Kay: Finding Love, Literally

The holiday season has been rich with “best of” book lists. I always enjoy putting new titles on my TBR pile, but I also enjoy reading old favorites. This year to ring in the new year right, I picked up Pride and Prejudice again, which never fails to amuse and entertain me. And then I ran into this article by the Ebook Friendly team. Using the tools BookLamp and Google Books Ngram Viewer, they analyzed the occurrences of the words “love” and “kiss” in several romantic classics and compared the number of occurrences to other classics. Is Ulysses a more romantic book than P&P because “love” occurs 412 times rather than 122? Of course not. But the results are fun anyway.

Infographic courtesy of Ebook Friendly

Infographic courtesy of Ebook Friendly

7 thoughts on “Kay: Finding Love, Literally

  1. Love, love, love this, Kay 🙂 . Absolute figures make for good graphics, I suppose, but if I got to play with this, I’d look at the smooch density – you have to pace yourself through more than 1,400 pages of Tolstoy for your 118 Anna Karenina kisses (one snog per 12 pages), but you get one per 7 pages (45 kisses/ 330 pages) in Tess of the D’Urbervilles and about the same for Jane Eyre.

    Happy New Year’s Eve to all, and wishing you the best possible 2016!

    • The smooch density—so true! In fact, when I first saw this graphic, I was surprised when I saw that Anna Karenina had kisses at all. All I really remember from it is constant frustration and disappointment and then…the train.

      The best 2016—and many smooches—to you, too!

    • I love seeing graphs like this, too. The numbers can seem so improbable when we think what they should look like for a book we enjoy, and then they turn out to be so different than what we expected. Well, okay, I didn’t expect to see a lot of love and kisses in Metamorphosis.

  2. This is beautiful! LOL, and a great way to get a new viewpoint on old favorites!

    I’ve played around with the Google Ngram before to determine what’s good usage in English for classes. There can be some really weird false positives. For some reason, I looked up “time sink” and was astounded to find that it was most used very long ago. Luckily, the ngram allows you to look up examples from different time periods, and I found that a lot of the examples were things like “the material, over time, sinks to the bottom of the flask”. Oh. So, the time sink I was looking for is probably quite modern. Still, I think when used with caution, it’s a great tool for the historical writer.


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