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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

A page from the Ormulum: note the careful and repeated editing performed over time by Orm, as well as the insertions of new readings by "Hand B."

The Ormulum or Orrmulum is a 12th-century work of biblical exegesis, written in early Middle English verse by a monk named Orm (or Ormin). Because of the unique phonetic orthography adopted by the author, the work preserves many details of English pronunciation at a time when the language was in flux after the Norman Conquest; consequently, despite its lack of literary merit, it is invaluable to philologists in tracing the development of English. Orm was concerned that priests were unable to speak the vernacular properly, and so he developed an idiosyncratic spelling system to tell his readers how to pronounce every vowel, and he composed his work using a strict poetic meter that ensured that readers would know which syllables were stressed. Modern scholars can use these two features to reconstruct Middle English just as Orm spoke it. The name "Orm" is derived from Old Norse, meaning worm, dragon. With the suffix of "myn" for "man" (hence "Ormin"), it was a common name throughout the Danelaw area of England. The choice between the two forms of the name was probably dictated by the meter. The title of the poem itself, "Ormulum", is modeled on the Latin speculum ("mirror"); it can be interpreted as either the boastful "Reflection of Orm" or the modest "Researches of Orm".


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A panorama showing an almost 180-degree view of the interior of the Reading Room.

Credit: Diliff

The British Museum Reading Room, situated in the centre of the Great Court of the British Museum, used to be the main reading room of the British Library. In 1997, this function moved to the new British Library building at St Pancras, London, but the Reading Room remains in its original form.

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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

Sir John Vanbrugh in Godfrey Kneller's Kit-cat portrait.

Sir John Vanbrugh (pronounced "Van'-bru") (January 24, 1664?–March 26, 1726) was an English architect and dramatist, perhaps best known as the designer of Blenheim Palace. He wrote two argumentative and outspoken Restoration comedies, The Relapse (1696) and The Provoked Wife (1697), which have become enduring stage favourites but originally occasioned much controversy.Vanbrugh was in many senses a radical throughout his life. As a young man and a committed Whig, he was part of the scheme to overthrow James II, put William III on the throne and protect English parliamentary democracy, dangerous undertakings which landed him in the dreaded Bastille of Paris as a political prisoner. In his career as a playwright, he offended many sections of Restoration and 18th-century society, not only by the sexual explicitness of his plays, but also by their messages in defence of women's rights in marriage. He was attacked on both counts, and was one of the prime targets of Jeremy Collier's Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage.

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