This book does have a lot of quotations to keep thinking about, and using this as a clue, we once again went through all the reviews by distant reading and figured out which article or text was quoted the most.

Who exactly was the conversation with?

In the sections where the frequency of quotations exceeds 200, all of them come from dialog rather than from the 55 city stories. They are the opening dialog of Chapter 2, the opening dialog of Chapter 3, and the last dialog of the entire book.

These three sentences are quoted most frequently, They convey the author's thoughts to the reader more directly than obscure metaphors, while also revealing to some extent the principle of the book. However, when we consider it from another angle, Marco Polo may be Calvino, and this Khan is the reader. Then the nine dialogues are in fact the author's conversations with the inhabitants of that era. And the fact that the book is regarded as a classic to this day is a reflection of the fact that Calvino really did touch on the things that have been overlooked behind the urban life of our time.

"There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what" -Dialog 9.2

"Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else." -Dialog 3.1

"Arriving at each new city, the traveller finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places." -Dialog 2.1

"Polo said. 'Perhaps I am afraid of losing Venice all at once, if I speak of it. Or perhaps, speaking of other cities, I have already lost it, little by little.'" -Dialog 6.1

"Perhaps, Kublai thought, the empire is nothing but a zodiac of the mind's phantasms. 'On the day when I know all the emblems,' he asked Marco, 'shall I be able to possess my empire, at last?' And the Venetian answered: 'Sire, do not believe it. On that day you will be an emblem among emblems." -Dialog 1.2


Is COVID-19 lead a reading wave?

In the database, the time when a user posts a comment is also recorded. A brief exploration revealed some unexpected takeaways. The first is that comments began to increase paradoxically in March 2020, which may be related to the closure of the city due to the Shinkan epidemic. Based on the distribution of the data over these 18 years, there were more reviews posted in January, December, and July, and relatively low in the other months, which may be closely related to the two holidays in the summer and fall. However,in March 2020, the book saw an anomalous uptick in reviews, which, in conjunction with the time period, can be hypothesized that the city closure may have made it possible for more people to have time to read it.

If on a midnight a reader

The time of day significantly impacts when reviews are posted. Interestingly, the data suggests that reviewers are more active during the night. After 6 am, there is a steady decrease in the number of reviews posted, bottoming out at 2 pm. There's a slight bump at 11 am, possibly indicating a break time when people might post reviews. Following the lull in the early afternoon, the number of reviews gradually starts to increase, with a more pronounced rise from 8 pm. The peak occurs at 11 pm, suggesting that many reviewers prefer to post their thoughts late in the evening, potentially after finishing their daily activities. This activity level remains relatively high throughout the night until it drops dramatically at 6 am, possibly when most people are going to sleep or starting their day with other activities. This pattern could indicate that people prefer to read and review during their downtime in the evening and night. It may also reflect the habits of certain demographics, such as students or working professionals, who have more free time in the evening.