This week we talk about reading plays, try the “page 69 test,” and tell you about 2 books we should have put in our Holiday Gift Guide.
The play is the thing
“DM loves Prufrock” asked if we had any favorite plays, classic or modern. Michael has been in a few plays and has read them for that purpose, and so he primarily sees it as a performance media. With the exception of Shakespeare, he has one play on his shelf: Noises Off by Michael Frayn.
Frozen in Time by Mitchell Zuckoff, narrated by the author is Michael’s pick for this week’s Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Week.
Special thanks to Audiobooks.com for sponsoring this episode of Books on the Nightstand.
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Judging a book by page 69 (10:50):
I first heard about the “page 69 test” on the blog of P.S. Duffy, author of The Cartographer of No Man’s Land. So I Googled, and found an article from The Guardian that explains: this is a theory put forth by Marshall McLuhan that says, to find out if you might like a particular book, open the book to page 69 and read the page. So Michael and I each tried it out. To varying degrees, Michael found that reading page 69 made him want to read all of the books he tried it on. For me, the page 69 test definitely gave me a sense of the writing style on its own, and a sense of the mood and pacing of the book.
Michael and I debate the merits of the page 69 test. What do you think?
Some of the books we used for the test:
- A Wizard of Earthsea by Usula K. LeGuin – the first paragraph grabbed Michael right away
- I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
- The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
- City of Bohane by Kevin Barry
- A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
Two books we should have put in the Holiday Gift Guide (25:40)
It never fails — we hit “publish” on the Holiday Gift Guide and then find out about some new books that we wished we had known about earlier. So today, we each chose one book that we wished we had included.
I chose Downton Tabby, A Parody by Chris Kelly. I’m not a cat person, but I found this “story of England’s first family of cats and their servants — their lives, loves, births, deaths, marriages, affairs, prides, prejudices, senses, sensibilities, mills, flosses, cakes, ales, high teas and funfairs, car accidents, scandals, bouts of Spanish influenza, and war with Germany” to be great fun. A must for any Downton Abbey fan, and who can resist that cover?