Fun With Google Search Auto-Complete: Author Edition

Amanda Nelson

Staff Writer

Amanda Nelson is an Executive Director of Book Riot. She lives in Richmond, VA.

If you haven’t seen the horror and ickiness that is the UN Women’s Google auto-complete sexism ads, let me give you a peek:


Auto-complete is the function in the Google search bar wherein it fills in the rest of what it thinks you’re looking for. The results can reveal some sobering truths about our society, like the one above about what “women should” do or be. I thought it would be interesting to turn this on its head a bit and apply it to some well-known authors and see what the world has to say (and hopefully what they have to say is funny or amusing and not just depressing). I used an incognito search in Chrome to minimize any influence my past searches might have on the results:

anne lamott

charles dickens

cs lewis

ernest hemingway

jk rowling

jonathan franzen

jrr tolkien

salman rushdie

sylvia plath

toni morrison

virginia woolf

zadie smith

I guess the takeaways here are that all famous authors are actually overrated, many are racist, and a surprising amount are also douchebags. We’re concerned about who Zadie Smith is married to, more than anything else, and we’re concerned more about tales of Sylvia Plath’s mental health or hotness than we are about any of her work. C.S. Lewis was both an athiest and a Catholic (he was neither, but that would be a neat trick), and J.K. Rowling is obviously involved in witchcraft.

Maybe I should change the title of this post to “Slightly Worrisome Stuff With Google Search Auto-Complete.”


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