Many, many years ago, a Professor of Literature advised our class,
“Read page 67 of any book you plan to invest your time and money on”
Why you may ask?
Well this little tidbit of advice has saved me loads of time and money!
I can tell you in one minute if I am interested in any book!
By the time the author has written 67 pages of the book, their true voice emerges.
In just one paragraph, you get a feel for the book.
Can you see yourself identifying with the Authors world view and writing style?
Reading whichever page you choose to read, entirely up to you; is not about the content of the book, it’s about the spirit of the book and your reaction to that spirit.
Persuasion by Jane Austen pg 67
On one other question which perhaps her utmost wisdom might not have prevented, she was soon spared all suspense; for after Miss Musgroves had returned their visit at the Cottage, she had this spontaneous information from Mary: “Captain Wentworth is not very gallant by you Anne, though he was attentive to me. Henrietta asked him what he thought of you, when they went away; and he said, “You were so altered he should not have known you again.” Mary had no feelings to make her respect her sister’s in a common way; but she was perfectly unsuspicious of being inflicting any particular wound.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte pg 67
How we longed for the light and heat of a blazing fire when we got back! But to the little ones at least this was denied: each hearth in the schoolroom was immediately surrounded by a double row of great girls, and behind them the younger children crouched in groups, wrapping their starved arms in their pinafores.
Possession by A.S. Byatt pg 67
And he laid before the tailor three things. The first was a little purse of soft leather, which clinked a little as he put it down. The second was a cooking pot, black outside, polished and gleaming inside, solid and commodious. And the third was a little glass key, wrought into fantastic fragile shape, and glittering with all the colours of the rainbow. And the tailor looked back at the watching animals for advice, and they all looked benignly back.
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighierei pg 67
Perceiving us descend, they all stood still; and from the band three came forth with bows and javelins chosen first. And one of them cried from afar: “To what torment come ye, ye that descend the coast? Tell from thence: if not draw the bow.” My master said: “Our answer we will make to Chiron, there near at hand; unhappy thy will was always thus rash.”
None of these paragraphs tell anything useful about the books they are from, rather they show a little of the flavour of the writing.
If you want an outline of what the book is about; refer to the dust-cover or the back cover.
So next time you are browsing for a book, choose a page and read the first paragraph.
Best advice ever!