten between 1899 and 1904 and as a complete volume in 1904, it consists of 100 prints of various organisms, many of which were first described by Haeckel himself.

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Web resources

  • Bookbinding and the Conservation of books, A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, 1982 by Matt T. Roberts and Don Etherington
  • IOBA glossary of book terms
  • Project Gutenberg - Free e-Books
  • Words at Large: The best in books from CBC.ca
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In the news

March 14, 2012

After a 244-year span in print, the Encyclopædia Britannica will discontinue its published volumes. With less than 1% of revenue coming from print versions, Jorge Cauz, Britannica's president, indicates there simply is not sufficient demand for the print publication. In the last 11 years demand has plummeted due to competition from Wikipedia and Britannica's own digital version. Britannica peaked in sales in 1990 with 120,000 sets sold. The 2010 edition will be the last in print and has sold 8,000 sets to date; with 4,000 sets remaining.

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Selected biography

Thomas Ruggles Pynchon, Jr. (born May 8, 1937) is an American writer based in New York City, noted for his dense and complex works of fiction. Hailing from Long Island, Pynchon spent two years in the United States Navy and earned an English degree from Cornell University. After publishing several short stories in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he began composing the novels for which he is best known today: V. (1963), The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), Gravity's Rainbow (1973), Vineland (1990), Mason & Dixon (1997), and Against the Day (2006).Pynchon (/ˈpɪnɒn/, with /ˈpɪntʃən/ a common mispronunciation) is regarded by many readers and critics as one of the finest contemporary authors. He is a MacArthur Fellow and a recipient of the National Book Award, and is regularly cited as a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Both his fiction and non-fiction writings encompass a vast array of subject matter, styles and themes, including (but not limited to) the fields of history, science and mathematics. Pynchon is also known for his avoidance of personal publicity: very few photographs of him have ever been published, and rumours about his location and identity have been circulated since the 1960s.

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