What do you do for entertainment? Here at the library, of course we love to read! For just about as long as humanity has existed, stories have been used as entertainment among many people. First in the oral tradition passed on from person to person in the form of stories told around the fire, at special gatherings, or even simply among family members and friends. Eventually with the invention of the written language and future events, these stories began to be recorded and gradually evolved into physical books.
Historians believe that the first book ever printed was The Diamond Sutra, a Buddhist book from Dunhuang, China around 868 A.D. However, the first modern novel (“novel” being a fairly long work of fiction that is printed in book form) is recognized to have been Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. This book was originally published in two parts, the first of which appeared on January 16, 1605.
Don Quixote not only boasts the title of first modern novel, but it’s also one of the most translated books in all history. It’s book is about a member of the lowest nobility in Spain named Alonso Quixano who becomes obsessed with the desire to become a knight-errant and revive the practice of chivalry in Spain. He calls himself Don Quixote de la Mancha and enlists the help of Sancho Panza as his squire, who effectively acts as comic relief with his dry wit and Quixano’s often absurd monologues on knighthood.