I mention this Page 69 Test quite often, on here and to people in general who are dithering about buying a novel. Back in 2006 (!) I read this article in The Guardian, the first in a series – and a book – about ‘how to read a novel’ by John Sutherland:
The opening paragraph reads “High-street shops are now so stuffed with books that it is easy to feel overwhelmed…”. Just a bit, yes. Also libraries – thoguh why I dither in those is beyond me, it’ not like I’m paying for the book. If I hate it I can just take it back.
Sutherland simply says ‘it works’. Charlotte Stretch gave the method a test in 2008, which you can read here, she concluded that it doesn’t always work:
I have found however that its usually pretty reliable, though I would also go by word of mouth and recommedation of other bookish folk. By which I mean the reading public, rather than the cover blurb, which you can access a lot of on Twitter (it’s why I can’t quite tear myself away despite the often awful place it can be!).