a book "of" or "about"

prudent260

Senior Member
Chinese
I happened to read the title of a book as below:

The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy Paperback

Does it mean differently if the name is "The book about basketball...?"

Thank you.
 
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, that would be very different. You might buy “a book about basketball”, but it’s unlikely that that would be its title. As the title of any book aiming to be the definitive work on a particular subject, only “The Book of …” works.
     

    prudent260

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Yes, that would be very different. You might buy “a book about basketball”, but it’s unlikely that that would be its title. As the title of any book aiming to be the definitive work on a particular subject, only “The Book of …” works.
    Then, lingobingo, is there difference between "I am writing a book about/on basketball" and "I am writing a book of basketball?"

    I do have difficulty understanding the difference. Please elaborate a little bit if that doesn't bother you too much.

    Thank you again.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    As I said, the use of “of” rather than “about” relates only to the title of a particular type of book.

    "I am writing a book about/on basketball" :tick:
    "I am writing a book of basketball" :cross:
    "I am writing a book called The Book of Basketball" :tick:
     

    prudent260

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    As I said, the use of “of” rather than “about” relates only to the title of a particular type of book.

    "I am writing a book about/on basketball" :tick:
    "I am writing a book of basketball" :cross:
    "I am writing a book called The Book of Basketball" :tick:
    Thank you for the help :):)
     

    prudent260

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    From Longman Dictionary online:
    • You read something in a book:I read about him in a book at school.
    • You say a book about a subject or a book on a subject:I like books about sport.
    ✗Don’t say: I like books of sport.

    • A book of essays, poems etc is one that contains several essays, poems etc:It’s a book of interviews with artists.
    • You say a book by someone:I’m reading a book by John Gray.
    ✗Don’t say: I’m reading a book of John Gray.

    Putting "of" behind "book" is also possible in book titles.

    Thank you again, lingobingo.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Note that there is a big difference between these two phrases:

    A book of Basketball.
    The book of Basketball.

    Using "the" together with "of" (not just "of") gives the meaning explained in #2: this book is designed to be the "definitive source" (the most expert source, the best source) of information about basketball.

    When you use "The", there is only one. This book is the only one! Don't look for other sources of information! It's right here! You found it!
     
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