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To Google-an official transitive verb addition to the Merriam Webster
February 15, 2017

While researching last month’s newsletter, I realized that publisher data and actual sales numbers are hard to come by. It made me wonder if there is another way to identify popular literary trends? I decided to look at global Google Search data with the assumption that literary trends should be reflective of what people are genuinely looking for on the internet. Some of the findings surprised me.

This issue of the Book Lover’s Club News discusses observations from a study of Google Trends for keywords related to literature. Google Trends is a web analytics tool that shows the relative popularity of a search term in a region, on a scale of 1 to 100(100 being the highest score for popularity). You can learn more about their measurement process at this link.

To Google- an official transitive verb addition to the Merriam Webster

LiteratureDid you know that ‘Poetry’ is a popular search term in the Middle East with maximum relative searches happening in Iran followed by Afghanistan, Sudan and Libya?

‘Short Story’ as a literary topic enjoys maximum popularity in Turkey followed by Brazil and Mexico. But wait till you jump to any conclusions. I also found ‘wattpad stories’ as a break out keyword in the same category. Curious to know more, I googled it. I realized Wattpad Stories is a resource for cheap literature on soft porn.

The ‘Novel’ as a search term enjoys maximum popularity in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Sudan while ‘Literature’ enjoys maximum popularity in Syria, Iran and Philippines.

Interest over time in the last 5 years had stayed stable for these 4 keywords. ‘Poetry’ has dipped from 86 to 75; ‘Short Story’ has stayed between 37 and 36; interest for the search term ‘Novel’ has gone up from 25 to 32 while ‘Literature’ has gone down from 19 to 17.

Google search keywords data for literary topics across the world is an eye-opener. Relatively speaking, third world and developing countries are searching for ‘literature’ related key terms more than first world countries. This makes me wonder if development and progress have a detrimental effect on the popularity of literature. Scientific progress brings with it attractive toys and tools for engaging the human mind. Perhaps literature, which is a relatively passive past time, loses out to its flashier counterparts like films, music, games and events?

Interestingly, at the birthplace of English Literature, United Kingdom, no author or book name made it to the list of top search terms of 2015. USA had more heartening news. While no author names made it to the top charts, some book searches were popular in 2015. To explore this yourself, click here and google away.

Book Review Circle gossip

Hysterical Literature has gained rapid popularity as a search term in the last 5 years, achieving ‘breakout’ status on Google Trends. On googling it myself, I came upon a website by the same name. According to this site, ‘Hysterical Literature is a video art series by NYC-based photographer and filmmaker Clayton Cubitt. It explores feminism, mind/body dualism, distraction portraiture, and the contrast between culture and sexuality.’ Click here to have a look yourself.

Unfortunately, it is not 'literary' in the traditional sense.

Book Review Circle suggested read:

This month’s recommended book sections has a list of the books that were searched most in USA in November 2016(which is the latest data available). Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Elf on the Shelf, The Turkey: An American Story, Hamilton, A Christmas Carol.

Test your Literary Quotient

See if you know answers to the following:
  1. Can you guess any of the top 5 authors who made it to the top charts of US, November 2016?
  2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a 2001 book published by a famous author. Can you name her?
  3. Hamilton-The Revolution is actually an audiobook for a much applauded musical that received the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Can you name the protagonist of this non-fictional art work?


  1. Gwen Ifill, James Welch, Nostradamus, Steve Pieczenik, Louisa May Alcott
  2. J. K. Rowling
  3. American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton
Do write in to me at with your comments, updates and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you.

Ok. I will leave you to munch on that.

Happy reading till we meet again.


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