'This is the short and the long of it.'

The Bible

Although there have been many versions of The Bible over the centuries, Gutenberg's Bible has particular significance. The Gutenberg Bible was one of the first books to be printed in Europe. Begun in 1450 in Mainz, Germany by Johannes Gutenberg, the first copies were available five years later. It is believed that 180 copies of the bible were produced. The Gutenberg Bible closely resembles the manuscript Bibles of the time and has iconic status in the West as the text that started the age of the printed book.

Images of the Gutenberg Bible

STF194462 (details) Decorated initial 'A', from the Gutenberg Bible, printed in the workshop of Johannes Gutenberg, 1455 (parchment) Universitatsbibliothek, Gottingen, Germany</BR>Bildarchiv Steffens
STF194462 (details) Decorated initial 'A', from the Gutenberg Bible, printed in the workshop of Johannes Gutenberg, 1455 (parchment) Universitatsbibliothek, Gottingen, Germany
Bildarchiv Steffens

BAL72634 Detail of the Angel, from The Virgin of the Rocks, c.1508 (oil on panel) by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)</BR>National Gallery, London, UK
BAL72634 Detail of the Angel, from The Virgin of the Rocks, c.1508 (oil on panel) by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
National Gallery, London, UK

The Da Vinci Code
written by Dan Brown

The Da Vinci Code is a detective novel sequel to one of Brown's earlier works, Angels and Demons, featuring the character of Robert Langdon. Works by Leonardo DaVinci, The Louvre and the Vatican figure prominently in this winding tale. The book caused controversy with its discussion of the Holy Grail and its portrayal of the Catholic church, but still went on to become a worldwide bestseller.

Works by Leonardo Da Vinci

 

Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung

Also known as The Little Red Book, this book was comprised of quotations from various speeches and works by Chairman Mao. Published from 1964 to 1976, nearly every person in China owned a copy, and it became one of the enduring symbols of the Cultural Revolution and features in much of the propoganda of the time.

More images

CGA283366 Proletariat of the World, Unite and Crush US Imperialism (colour litho) by Chinese School (20th century)</BR>The Chambers Gallery, London
CGA283366 Proletariat of the World, Unite and Crush US Imperialism (colour litho) by Chinese School (20th century)
The Chambers Gallery, London

KW114969 Joseph Smith, Founder of the Mormon Church, Preaching to Indians, from 'La Vuelta al Mundo', published in Madrid, 1865 (engraving)/ Ken Welsh
KW114969 Joseph Smith, Founder of the Mormon Church, Preaching to Indians, from 'La Vuelta al Mundo', published in Madrid, 1865 (engraving)/ Ken Welsh

The Book of Mormon
written by Joseph Smith, Jr.

First published in 1830 with the subtitle, An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi, which refers to Smith's own account of his discovery of the text (in which he was guided to by an angel-prophet named Moroni) written in reformed Egyptian inscribed on golden plates buried in a hill in upstate New York.

More images of Joseph Smith, Jr.

The Qu'ran

Islam holds that the Qu'ran (or Koran) was first revealed to Muhammed by the angel Gabriel in 610 CE, and was handed down through the oral tradition until being written down some twenty years later when it first began being produced in large numbers.

More images of the Qu'ran

CND55132 The Koran: Two pages decorated with medallions enclosing the lines of verse (vellum) by Islamic School (17th century) Musee Conde, Chantilly, France
CND55132 The Koran: Two pages decorated with medallions enclosing the lines of verse (vellum) by Islamic School (17th century) Musee Conde, Chantilly, France

SAV329253 Any Old Fairy Tale, 1919 (w/c on board) by Arthur Wilde Parsons (1854-1931)/ Bristol Savages, Bristol, UK
SAV329253 Any Old Fairy Tale, 1919 (w/c on board) by Arthur Wilde Parsons (1854-1931)/ Bristol Savages, Bristol, UK

Harry Potter
series by J.K. Rowling

The seven part fantasy series, centering around a young wizard's trials and tribulations at the Hogwarts School, have proved incredibly popular with both children and adults alike. The last four books have all set records as the fastest selling books in history.

More images of wizards, spells and magic

The Chronicles of Narnia
written by C.S. Lewis

The Chronicles of Narnia, published between 1950-1956, is a seven part children's fantasy series that takes place in the parallel, magical world of Narnia. Each tale features children who are magically transported to Narnia - a world of talking animals, magic and the age old battle between good and evil. Although the themes borrow heavily from Christianity, there are also characters and ideas from Greek and Roman mythology and traditional fairy tales.

Illustrations from the Chronicles of Narnia by Jonathan Barry

JTB241969 Aslan's Great Journey, 2005 (oil on canvas) by Jonathan Barry (Contemporary Artist)
JTB241969 Aslan's Great Journey, 2005 (oil on canvas) by Jonathan Barry (Contemporary Artist)

BMK186566 (detail) Bilbo Inside Smaug the Dragon's Lair, illustration from 'The Hobbit', by J.R.R Tolkien (1892-1973), edition published 1976 (engraving) by Mikhail Belomlinsky
BMK186566 (detail) Bilbo Inside Smaug the Dragon's Lair, illustration from 'The Hobbit', by J.R.R Tolkien (1892-1973), edition published 1976 (engraving) by Mikhail Belomlinsky

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
written by J.R.R. Tolkien

Both novels are fantastical tales that take place in a mythical land called Middle-Earth. The Lord of the Rings began as a sequel to The Hobbit and eventually expanded to become a much larger trilogy. Published between the 1930s and 1950s, Tolkien's books are credited with increasing demand for fantasy fiction - an influence that grew to other media including games and films.

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The American Spelling Book
written by Noah Webster

Webster was a lexicographer who altered the spelling of many English words from their British version. He also wrote many books, including the best selling The American Spelling Book which was originally titled, The First Part of the Grammatical Institute of the English Language, and designed for use in elementary schools.

 

STC186041 Noah Webster (1758-1843) engraved by Frederick W. Halpin by Jared Bradley Flagg</BR>The Stapleton Collection
STC186041 Noah Webster (1758-1843) engraved by Frederick W. Halpin by Jared Bradley Flagg
The Stapleton Collection

LAL301925 The Scouts by English School (20th century) Private Collection/ Look and Learn
LAL301925 The Scouts by English School (20th century) Private Collection/ Look and Learn

Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship
written by Robert Baden-Powell

Robert Baden-Powell was the founder of the Scout Movement. This book drew on his own experience in the second Boer War and was a revision of his earlier military manuals but designed for boys. It was originally released in 6 bi-weekly installments.

More images of scouting and Robert Baden-Powell

***Bridgeman's top 10 list was compiled using various top selling book lists. All of the books included above exist in some form of top ten bestselling list and all books have sold at least 50 million copies worldwide.


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