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The Complete Polysyllabic Spree

  by Nick Hornby

(about 304 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:

is reading? Crikey. When I was ten, the only word I’d have understood in the whole sentence would have been ‘you’, although not necessarily in this context. Daniel Clowes’s David Boring – yeah, yeah, late again – is partly about large bottoms, but as one of the reviews quoted on the back called the book ‘perverse and fetishistic’, I’d have wanted my money back if it hadn’t been. It’s also clever, and the product of a genuinely odd imagination. There’s no rule that says one’s reading has to be tonally consistent. I can’t help but feel, however, that my reading has been all over the place this month. The Invisible Woman and Y: The Last Man were opposites in just about every way you can imagine; they even had opposite titles. A woman you can’t see versus a guy whose mere existence attracts the world’s attention. Does this matter? I suspect it might. I was once asked to DJ at a New Yorker party, and the guy who was looking after me (in other words, the guy who was actually playing the records) wouldn’t let me choose the music I wanted because he said I wasn’t paying enough attention to the beats per minute: according to him, you can’t have a differential of more than, I don’t know, twenty bpm between records. At the time, I thought this was a stupid idea, but there is a possibility that it might apply to reading. The Invisible Woman is pacy and engrossing, but it’s good looks have on people. He wanders into the kitchen, naked. He climbs on to the Aga, and sits there twiddling a piece of cardboard. I send him to get dressed; his skin is red and mottled from the heat. He returns with all his clothes on the wrong way round. I fill a lunchbox for eleven-year-old Sam. Plain crisps, gluten-free biscuits, marzipan, an apple that I know he won’t eat, but I suppose I live on in hope. George doesn’t have a lunchbox, because George maintains the fiction that he doesn’t eat anything at all, and a lunchbox is too blatant a reminder that this cannot be the case. I smuggle his food suppliesmainly Twiglets and chocolate – into his school taxi, underneath his swimming things. I make George’s breakfast – but I have to pretend it’s not his breakfast. ‘I’m making this for Sam,’ I announce, pointedly. I toast two slices of rice bread; Sam’s diet excludes wheat, oats, barley, rye and all dairy products. I place them on two plates which George has selected by sniffing. I spread Marmite in an even layer right up to the edge of the crusts, cut them into quarters, then busy myself elsewhere. George slips down from the Aga; as long as my back’s turned, he’ll risk the toast. ‘These are for Sam,’ he states as he starts to eat. ‘Yes, they’re for Sam,’I confirm, without looking round. Sam’s always the last up. He’s awake, but he’s under his duvet, murmuring

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 1518.06 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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other books by Nick Hornby

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