Saturday, March 3, 2012

Largest versus longest books

There is a big difference between the largest and the longest books. Here is the world's largest. (It is large enough that even if I could read the text I'd be stuck there for ages just trying to figure out how to read it.)

The largest book in the world is carved in stone and  stands upright in the Kuthodaw pagoda grounds in MandalayMyanmar (Burma).
It is made up of 730 leaves and 1460 pages. Each stone page is 107 cm wide by 153 cm tall and 13 cm thick.

As there can be no cover presentation for a stone text each tablet was given its own roof complete with a precious gem on top.

They were then arranged around a central golden pagoda so you could read them in order.

So what about the longest book. For a long time people have answered The Bible to the question of what is the longest book. That hasn't been the case in a long time. The longest book is measured by word count as font, spacing and margin sizes would effect the page length. So with the most number of words there are the following: 

Longest novel: Tokugawa leyasu by Sohachi Yamaoka, which is approximately 20,000,000 words long. It is written in Japanese and took up 40 volumes in its original printing, which is now printed in just 13 volumes.

The longest self published novel: Marienbad My Love by Mark Leach, which is approximately 17,000,000 words long. It was written in English.

Longest lost text: Said to be the Yongle Dadian Encyclopedia. The Chinese encyclopedia is recorded as being written between 1403 and 1408 by 2000 scholars. it was known was known as the largest general encyclopedia and comprised of 22,877-22937 chapters (rolls) forming 11,095 volumes. It was written using 370 million Chinese characters. Only approximately 400 volumes have survived to today.

Longest series: Perry Rhodan written by various authors is 150,000,000 words long. It is written in German and when printed it takes up 2,300 volumes.

You could go on. There are so many different ways to judge the longest book that it is very hard to find the answer. Suffice it to say, not many of us would read these texts, either in one hit or over time. They are just so long they turn readers away.

I am impressed though. That's a lot of words!

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