Interesting, Little-Known Behind The Scenes Facts About 15 Famous Novels

For centuries, novels have given us an escape from the real world with their intriguing stories and memorable casts of characters, including Sherlock Holmes, Prince Stepan Arkadyevich Oblonsky, and Joe Gargery. Behind every classic story told is a unique story of its own, and they can be just as inspiring and surprising as the 400-page book you finally finished reading last week. 

Whether it's something that planted the seed for the novel or something that was inspired by said reading material, we take a look at 15 of the most iconic novels that have some very amazing backstories all their own.

1. Nineteen Eighty-Four

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George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four introduced several political concepts that are still invoked today, including Big Brother and Room 101. One of its concepts, "two plus two equals five," is based on the ideology of gaining a five-year boost in the economy in only four years.

2. Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone

Warner Bros.

J.K. Rowling is one of the biggest authors of all time, but it obviously didn't start out that way. Twelve publishing houses rejected Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone before it landed at Bloomsbury Publishing in London.

3. The Pale Horse


Agatha Christie's The Pale Horse helped save the life of a patient in a London hospital in 1977. A doctor discovered the girl he was monitoring had thallium poisoning. He made the discovery because the novel has a thorough description of the illness.

4. War And Peace

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Leo Tolstoy quickly became sick of War and Peace after its release. In a letter to his friend Afanasy Fet, himself regarded as one of the best Russian poets of his era, he openly stated, "How happy I am... that I shall never again write such verbose rubbish like the “War."

5. Fahrenheit 451

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In what is one of the biggest book blunders ever, Ray Bradbury got Fahrenheit and Celsius mixed up when coming with the title of Fahrenheit 451. Things burn at 451 Celsius, not 451 Fahrenheit.


6. The Lord Of The Rings

New Line Cinema

When it comes to awkward book art, the Ballantine Books editions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are certainly the most memorable. Artist Barbara Remington wasn't able to read both books in time to create her work, which left author J. R. R. Tolkien confused as to why lions and pumpkins were on the covers.

7. James Bond


Ian Fleming named the popular spy after the American ornithologist James Bond. In the film Die Another Day, James Bond reads one of Bond's books titled Birds of the West Indies.

8. Les Misérables

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While most authors try to be free to promote their book, Les Misérables author Victor Hugo decided to take a vacation. When he asked about how the book was doing, Hugo sent out a "?" via telegram. His publishers replied with a "!", which meant the book was selling very well.

9. Tom Sawyer

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Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer was one of the first manuscripts written on a typewriter. The first one was Life on the Mississippi, which was also written by the iconic author.

10. Treasure Island

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"Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest/Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!" is one of the most memorable lines from Treasure Island. The "Yo-ho-ho" section wasn't used as laughter like most people thought; sailors used the saying when they did heavy work.

11. Aladdin


While Broadway and Disney portrayed Aladdin as a young man living out of Agrabah, the character is actually living in China in the novel One Thousand and One Nights.


12. Fifty Shades Of Grey

Universal Pictures

Fifty Shades of Grey can thank readers in Europe for most of its success; the novel is the best-selling book in Great Britain with 5.3 million copies sold.

13. The Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym Of Nantucket

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A scene in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket came true when a group of sailors ate a man named Richard Parker in 1884. In the book, which was released in 1838, someone named Richard Parker was eaten by a group of men.

14. Pride And Prejudice

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Pride and Prejudice was almost never released to the public. Jane Austin was rejected by numerous publishers before putting it on the shelf for 15 years.

15. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

The Independent

Before working on the beloved children's classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, author Roald Dahl used to get test packages from various chocolate companies as a kid. This inspired him to write the acclaimed book.

The next book you pick up from your new favorite author will probably have a background even crazier than the ones featured on this list!

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