But really, the publication date (according to Amazon) is right around the corner. And so maybe it's fortuitous that, while I was supposed to be working on revising my paper, I stumbled upon a link (over at Historiann's place) to "the page 99 test" blog. I'd never heard of this before, but according to the blog owner, English novelist Ford Maddox Ford once said: ""Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you."
So for fun, I decided to apply this to my own book's page proofs. Here's what I found on this page:
- A rather interesting subtopic, and at least one intriguing (to me) question posed
- Good weaving together of primary and secondary sources
- An awareness of how this subtopic might play out in regions other than the one I'm studying/awareness of the broader scholarly field
- generally good writing
- where original analysis appears, it's generally good and subtle
- no real link to the huge big argument of the book
- overuse of scare quotes
- most of this page is engaging with broader literature, so there's less of my work on display here
On the whole, if someone started with this page, do I think they'd want to read more of the book? You betcha. So I guess that's a success.