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Susan Ito trying to do it all: reading writing mothering spousing daughtering working living

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Who Knew That "Arm" Was Such a Popular Word?

I was reading John Crowley's blog (author of Little, Big, one of my favorite books of all time) and he brought my attention to a new feature on Amazon.com, called "Concordance." I had never really payed attention to this thing before, and I have no idea what its purpose could be, but it goes through an entire book and pulls out the hundred most popular words. I saw that one of Little, Big's most popular words was "arm."

Then, out of curiosity, I "concordanced" (is that a verb? I doubt it) my own book, and found that one of MY hundred words is "arms." One of the other top one hundred words in my book is "Jill." That came as a surprise. I think there must be multiple stories with Jill characters. My one hundred most used words are:
again always another anything arms asked away baby bed better boy call came child children come day door down even eyes face family father feel felt find first get girl give go going good got hair hand head home house jill knew know last left let life little long look looked love man maybe might months mother mrs myself name new next night now old once own parents people place put really right room say see something still take talk tell things think though thought time told took turned two voice want wanted week went white woman words work years

Hmm! Strange to think that in an anthology about adoption, the words "adopt," "adoption" and "adopted" are not on that list. But "Jill?"

I checked my friend Masha's novel, The Distance Between Us, and one of HER popular words is also "arm." Who knew! Is "arm" some kind of weird default word? Or do people use the word "arm" a lot more than I'd realized? I was suddenly on a mission to find a novel that did NOT include that word in its top one hundred. Bingo. Gilead! Predictably, it includes many mentions of "god" and "believe."

In general, I think it is much, much better to support one's own local bookstore than to use Amazon.com, but they do have some interesting and intriguing new features. Amazon Shorts are short-stories available for forty-nine cents, a total deal, in my opinion. I just bought Caroline Leavitt's poignant and beautiful story, "Family Lonely," and it was quite a steal. I think I might submit a few things to Amazon Shorts and see what happens.

I was going to sit in my office and pay bills today, but I found a much more high-tech way to distract myself. Ahh, the 21st century.


Blogger C(h)ristine said...

i just learned about the concordance feature while here at hedgebrook! it is very very cool.

Sunday, June 25, 2006 3:45:00 PM

Blogger Nancy Swett said...

Your most used 100 words reads like a poem.

Sunday, July 02, 2006 7:47:00 PM


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