Summer Book Bingo: The BIG 5—5 Books that Think BIG
August 15, 2019
By Rachel Bachler
It’s sitting there just staring at you. The end of the last ‘sunny-picture’ calendar page. Only a few short weeks until you inevitably lift the page to see a background of orange and red maples looming above the family in matching Pendleton coats and yellow rain boots.
Aside from the pumpkin spice scones and back-to-school sales on Kleenex, the coming of fall can mean only one thing for every world historian, wanderlust adventurer, and avid do-it-yourselfer: nineteen more days to finish that #BookBingoNW2019 board. Nineteen more days to address the two squares at the bottom of the board that have evaded us all summer – the BIG BOOK squares.
Assuming, just for a moment, that nineteen days may not be quite enough time to finish Hugo’s Les Misérables or Tolstoy’s War and Peace, what then, are the “BIG” options left? Five solutions for the BIG square standing between you and a bingo, SAL’s Big 5: 5 Books that Think BIG.
- BIGgest Book: The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
On September 13, 2007, Ediouro Publicacoes of Rio de Janeiro decided to make the little prince’s world just a little bit bigger – 6.7ft x 10.1ft bigger to be exact. (Yes, it won a Guinness World Record.) Created for the XIII Biannual Book Fair of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this edition of Saint-Exupéry’s, The Little Prince may not be available at the Seattle Central Library, but you could pick up a more manageably sized print at any Third Place Books location. We can just pretend it’s the 10-foot spread. A story about a little prince who teaches man how to believe again feels that big, anyway.
- BIGgest Seller: Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes
Quixote wasn’t always the hero in armor, galloping across the Spanish countryside to bring justice for the downtrodden. No, he started out as Quixote, the guy so bewitched with stories of knights and duels that he decided to put on a helmet and become one. Sound familiar? If it doesn’t, it will. Published in 1612, Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote is considered one of the first novels ever written. Although its early publication proves difficult to precisely tally sales, the story of Quixote’s gallivants across Spain have been credited with some 500 million copies sold – because who doesn’t love a good duel?
- BIGgest Following: Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling
A young wizard, a cast of steadfast friends, and a villain that puts Dracula to shame; J.K. Rowling knew what she was cooking when she threw the world into a wizarding tizzy in 1997 at the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Seven novels, a play, a slew of prequels, an amusement park, and an entire movie franchise later, the final installment of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, took home the Guinness World Record for Fastest Selling Book of Fiction in 24 Hours when it sold a record breaking 8.3 million copies in its initial 24 hours at market. The butterbeer really is that good.
- BIGgest Character: Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle
Most portrayed human character, rather (that under-the-covers-scary Dracula holds the title for most overall portrayed literary character in film). Conan Doyle’s wittingly calculated detective has been depicted some 254 times on screen by over 75 actors since his creation in 1887. Adapted into films, television series, dramas, and documentaries, Sherlock Holmes has become the quintessential British criminal investigator. It is important to note, though, the high likelihood that Watson could be the brains behind the whole bit.
- BIGgest Cornerstone: Action Comics #1, Jerry Siegel
In 1938, a man with supernatural powers puts on a pair of black rimmed glasses and becomes an entry level news reporter – and also the cornerstone of American pop culture history. 80 years and over 1,000 issues later, Action Comics Issue #1, the first appearance of Superman, celebrated its conception of the superhero genre with the Guinness World Record title for Longest-Running Superhero Comic Book series. Now the most valuable comic in history, Action Comics #1 equipped Superman with superpowers, a first which inspired entire universes of extraordinary beings with extraordinary powers. But honestly, would all those journalists really not have noticed the huge new guy with the glasses?
Rachel Bachler is a Public Disclosure Officer with the City of Seattle, making strides in community relations and public transparency. An advocate for the arts, Rachel works on staff with the Seattle Symphony to promote consumer experience. Trained at Pacific Northwest Ballet School, she went on to earn her teaching certificate with American Ballet Theatre, later receiving their Affiliate Teacher Award. Rachel holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Hope International University.