For World Book Day Jess, a copywriter at FutureLearn, shares some of the stranger titles housed in the British Library, where the FutureLearn team have their offices
The British Library is one of the largest libraries in the world. It has over 170 million items in its catalogue. But the FutureLearn team don’t stroll through teetering shelves every day because most of the catalogue is stored in archives deep below our offices. The hoard of information below us lies unnoticed and undisturbed, searchable only online.
So in honour of World Book Day I’ve done just that, gone digitally digging through the enormous catalogue, to bring to light some of the more bizarre books found in our home.
1. The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification – Julian Montague, 2006.
A must have for your next trip.
2. Asparagus, Asparagus, Ah Sweet Asparagus – Faye Kicknosway, 1981.
Has Wholefoods started a publishing company?
3. Old Tractors and the Men Who Love Them : How to Keep Your Tractors Happy and Your Family Running – Roger Welsch, 1995.
We eagerly await the calendar.
4. Pigeons and Princesses – James Reeves, 1956.
Someone call Pixar, I’ve got the next film idea sorted.
5. How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack : Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strike (and They Will) – Chuck Sambuchino, 2014.
Forget about nuclear war or antibiotic resistance, it’s the gnomes that’ll get us.
6. Sun-beams May Be Extracted From Cucumbers, but the Process Is Tedious. An Oration, Pronounced on the Fourth of July, 1799, Etc. – David Daggett, 1799.
An improvised cover as I’m not sure it ever got one back in 1799.
7. Burnt Carrots Don’t Have Legs – William Taylor, 1976.
8. Mathematical Modelling of Zombies – Robert Smith, 2014.
See, maths can be fun.
9. Goats in the Nineties – Veterinary Publishing, 1994.
Another improvised cover, can you tell?
10. Ancient Art of Farting – C.Huff, 1990.
The librarians WILL judge you if you request this.
11. Knitting With Dog Hair : A Woof-to-warp Guide to Making Hats, Sweaters, Mittens and Much More – Kendall Crolius, 1996.
A kinder alternative to Cruella de Vil.
12. Fancy Goldfish Culture – Frank W. Orme, 1979.
Why even bother having a goldfish culture if it’s not fancy?
13. The Untold History of the Potato – John Reader, 2009.
The not so humble spud.
14. Cheese Rolling in Gloucestershire – Jean Jeffries, 2007.
This could help answer the question posed by the next book.
15. The English: Are They Human? – Gustaaf Johannes Renier, 1956
Think you can beat these oddities, or want to look them up yourself? Try searching the catalogue.
Joking aside, World Book Day is a fantastic cause to get kids reading (hopefully they get to enjoy titles as entertaining as these) to find out more about getting involved click here.
And finally, if you want to add to this list with a book a your own – join our Start Writing Fiction course.