'What fun this is! Ben Blatt’s charming book applies numerical know-how to questions of literary style, teasing out insights about cliffhangers, adverbs'
– Jordan Ellenberg, author of How Not to Be Wrong
'Ben Blatt’s delightful book gives us an original big data perspective on great writers’ work. Its humour, insights and statistical displays are fascinating to behold, even as it helps us develop our own writing'
– Carl N. Morris, Professor Emeritus of Statistics, Harvard University
‘It was statisticians, rather than historians, who cracked the centuries’ old mystery of the Federalist Papers—and they did it with mere paper and pencil. Operating in the same investigative spirit—and with the benefit of vastly more powerful tools—Ben Blatt probes the literary canon for unexpected revelations and insights. The result is a literary detective story: fast-paced, thought-provoking, and intriguing. In Nabokov’s Favorite Word is Mauve we learn what separates authors’ great works from their lesser ones, how our literary tastes have changed over the years, and, charmingly, whether some of the writers most prone to dispensing literary advice actually practice what they preach.’
– Brian Christian, co-author of Algorithms to Live By
'Illuminating entertainment ... Literary criticism by the numbers'
– Kirkus Reviews
'Amiable and intelligent ... literature enthusiasts will enjoy the hypotheses [Blatt] poses and his imaginative methods'
– Publishers Weekly
'[A] fun and interesting book ... his breezy and engaging volume fulfills its promise to provide the reader with an appreciation or deeper understanding of an author or favorite writer ... and alerts the writer to the trends, patterns and uses of grammar, vocabulary and punctuation in one's own writing'
– New Romanticist
– Wall Street Journal
'Nate Silver-esque number crunching meets the canon in this quirky, arresting deconstruction of literature's greatest hits'
– O, The Oprah Magazine
'Fascinating ... the book had me humming with pleasure'
– The Sunday Times
'Delivers a statistical study of literature in the vein of Freakonomics ... [Blatt] approaches the subject with the right mix of humour, hand-holding and literary love ... yield[s] insights which would be impossible to recognize on their own'
– Paste Magazine
'Lively ... worthwhile ... Read this book thoughtfully. It's fun. And, I think, the shape of some very interesting things to come'
– The Times
'Book-lovers will delight in Nabokov's Favourite Word Is Mauve ... accessible, entertaining, and enlightening'
'This is really the most delicious kind of rabbit hole ... If you're a writer, you won't be able to resist it. If you know a writer, give this as a gift and find yourself adored. ... It can be dipped into like a squirrel's nut hoard, enjoyed a quick nibble at a time, or dived into headfirst, one fascinating tidbit leading to the next to the next to the next'
– Publishers Weekly, Shelf Talker column