By Ben Blatt
What are our favourite authors’ favourite phrases? Which bestselling author makes use of the main clichés? How will we pass judgement on a e-book by means of its disguise?
Data meets literature during this playful and informative examine our favourite authors and their masterpieces.
“A literary detective tale: fast moving, thought-provoking, and intriguing.” —Brian Christian, coauthor of Algorithms to dwell By
There’s a recognized piece of writing advice—offered via Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, and myriad writers in between—not to take advantage of -ly adverbs like “quickly” or “fitfully.” It seems like reliable suggestion, yet will we truly try it? If we have been to count number all of the -ly adverbs those authors utilized in their careers, do they stick with their very own suggestion in comparison to different celebrated authors? What’s extra, do nice books in general—the classics and the bestsellers—share this trait?
In Nabokov’s favourite observe Is Mauve, statistician and journalist Ben Blatt brings gigantic info to the literary canon, exploring the wealth of enjoyable findings that stay hidden within the works of the world’s maximum writers. He assembles a database of millions of books and hundreds of thousands of hundreds of thousands of phrases, and begins asking the questions that experience intrigued curious note nerds and publication enthusiasts for generations: What are our favourite authors’ favourite phrases? Do women and men write in a different way? Are bestsellers getting dumber over the years? Which bestselling author makes use of the main clichés? What makes a good establishing sentence? How do we pass judgement on a publication by means of its hide? And which writerly suggestion is worthy following or ignoring?
Blatt attracts upon current research recommendations and invents a few of his personal. All of his investigations and experiments are unique, carried out himself, and no math wisdom is required to appreciate the consequences. Blatt breaks his findings down into lucid, funny language and transparent and compelling visuals. This eye-opening ebook provides you with a brand new appreciation on your favourite authors and a clean standpoint by yourself writing, illuminating either the styles that carry nice prose jointly and the bright prospers that make it unforgettable.
Read Online or Download Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve: What the Numbers Reveal About the Classics, Bestsellers, and Our Own Writing PDF
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Additional resources for Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve: What the Numbers Reveal About the Classics, Bestsellers, and Our Own Writing
It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, but the novels that sell well in bookstores come in with 25% fewer adverbs than the average novel that amateur writers post online. Less than 12% of all number one bestsellers had more than 154 adverbs, even though half of all fan fiction does. * * * The results of this chapter are one half common sense and one half mind-blowing. Most writers and teachers will tell you that adverbs are bad. This is not a controversial stance to take. In many ways, the statistics presented above are just a confirmation of what we already knew.
They were not known for their scholarly work on early America. They had never published a paper on historical figures at all. Mosteller and Wallace were statisticians. One of Mosteller’s most noteworthy papers dealt with the World Series and whether or not seven games was enough to statistically find the best baseball team. Just a few years prior to looking into the authorship problem, Wallace had published a paper named “Bounds on Normal Approximations to Student’s and the Chi-Square Distributions,” which probably sounds as close to nonsense to you as the thought of probability functions solving a historical mystery sounded to history professors in 1963.
The Old Man and the Sea, which won the author the Pulitzer Prize and is often named Hemingway’s best work, is the exception. The two American authors to win the Nobel Prize in literature within a decade of Hemingway are William Faulkner and John Steinbeck, and we can pick apart their stats as well. For Steinbeck, the rate of adverb usage again matches up well to perceptions of his work. The Grapes of Wrath, perhaps his most popular work, places third on the list. Of Mice and Men and East of Eden also land toward the low end.
Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve: What the Numbers Reveal About the Classics, Bestsellers, and Our Own Writing by Ben Blatt