Monday, 20 September 2010


You are probably all familiar with the quandary of being in a bookshop and having to select, according to time and budget, which new books or authors to take home. I must confess to being a fairly ruthless exponent of the 'first sentence' method, and have probably passed over many a dazzling literary experience because of some perceived deficiency in the opening words of a novel (I don't apply the same test to non-fiction).

Today I learnt that Ford Madox Ford, (author of The Good Soldier, recently adapted for the stage by Julian Mitchell, whose The Undiscovered Country is published by Capuchin) developed the 'page 99' rule thus:
Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.
See this blog for more details and the results of various books being judged in this way.

Do please post comments with your results.


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