Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Small demons

What do Henry Fonda, Benito Mussolini, T.S. Eliot, William Shakespeare, Raskolnikov, Flash Gordon, Nietzsche, Marx, de Sade, Plato, Theodore Roosevelt, Lot, Washington Irving, Juan Peron, Gandhi, Tarzan and Einstein have in common? To make it easy for you to spot the pattern, what do So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star, Thing of Beauty, Porno, The Right Address, Infinite Jest, Cat's Meow and The Coldest Winter Ever have in common? Alright, alright! One last chance...Mel Brooks, Cuisinart, Central Park, Dragnet, Grey Poupon mustard, New Republic and the Cannes Festival. No, I guess they're not really knowable. (I'd like to meet the person who DOES make the connections!)
The first set of names are people mentioned in Catch-22. The books listed all contain a reference to Calvin Klein. Last are the names, places and things found in Nora Ephron's Heartburn. How do I know this? Small Demons is a project designed to ferret out just those kind of details from thousands of books. At their website you can find 3 books that mention Herbie Hancock's Rockit, 1255 books that mention Cadillac, or all the names, places and "things" found in Hardship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro. Check out the review on the ALA website and for sure, check out this unique website.

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