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Perhaps everyone but me knows this but I just discovered, for me at least, a better way of separating two pages of paper that are pressed together. Oh sure, I was blowing on them to separate them but I just had two pieces of paper that didn’t want to separate. I would blow on them and a little space would appear but when I tried to put my finger between the leaves they would close back together. I tried a couple of different angles of blowing and realized it was the venturi effect that was pulling them apart. I don’t know why they were so eager to get back together. The one leaf would lift when the wind was moving over a surface which creates a partial vacuum. That type wind movment over a wing of an airplane creates this partial vacuum and that is what holds the airplane up. With these two pieces of paper the venturi effect is what was pulling them apart. I could see a space develop but before I could get my finger into the space it was closing back together. That was so weird I started thinking it a bit and doing a few experiments.

I have a book in my hand with very thin pages which is perfect for these experiments. It is Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett which has 914 pages to the inch or 457 leaves (1564 pages = 4cm). My old 1972 Webster’s 7th New Collegiate at 918 pages to the inch might be good also. Sometimes, with these old reference books I want to get to a specific page and because of some unusual circumstance I will have trouble getting them open. The page I want is in between the two pages of the book that refuse to open. Sometimes, I try the rubbing-squeezing between the thumb and forefinger, or alternatively pressing the thumb into the center of the page and running the thumb up toward the corner and then pulling the forefinger down at the top to catch the edge of the paper. Or, perhaps wetting the finger and placing it at the corner and pulling toward the center of the page. However, I don’t like licking my fingers or getting the book sticky. Another trick I have used sometimes is to bend a batch of pages into a gentle curve which will usually separate the leaves enough to pull out to a particular place of interest. When none of those worked I tried blowing on the edge of the two pages which had the information stuck between them. It didn’t work. That’s what happened little a while ago.

Another approach I just experimented with was to balance the book vertically and blow straight down into the leaves which separates them a little and with a little dexterity I can open to a page near what I wanted but maybe not. The desired page often ended up in between the two leaves. An improvement on this technique was to hold the book vertically between the  thumb and the forefinger with the thumb against the pages near the top open side and blow into the top edge away from the thumb towards the spine. This creates an inflating the book like a balloon effect with some 20 pages becoming separated. Then I did this a second and third time while pushing my  gripping thumb towards the center of the book. That pushed the pages further open and apart and towards the center of the open page. That would work sometimes.  Alternatively, I tried bending a bulk of pages back a little and blowing into the front edge of the right side of the open book about two inches down from the top with my left thumb just a bit lower and the tip of my index finger about an inch back. Sweeping my blower left and right and the pages separated nicely. But still I needed a little finger dexterity to get the right page.

Perhaps the following is yet a better way, and easier to describe. I laid the dictionary flat on the table and opened it to the letter M when looking for a P word. I opened a section of book to about S and with my left hand holding down the center of the right side pages and with the right hand I curled the book to about a one inch radius with the desired page somewhere in between. This separated the pages okay but I still couldn’t see what I was searching for very well.

Well, back to the beginning, I laid the book flat and open to the middle and stroked the page up and out with a gentle pressure with my right thumb toward the upper right corner. I held the thumb pressure and hooked my forefinger gently over the top and lifted the page carefully. That seemed to work as well as anything. However, sometimes the other techniques might just work better.