Recently, in doing some online research on a book I was reading, I discovered a phenomenon called “the page 69 test.”
You know how you walk into a bookstore or a library, and you look at these shelves upon shelves of books you’ve never read, books you’ve never even heard of, and you wonder how you will choose a good book? You pick up one with an interesting cover, read the back or the inside cover, maybe flip to the first page, or (gasp!) the last page, to see if you’ll like it.
Well, according to Marshall McLuhan, as noted by John Sutherland in How to Read a Novel: a User’s Guide, you should flip to page 69 and read it. I’m not sure why that page, specifically, but evidently there’s a bunch of people who do this.
You can see the test series here, or try it yourself. I looked at page 69 of some of my favorite books, and I have to say, they didn’t really jump out at me. But the next time I’m confronted with shelves and shelves of unknown books, I will definitely try this.