The Page 69 Test (with Trigger Warning)

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Face Value coverBet you’ve not heard of the Page 69 Test. Neither had I.

A few days ago I wrote a post about a truly fun website for readers and writers entitled “Campaign for the American Reader” and run by Marshal Zeringue. Marshal had asked me to tell his readers what I was reading at the moment, and I did.

But then Marshal challenged me to take his Page 69 Test for my newest novel, Face Value. While I’m not sure of the origins of that particular test, it’s probably a first cousin to the Page 99 Test, which can be traced back to a quote from Ford Madox Ford: “Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.” The Guardian, however, traces the roots to Marshall McLuhan, who supposedly suggested that if you are trying to decide whether to read a particular book you should open it to page 69, read that page, and if you like it, read the rest of the book. From Marshall to Marshal. Nice.

Marshall McLuhan

Marshall McLuhan

As I explain–and with Marshal’s permission–I turned the Page 69 Test on its head and instead took the Page 96 Test.  But first: a trigger warning for the faint of heart. There is a word that starts with a “C,” ends in a “K.” will not be found in the New York Times, but does appear twice on page 96 of Face Value. Twice. Ready? Here are the results of my Page 69 Test.

To see the results for other authors who took the Page 69 Test, click here.

“Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.”

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