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Some Luck

  by Jane Smiley

(about 606 pages)
total words
of all the books in our library
of all the books in our library
passive voice
of all the books in our library
all adverbs
of all the books in our library
of all the books in our library
of all the books in our library

clippings from this book

We’ve analyzed hundreds of millions of words, from thousands of different authors, training our linguistic models to recognize the most vivid words in the English language… the words that create the most intense sensory experiences: colors, textures, sounds, flavors, and aromas.

Based on our analysis, we’ve scanned through the pages of this book to find the two pages at the extremes, both the most-passive and the most-vivid pages, so that you can compare them side-by-side and see the difference:

in Chicago, than here, then the end really is at hand, because although now we haven’t had a new blizzard in a couple of weeks, we are still digging out. Walter has a tunnel between the house and the barn. You would think that he would be happy, but he says that if the ground stays frozen while the snow melts, it will just run off, and then the floods—I don’t like to think. However, we are all fed, and the snow has insulated us from the winds, and so the rooms we are heating have been warm enough. I am in a mood to be thankful, because a terrible thing happened to Mrs. Morris, and Lillian and I have been over there twice. Eloise didn’t want to read on, but she did. Mrs. Morris, she remembered, was Lillian’s best friend’s mother. Last week, she had a baby, a boy. Her Jane is ten, Lucy is five, and Gloria is two, I think. I guess she’s had trouble before. They wanted a boy, but this one, Ralph, they named him, seems to have been very premature. He is tiny. He cries day and night—he even pulls away from nursing to cry. Of course he has to be swaddled because of the cold, and he can’t stand that. Mama says that in her day he would have been quietly passed on to the Lord, and maybe he would have been, I don’t know, but Mrs. Morris would never do rabbits and the two new calves (this year’s named Paulette and Patricia), and watching Nat run after Pepper, was soybeans. Before the war, there were farmers who grew soybeans instead of oats—once they were up, you turned the cows out into the field, and they were pretty good pasture. During the thirties, Walter hadn’t planted soybeans because he had always expected enough rain to grow the crops he preferred, especially oats. Even that worst year—what was it, ’36? there had been so much snow and ice that Walter had finally rejected planting soybeans. What was he going to get for them? How was he going to harvest and store them? What could you use them for? If you were going to grow beans, then grow beans, was how Walter saw it—pole beans. Soybeans were like oats or clover or alfalfa, but not as useful. Joe, though, loved soybeans. When you planted them, because they were beans, they nitrogenated the soil, and did so much more efficiently than clover. Corn planted in a former soybean field nearly leapt out of the ground. Nor did they care much about rain, either way. The corn could be pale and short, and the beans would be green and thick. Cattle liked them, too. Joe didn’t have a herd of milk cows or beef cows anymore, but farmers who did bought all the beans you could grow. Betty and Boop loved them ground up into meal, and beef raised on ground beans

emotional story arc

Click anywhere on the chart to see the most significant emotional words — both positive & negative — from the corresponding section of the text…
This chart visualizes the the shifting emotional balance for the arc of this story, based on the emotional strength of the words in the prose, using techniques pioneered by the UVM Computational Story Lab. To create this story arc, we divided the complete manuscript text into 50 equal-sized chunks, each with 3027.98 words, and then we scored each section by counting the number of strongly-emotional words, both positive and negative. The bars in the chart move downward whenever there’s conflict and sadness, and they move upward when conflicts are resolved, or when the characters are happy and content. The size of each bar represents the positive or negative word-count of that section.

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