The page 69 test
I’ve been asked to contribute to a variety of book blogs and websites over the years but, without doubt, the most interesting request came this week from a blogger in the U.S. Marshal Zeringue – a writer and producer for stage and screen, and literary blogger extraordinaire – invited me to subject Never Ending to the Page 69 Test on his site, Campaign for the American Reader.
The blog, which aims to encourage and inspire more people to read more books, has a regular post where writers put their latest novel to this most unusual of tests. The idea is that, when browsing a book to decide whether or not to buy it, the prospective reader should turn to page 69. If they like what they find there, they should buy the book. The test, also known as the McLuhan Test, was originally devised by the writer Marshall McLuhan and championed more recently by John Sutherland in How to Read a Novel: A User’s Guide. So, I uploaded p69 from the American edition of Never Ending along with a commentary explaining how the events on that page fit into the novel. I just hope the page goes down well with prospective readers! I haven’t applied the test to any other books, as yet, but I might just give it a go next time I’m in a bookshop.
Click here to read my blog post and the text from p69.