Bookmark: n. to mark the reader's place

Jun 29, 2012

My very first bookmark was pink with a teddy bear and I think a quote about friendship on it. It had a long, feathery pink tassel. I used it religiously, and it made me feel like an authentic reader. (EDIT: a real reader...I don't think I knew the word "authentic" then).

From there followed a long string of bookmarks, some homemade, some picked up for free, some received as gifts. My favorite was made of a bendy plastic. It was clear but opaque and was one of those optical illusions where it looks like the picture is jumping off of the surface. In this case, the "picture" was just a bunch of bumps, so it looked like the bookmark had a soft and squishy texture when in fact it was hard and smooth. I think it was a prize from the summer reading program.

After I hit about age 12, I stopped using bookmarks. I don't know if it was because I always lost them (I did) or because my mom never used one (she didn't) or because I was perfectly able to remember my place (I was...sometimes). I developed the bad habit of "tenting"...leaving the book open but face down.

I took a reading hiatus in college; that is, I did plenty of academic reading but almost no reading for pleasure. Occasionally, that would cross over, as when I read a biography about Clara was research for a paper, but I quite enjoyed it. I don't recall anything about my bookmark habits in college. Probably because they were unremarkable.

Anyway, this is getting boring...there's only so much about bookmarks that's worth discussing. The whole point of this is that now, I really do prefer to use a bookmark. I don't like flipping through pages trying to find my spot when time is precious, and I only have a minute to read as it is.

My preferred bookmark of choice is...wait for it...any old scrap of paper. Not only is it thin and lightweight so it fits between the pages and doesn't damage the spine (okay, I'm being ridiculous), but it is perfect for marking sections that I want to return to. When I read something I want to remember, I rip off a small corner, and stick it between the pages. If I have a pen handy, I jot down a quick note to help jog my memory when I come back to it.

This works well, and if I misplace it, I just get another piece of scrap paper, and I'm back in business again. Easy as that.

I'd love to hear about your own bookmarking practices. Do you take notes while reading? Almost everything I read is borrowed from the library, so I'm not allowed to write in the margins. Please share all your tips and tricks on this vastly important subject. :-)


  1. This sounds exactly like me, except that I'm not to the "any old scrap of paper" stage. I'm currently taking my reading hiatus. I am reading a little for fun this summer, but it's not quite the same as before I was in college.

  2. Same here except I usually use a tissue because I don't like it when the paper causes some of the pages to stick out

  3. Oh, I like to use bookmarks. The problem is I almost always lose them or I fall asleep when reading and they never make it into the book. So, of course I'm always hunting for my place in the book.

  4. Lately I've been using the library receipts - you know, that tell you what books you have out and when they're due - as bookmarks. They're the perfect size for taking notes on the back! Then I have a list of ideas and quotes I want to use when writing my blog posts after I finish. And like you, I like random small scraps of paper. I usually leave them in the book so that next time, I don't have to hunt for a new bookmark.

  5. When I use a book-mark (I don't always) I use the post-it-notes tab thingies- I don't know their official name. I started this practice when I was working on the ambulance and would suddenly be required to pause in my reading. It made it easier to mark the exact sentence I stopped on and the book mark never fell out. I've also been known to use papers that previous library patrons have left behind such as check-out slips and old plane tickets.

    Marginalia- I wish I could cultivate this practice since I'm always going back and looking for that one place it said such and such. The problem is I'm also afraid my scribblings will seem silly or stupid to someone I've loaned my book to and they'll think I'm an idiot. Can't win.

  6. For nostalgic reasons, I prefer pretty ribbons. I like that their flat and hard to lose my place. But I too keep paper at hand. Usually pressed between the cover and front page. Stickies are the best for note taking.


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