The Page 69 Test

I recently stumbled on this idea when reading the blog of one of my favorite authors (Gail Carriger).  Essentially:

Marshall McLuhan, the guru of The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962), recommends that the browser turn to page 69 of any book and read it. If you like that page, buy the book. It works. Rule One, then: browse powerfully and read page 69.

So, of course, I wanted to apply this to (for now), one of my works.  Direct from the manuscript (the Kindle version might be different) of Life After Joe, I present page 69:

Anniversary

Days without Joe: 84

Today is another one of “those days.” Today would’ve been our third wedding anniversary. Joe wasn’t always the most romantic individual (he had a penchant for being romantic when the mood struck him—not necessarily when it was on a specific day), but for the two years we were able to celebrate together, he followed the suggestions for both “traditional” and “modern” gifts. The first year’s presents being money (paper) and a funky clock I had been eyeing online. Not to be outdone, for the second year, he got me lovely Egyptian cotton towels I had coveted for ages and, for the china, a very quirky Jonathan Adler set that was, again, something I loved but would never actually buy for myself. I don’t think Joe spoiled me per se—he just used silly excuses like anniversaries and holidays to buy me things.

Unable to help myself, I looked online at our wedding pictures. All the little moments captured, all the people who joined and stood by us. How happy we were that day. Although I’m sniffling and will probably dehydrate myself from tears, I think I’m going to focus on the positive by sharing some of the details from the day.

First of all, for all you brides out there, we debated nearly every place we’d ever lived across this great country as possible venues for our wedding. We thought about going back to Chicago; we thought about a destination wedding, about getting married on a boat, about eloping to city hall, before we decided on the Ritz-Carlton in Charlottesville.

I remember waking up that morning of our wedding and thinking, “I’m the luckiest woman alive.” All the planning and dieting and exercising and people from out of town didn’t matter. My phone buzzed, and I looked over to see Joe had sent a text. It read You can still back out.

Not likely. What about you? Got an exit strategy? had been my response.

We’d had a running joke that one of us was going to stand the other one up or that someone would show up and wreck the wedding. However, all that silliness fell away when I walked down the aisle. I know it sounds clichéd, but the way Joe looked at me, it took my breath away. It really did. And when I reached him, I saw so much joy and love reflected back at me, I was almost overwhelmed.

Sure, there had been some minor disasters—a brief rainstorm almost threatened our pictures, some sort of dress emergency with one of our mothers (I can’t remember), Stephen indulging a little too much before the speeches and giving a bit of a drunken ramble when it came to his…

***

How do you determine what books to read?  Word of mouth?  Favorite authors?  Cool cover?  Good reviews?

 

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