Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve by Ben Blatt What makes a book great? Are the prize-winning authors really better writers? And what makes them better? In Ben Blatt’s book Nabokov’s Favorite Word is Mauve, he sets out to answer these questions by applying a mathematical and statistical formula for examining the classics, bestsellers, and our own writing. He analyzed thousands of texts by loading them into databases and then letting his hard drive churn through them, seeking to determine if our favorite authors follow writing advice about, among others, using cliches, adverbs and exclamation points; if men and women write differently; and which authors use the shortest first sentences. His book is more about the craft of writing, such as, word choice, sentence structure, and technique. There’s some surprising and not so surprising reveals: the word she appears only once in The Hobbit; he appears 1900 times; Jane Austen’s favorite words are civility, fancying, imprudence; the “Great Books” used significantly fewer adverbs (think Hemingway and Morrison). It’s full of little tidbits sure to make you the star of your next dinner party!