(Ang.-Saxon, boc; Danish, beuke; German, buche, a beech-tree). Beechbark was employed for carving names on before the invention of printing.
Here on my trunk's surviving frame, Carved many a long-forgotten name. ... As love's own altar, honour me: Spare, woodman, spare the beechen tree.
Campbell: Beech Tree's Petition.
The dearest ever sold. A Mazarin Bible at the Thorold sale, in 1884, bought by Mr. Quaritch, book-seller, Piccadilly, London, for 3,400 for a copy.
The oldest in the world. That by Ptah-Hotep, the Egyptian, compiled in the reign of Assa, about B.C. 3366. This MS. is preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. It is written on papyrus in hieratic characters, and is a compilation of moral, political, and religious aphorisms. It strongly insists on reverence to women, politeness, and monotheism. Ptah-Hotep was a prince of the blood, and lived to the age of 110 years.
Book. Logistilla gave Astolpho, at parting, a book which would tell him anything he wanted to know, and save him from the power of enchantment. (Ariosto: Orlando Furioso, book viii)
Beware of a man of one book. Never attempt to controvert the statement of any one in his own special subject. A shepherd who cannot read will know more about sheep than the wisest book-worm. This caution is given by St. Thomas Aquinas.
That does not suit my book. Does not accord with my arrangements. The reference is to betting-books, in which the bets are formally entered.
To bring him to book. To make him prove his words; to call him to account. Make him show that what he says accords with what is written down in the indentures, the written agreement, or the book which treats of the subject.
To book it. To take down an order; to make a memorandum; to enter in a book. To speak by the book. With minute exactness. To speak literatim, according to what is in the book. To speak like a book. To speak with great precision and accuracy; to be full of information.
To speak without book. Without authority; from memory only, without consulting or referring to the book. Bell, book, and candle. (See under Bell.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894