Master of Allusion
A new way to search your favorite books
If you've ever found yourself lost in the world of Wikipedia, jumping from the link "Kate Middleton" to an article about "Queen Consorts" to a list of Hawaiian royals, then you know how intoxicating it is to hop from thought to thought online.
Now you can extend that concept to the books you read, thanks to free Web database Small Demons. This new and buzzy start-up has an awfully ambitious goal: cataloging and linking all the cultural allusions inside every book ever.
Users begin by searching by book--just type in a title--to find all the things (books, people, places, etc.) it references. For instance, The Help has mentions of Invisible Man, Patsy Cline, Medgar Evers and more. You can then click on each reference to learn more about it.
Alternately, you can browse by subject--pinot noir, Mexico, the Rolling Stones--to see which books mention your favorite things.
And of course, you're encouraged to just click around. High Fidelity takes us to Frank Sinatra, which leads to Don DeLillo, which brings us to the haunting artwork of Pieter Bruegel.
In other words, it's a great method for discovering both new books and new cultural obsessions.
Though the site is currently far from comprehensive, the "Storyverse" is growing daily.