I found this fun article in the Guardian, and it made me think about bookmarks. I have loads of them. Somewhere. These few on your right, I found within arm´s reach. Three are from the University bookstore at Cambridge, an example of those free paper marks that also carry information about opening hours, etc. You can get them at our local library as well. And the metal mark is also an advertising trinket from a publisher of school books.

For a while, I used a fringed leather bookmark, a souvenir someone gave me from somewhere. You know which type I mean, they sell them everywhere. It was actually rather functional, it created enough friction against the paper to stay put and not slide out of the book. But I suppose it must have eventually, because I have no idea where it is now.

Remember those bookmarks that we collected as children? Did anyone actually ever use them as bookmarks? I can´t remember doing that, or seing anyone else doing it. My mother still collects them, I think, in albums. We used to fold the pages of comic papers, like Donald Duck & Co, and fill each fold with marks. Then another collector would "dip" one of her marks in the book, and whichever mark was under that particular page would be traded for hers. I say her, because boys didn´t collect bookmarks, it was strictly a girl thing.

This is what it looks like on my bedside table most of the time. I know some book lovers think it´s bloody murder to do this to books, but I don´t really care. Most books get read once. Perhaps twice. Library books are sturdily bound. They are not that fragile.

What I am a bit sensitive about, though, is when other readers make permanent marks in the books themselves, like notes scribbled in the margins, underlinings, and such. I really puts me off my reading rhythm, and I suspect that it forces me into someone else´s perspective, when I´d rather have my own. And if I re-read a book from my own shelf, underlinings and notes from a previous reading will, I think, prevent me from discovering that book anew. People who read with pens in their hands should be banned from public libraries. I do know, however, that not everyone agrees with me on this. Perhaps they are less impressionable. I think the need to scribble while reading might be why some people are so negative towards e-books.

If I´m studying, I will read with a mico cassette recorder in my hand. I have a dication machine from the 80´s that I still use, as I learned to when I worked as a secretary. In the Dark Ages. My mother-in-law´s book hadn´t been written without it.

And what about dog´s ears? Are they abominations, or what? I´m actually not that bothered, though I don´t do them myself. Bottom line, I think it´s the words that matters, the story, the text.


  1. that guardian article was interesting. i'll have to post a picture of some of my bookmarks. i use some that were intended for that purpose, but i also use ticket stubs and ribbons and old post cards. i even have a few pieces of foreign paper money i found in a used book i bought, and i use those as well.

    i had a fringed leather bookmark once, and it discolored the pages of a book. i no longer have that one. i've never heard of collecting and trading bookmarks, but it sounds like fun.

    i never place books upside down like that and always try to be careful of the bindings, and i _never_ dog-ear a book.

    i do mark in my own books sometimes (lightly in pencil) to remember parts i want to mention when i write about them. oh, and i can't resist correcting typos. i always make a small notation in the front somewhere of the month and year i read it. i would never write in a book not my own. other people's scribbles don't distract me; in fact, sometimes they point out things i hadn't noticed.

    bookmarks! fun topic :)

    1. Really, you never collected bookmarks? Perhaps it´s a European thing. It´s been done since the 19th Century, some of the old ones are quite pricey.

    2. i collected rocks. i did accumulate bookmarks through the years but never traded or actively collected. i googled it, and it looks like collecting them is popular, so it's probably just that i missed the boat on that hobby. that's a shame, because i'd have enjoyed that back in the day.