Monday Musing ~ Marking the Spot

Monday Musing this week….

What do you use to mark your place while reading? Do you have a definite preference? Do you use bookmarks, paper, or (gasp) turn down the pages? If you use bookmarks, do you have a favourite one?

Tucked in the slender middle drawer of my desk are an assortment of bookmarks, chosen for the clever photo or tag line (this is where I fell asleep whispered by a sleepy puppy), or a reproduction of a famous painting (Renoir’s Dance at Bougival).  There are gifts from friends (a small gold marker, etched with ancient musical notation) and loved ones (a collection of Japanese scenes delicately rendered on small parchment papers purchased by my son during a layover in the Tokyo airport while en route to Thailand).   The most unusual, perhaps the brocade ribbon with hand stitched beading, a surprise gift from a blogger long disappeared from my cyber orbit.  The oldest –  a cardboard souvenir from the Bronte home, given to me by a high school friend after her senior trip to England in 1974.

I suppose one could consider this a collection, although I generally shy away from the concept of “collection” with regard to anything – except, of course, books themselves.   At any rate, this little collection is at least functional, for I use bookmarks quite religiously to mark my place in a book.   Admitedly,  many of my bookmarks  have been relegated to a life permanently exiled in their drawer, for (also admittedly) I have a fondness for certain types of devices with which to mark my books. 

First, the marker must not be longer than the book, for then it protrudes from both ends and is in danger of damage on every side.  Second, it must be delicate enough to fit tightly within the books spine and allow the book to close neatly and completely.  Third, it must hide discreetly within the back pages while I’m reading, causing no distraction via dangling ribbons or beads.

Thus, my favorite bookmarkers often turn out to be those that are about six inches in length, and the heft of good card stock.  If they have a lovely picture or some lines of poetry on them, all the better.  And I always use “real” bookmarks within my books – not tickets or receipts or business cards (my husband’s favorite).  Bookmarks are needed accessories for my books, much as purses and watches are for my body.  And so I enjoy “accessorising” them accordingly, often purchasing bookmarks as souvenirs or making them as small gifts to tuck inside a greeting card or gift book.

There are those whose interest in bookmarks far exceeds my own, and have taken the study and collection of bookmarks to the nthdegree.  If you doubt, simply peruse the archives of  Bookmarked columns at BiblioBuffet (one of my favorite literary e-zines).

Now tell me, what marks the spot in your books?

~and go here for more musing on marking~

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12 thoughts on “Monday Musing ~ Marking the Spot

  1. I admire people with proper bookmark collections. I tend to fall back on postcards and outdated lists and receipts and whatever’s to hand really. I’d love to have grown up bookmarks but they all seem to disappear into the domestic Bermuda Triangle! 🙂

  2. What marks the spot in my books? Anything and everything: jacket flaps, receipts,letters, postcards, scraps of paper containing random notes…and yes, I do perform the dread corner turn-down (but NEVER on a hardcover). How else to recall that great poem without a name, or the passage that struck with such power? I’ve been known to (gulp) underline, too. Will I be allowed back?

  3. Your description of bookmark requirement is just beautiful. Like you, I do not like anything that is longer than the length of the book. I don’t use bulky and heavy bookmark because they will fall out when I’m turning the pages.

  4. I love bookmarks and would like to have a proper collection, but I don’t. I have found lately though that I actually like using the slim little book darts that not only mark the exact spot you left off reading but also are great to mark passages to go back to when reviewing.

  5. I just use blank paper. Then I can write notes on it, too. I don’t like ribbons or things hanging out of my books, either, although when I see them on display I think they’re so pretty and want to buy them anyways, all those decorative ones.

  6. I love bookmarks. I think they’re beautiful. I never use them! They are never where my book is and I always lose them. I sometimes tear a corner off whatever scrap of paper I can find to use as a bookmark. Then I usually lose that too and just memorize the page. I don’t remember the exact page (I lose the number too), so I thumb through about where I was and find my place. The best way for me to keep track of where I am is to put my book face down and open to the page when I’m done reading. As long as I don’t forget where I put the book down, I’m fine! (Luckily my house is small).

  7. My local library gives them away. I always grab one or two every time I’m there, so I usually have a few floating around the house. They’re cheap, just heavy paper, sometimes with a reading-related saying or picture on them, so they don’t last long, but the price can’t be beat. 😉

  8. My favorite of your 3 requirements on bookmarks: the last you mentioned, where it must remain neatly and invisibly in the back of the book ’til you need it. That one nearly made me laugh out loud, in recognition, and because some of these “writer universalities” are just fun to share. I keep a vast collectin of bookmarks but didn’t realize it ’til you spoke of it. They are in this lovely oblong glass vase that I’ve never used – except to stick all bookmarkes, handmade and otherwise, in there.

    Above all, though, what do I use as a bookmark? A ticket stub to a Tom Waits concert that HM and I attended and had just the most remarkable seats and evening ever.

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