The Third

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Bill Cool’s maternal grandfather was an avid reader for as long as Bill could recall. So he wasn’t surprised the first time his grandpa asked him to drive him to the library. But he was surprised by the way he thumbed through books before making a selection. So he asked him about it.

“It’s a habit from the old days when books were a rare treat. They were too expensive to make a mistake and buy a book I might not like. The library was fifteen miles west of our farm and the only way there was by horseback. So I devised a method that worked for me.”

“Oh?”

“First I find one that interests me. Then I open the book to the first page and read the third paragraph. If I like it I turn to page 99 and read the third paragraph. If that paragraph passes muster I read the third page of the last chapter.”

“Why is the third so important?”

“It’s not. I could have used the forth, or the second, but three seems to work most of the time.”

Bill read a magazine while he waited. In a half hour Grandpa was ready with six hard backs under his arm, and then they headed back home.

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