Recently I have been reading Trash (just to clarify I mean a novel called Trash by Andy Mulligan, not a cheap paperback book I’ve picked out of a bargain bin).
It’s a great read – apparently it is aimed for independent readers (aged 9-12), which seems about right though some of the scenes and images might be a bit disturbing. They are making a movie of it and it could be the next Slumdog Millionaire.
One of the coolest things though is that the plot features a book code, which is an idea he stole from reading a John le Carre novel. A book code works in the following way: the code refers to a specific edition of a book. In order to crack the code, both the coder and the decoder need copies of this book. The code might look like the following:
The first number refers to the page of the book, so in this case, page 124. The second number refers to the line number on that page (so line number 5), and the next number refers to how many letters to the right you need to go (so, letter number 13 is the first letter in the code), you then move to the next line (8) and find the next number (9) along to the right and that becomes your second letter… etc. When you hit a slash (/), it means you have your first word and you move onto the next page of the coding book and start decoding the next word.
Make sense? It takes a bit of work to get used to it but it is really great because unless you know what book to use, it is impossible to crack – your information will never fall into the wrong hands!
For fun, I have coded something below. You will need a copy of Chicken Stu to decode it. If you crack the code below you will learn the nickname that my family gave me when I was a kid. Good luck! Note: that I have ignored chapter headings, and also when you are counting down or across, I have ignored spaces and punctuation. To give you some help and make sure you’re off to the right start, the first letter you should find is the letter ‘n’.