Ben Blatt's fascinating new book, Nabokov's Favorite Word is Mauve, combines statistical analysis and literature. Using a database of thousands of books and hundreds of millions of words, Blatt answers everything from what are our favorite authors' favorite words to which contemporary writer uses the most clichés to the controversial topic of adverb usage. Read on for a look at some of Blatt's findings.
The first literary mystery to be solved by numbers was a 150-year-old whodunit finally put to rest in 1963. Two statistics professors learned of the long-running debate over a dozen contested essays from The Federalist Papers, and they saw that they might succeed where historians had failed. Both Alexander Hamilton and James Madison claimed to have written the same 12 essays, but who was right?   MORE