No matter how many bookmarks a person has, they may still resort to using bits of napkins, playing cards, scraps of paper, flaps or pieces of envelopes, bills, ads, or anything they can reach.
Every bookstore has spinning wheels filled with bookmarks. The bookmarks are covered with CATS saying cute things, with characters from LOTR and Star Wars, Zen sayings and flowers. They can have a string with a tassel on the end of it, or a ribbon, chain, even a piece of straw. That’s how you know where the book mark is…by the funny string hanging out of the book. If a person is reading a hardcover book, s/he can use the flap from the book’s cover to hold her/his place, but that’s always risky.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention fancy books that come with a ribbon sewn into the binding. A ribbon that can be moved through the book as we read and is always ready to hold our place.
I have a million bookmarks and usually use the paper one they give me when I buy a book, or a napkin, since I always read while I eat. I’ve used so many different things, but I’ve never bent the edge of a page and I’ve never turned books upside down, while open.
Some bookmarks are special. Picked up on vacations, in a favorite shop, given to us by someone meaningful, or just one that reminds us of something we love. We usually don’t use those, but tuck them safely away, so they don’t get mangled, torn or worn out. I have one from Shakespeare and Company in Paris, that I adore. It’s just a free paper one, but it means a lot to me.
Depending on the number of pages in the books, bookmarks are always being squashed. The fear or resignation they must feel, when we stop reading, has to be quite intense. Imagine being constantly crushed between the covers of a book for your entire life, with brief breaks while being transferred from one book to another. And once in a book, a bookmark can’t even read, since it’s way too dark and it’s flat against two pages. Poor things.
So, next time you’re reading and move your bookmark, take a second to say thanks for all the important work that it does.