Archive for April, 2013

“It’s called the oscillating family narrative: ‘Dear, let me tell you, we’ve had ups and downs in our family. We built a family business. Your grandfather was a pillar of the community. Your mother was on the board of the hospital. But we also had setbacks. You had an uncle who was once arrested. We had a house burn down. Your father lost a job. But no matter what happened, we always stuck together as a family.’”

— Bruce Feiler in The Stories That Bind Us

A collection of covers for The Great Gatsby.

I first read a copy with a cover similar to this one.

my gatsby

Meanwhile, I would have been equally happy with either of these:

no gatsbyblack and white gatsby

With the graphs spread out in front of him, Bentley says, the patterns are easy to see. “The ’20s were the highest peak of joy-related words that we see,” he says. “They really were roaring.”

But then came 1941, which, of course, marked the beginning of America’s entry into World War II. It doesn’t take a historian to see that peaks and valleys like these roughly mirror the major economic and social events of the century.

– Alix Spiegel in Using Books to Map Emotions Through a Century

A fasinating and strange analysis of the text of billions of books.