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The Page 69 Test – what’s on yours?

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | Carry on Writing

Hazel Gaynor

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I often judge a book by its cover (although, clearly, I know that I shouldn’t), but there is another school of thought about how to determine whether a book is for you – or not.

In his book HOW TO READ A NOVEL, John Sutherland suggests that readers should apply the page 69 test.  He argues that, “Dust jackets, blurbs, shoutlines, critics’ commendations (“quote whores”, as they are called in the video/DVD business) all jostle for the browser’s attention.” Instead, he recommends applying the McLuhan (or, page 69, test). “Marshall McLuhan, the guru of The Gutenberg Galaxy(1962), recommends that the browser turn to page 69 of any book and read it. If you like that page, buy the book. It works.”


On that premise, I was invited by Marshal Zeringue from the Campaign for the American Reader to apply the page 69 test to THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME. The results are here. As it turns out, page 69 is very reflective of the entire novel. Phew, to that!

Having done this for THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, it struck me that this could be a very interesting exercise to apply to a WIP – and I’ll certainly have my eye on page 69 in the future.

Why not give it a try? What’s on your page 69?


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