When Ray Bradbury was asked to contribute his favourite word for the 1995 book The Logophile’s Orgy, he chose cinnamon: “The word cinnamon derives, I suppose, from visiting my grandma’s pantry when I was a kid. I loved to read the labels on spice boxes; curries from far places in India and cinnamons from across the world.” If you count the millions of words Bradbury wrote over the course of all his novels, the data shows that this was no spur-of-the-moment answer: he did use the word at an unusually high rate. In fact, he used it more frequently than Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, William Faulkner, F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Vladimir Nabokov, JK Rowling, Salman Rushdie, John Steinbeck and Edith Wharton combined. Beyond cinnamon, his grandma’s pantry had a lasting effect on the Fahrenheit 451 author. Bradbury also used other spice words such as vanilla, spearmint, licorice and nutmeg at a higher rate than the authors above combined. And he peppered in words such as curry, onion and lemon at a rate at least three times what is commonly found. The tastes and smells of the spice cabinet pervade his writing. For my book Nabokov’s Favourite Word Is […]