Rare, Unique, and Unusual Books

A very small book, a very creepy book, and everything in between.

We rounded up some of the most extreme books in the world. So go ahead and explore the weird, wild and wonderful world of the printed word:

1. A Very Small Book

This tiny book is actually an array of itty-bitty tablets lined up on a single microchip that is as wide as a single human hair, etched there by an ion beam. The chip tells the story of “Teeny Ted from Tunip Town,” written by Malcolm Douglas Chaplin. (Read More: Huffington Post)

smallest book in the world


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2. A Very Old Book

Discovered over 70 years ago in Bulgaria, this gold book is considered one of the oldest books ever discovered. Made by Etruscans over 2,500 years ago. The book consists of 6 pages of 24-carat gold, and depicts the story of a horseman. (Read more: Wigan Lane Books)



3. A Very Pretty Book 

This book has a secret. A beautiful secret. Closed normally, the books edges look gold. When fanned out slightly, a beautiful painting is revealed. This particular book is from the 19th century and its painting was discovered recently at the University of Iowa.  (Read More: This Is Collassal)

4. A Very Creepy Book 

A book in the collections at Harvard University was recently tested and confirmed to be bound in human skin. Shudder. While it sounds strange, macabre, and downright awful to us, it was a common practice in the 16-century. Typically, the skins came from criminals who had been executed. An inscription inside the book reads: “This book is bound in human skin parchment on which no ornament has been stamped to preserve its elegance…A book about the human soul deserved to have a human covering.” Again, SHUDDER. (Read More: Houghton Library Blog)
book bound in human skin


5. A Very Strange Book 

Codex Seraphinianus is an illustrated encyclopedia of a completely imaginary world, created by the Italian artist, Luigi Serafini, published in 1981. The book is written in an imaginary language and features flora, fauna, machines, fashion, games, and architecture of a society that does not exist. The drawings are detailed and extravagant. And if we may, this book sounds SO COOL. (Read more: Abe Books)

Codex Seraphinianus


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