The Mystery of the Blank Page
You know when you’re nearing the end of a really good book and you think you have lots left to read, only to discover a heap of blank pages instead? Yeah, we’ve all been mercilessly tricked by the Flyleaves (code name for blank pages) at one time or another. But what happened? Did the author run out of things to say? Was it a printing error—do you go in search of the full ending to the book? No, and here's why:
So, here's a short explanation: go grab your Deathly Hallows copy (or any hardback). Now look at the top of the spine—you see how the pages are grouped in little sections? Each section has the same number of pages. So, if the last section has less printed pages, blank ones are added to even it out.
A slightly more in-depth explanation involves the way books are printed. The ever-present “they” (meaning book publishers) use really big pieces of paper, printed with many pages, which get folded so that the pages are in order. Then, they are bound together to form a book. For most books, there are usually 8, 16 or 32 pages printed on such a paper, and they form a section. Once the book is put together, the pages are trimmed—which is why, if you’ve ever stumbled on an old book that didn’t have a section properly cut, you had to tear it to read what was inside.
Now the reason there are those extra pages—and not always the same number—is that the sections need to have the same number of pages in them. Most books don't fit into that number exactly, and the spares are put front and back. However, if you actually count the number of pages in the book, you will most likely find it is divisible by 8, 16 or 32.
Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, one question remains: what do you do with blank pages? Well, the possibilities are endless. But here are some things you could try:
- Write your own ending to the book. Maybe you didn’t like the way the story ended. Maybe there's still some stuff you feel was left unsaid—this is your chance! Write what you want to have happened. Then put it away. It will be fun/make you realize you do need a shrink when you come back to it in the future.
- Write a dedication. If you’re going to give the book as a present, write something nice inside. Then you don’t have to buy a birthday card. And if your friend is a book-lover, he’ll treasure it for ever (as incorrect a concept as that is).
- Write down secret things. Like a secret message to a friend or to you from the future. Make up a secret code; write in several books and use the alphabetical order of the authors’ names to put the secret message together. Or use the same system for a secret journal. If you use the word “secret” a lot it will make it that much more special.
- Write words you need to look-up. Especially if it’s something like “acataleptic” (the symbol of blah in blablah’s poem is acataleptic), “resipiscent” (finally finishing Moby Dick has left me feeling resipiscent). And don’t tell me you haven’t used “meretricious” to describe that annoying girl in your class.
- Write a letter…To one of your friends. Say something interesting about the book/ something that happened to you while you were reading it. Then give the book to that friend and have him do the same (writing the letter to a different person). When you get it back, you’ll get to see your book’s journey, how it was received by different people, and it also makes a pretty awesome time-capsule.
What do you do with blank pages?
Post by tu-whoo!