Bookmarks: A Personal History

I don’t really like using bookmarks. I never have that I can remember. The commercial ones you buy in Barnes & Noble or elsewhere always seem too bulky for me, not to mention they fall apart eventually, and anyway I never want to deal with the tassels. Same goes for metal ones, or strings: I’m super protective of my books and I feel like they’ll damage it if they’re too thick.

And, of course, I never could bring myself to dog-ear a page. That would just be defacing the book, and I could never stand that.

So for most of my childhood I never used any kind of marker. The strange thing was I never kept track of page numbers, either. I would just close the book, and when I wanted to pick it up again, I would flip through until I found where I had left off. It’s clear to me now that this was perhaps the least efficient method I could have used, but it worked for me and so that was what I did.

Then last year (I think it was last year, anyway) I came across the rather clever idea of using index cards. I had tons of extras lying in my room from making flashcards. They were thin, disposable, and reasonably durable to boot. And I had lots of others if I did lose or rip one.

So that’s what I use today. I realize this isn’t much of a post, but I’m not feeling well and also I seem to have run out of things to talk about regarding books. Maybe one of these days I’ll talk about Sherlock or something; heaven knows I can fangirl about that for an indefinite amount of time.

I’d like to hear some feedback from you lovely readers, though (if you can forgive me for largely neglecting you these past few months): what sort of bookmarks do you prefer? Do you have a favorite one? Or have you found an alternative, like me?

No pictures on this post, but I’m sure my fine readers can do without a stock photo of some index cards.

Happy reading.

P.S. A short side note about something I find extremely interesting. Some of you may be aware of the free iTunes app called iTunes U. Essentially, you can download free recordings of actual college lectures on a vast assortment of subjects. Recently I’ve been listening to a class called History of Children’s Literature from La Trobe University in Australia. It’s a really great course that covers everything from Peter Pan to folk tales, and I really recommend that you give it a try. It’s taught me a lot about the nature of fairy tales (I haven’t gotten through the whole course yet), and I’m sure it has a lot to say about more contemporary literature as well.

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7 thoughts on “Bookmarks: A Personal History

  1. Ohh, sorry to hear you haven’t been feeling well, have you been ill or is it just life in general taking it’s toll?

    This is an intersting idea for a post, I have gone though so many bookmarks in my time, all shapes and sizes. Like you I was livid if they damanged my book. At first I started with the average cardboard ones but I found that they always fell out and sometimes damaged the book. So then I tried ones with tassels – also a no go, I have a cat and she bats the tassle taking the whole bookmark with her so I would lose my page. Then several people gave me metal ones which although they looked incredibly pretty, were a right pain! They seriously damaged the pages so I soon stopped using them. Then one day I found my salvation – magnetic bookmarks and let me tell you, I’ve never looked back. They cling respectfully to the page without damaging, and you don’t have to worry about them falling out because the magnets make it cling tightly to the page. They’re awesome. I’ve never tried index cards…interesting solution!

    I’ve never heard of iTunes U it sounds great, how exactly does it work?

    • You’ve just given me a great idea for a post! Thank you!
      As for the illness, I was very much out of sorts yesterday. I was running a fever and spent most of the day in bed. Today, however, I’m feeling much more like myself, so all is well.
      I’ve never even attempted metal bookmarks; it makes me shudder inwardly just looking at them. 🙂 But I’m glad you’ve found your solution in magnetic ones.
      iTunes U is a free app that you can get in the iTunes Store, and it essentially acts as another iTunes just for education. Once it’s on your device you can shop through the app’s own “store” of courses. Each class has a list of the lectures given throughout the course. You can download the ones you want or set up an automatic subscription to it, and the course then shows up in your app’s library. All the ones I’ve seen have been free. The format is mostly audio (which can be a bit of trouble if the professor is fond of the blackboard, or if the students are actively engaged in conversation- the only mic is on the professor), but there are some that have video as well, and some courses also have downloadable handouts which you can view on your iPod (or what-have-you) as you follow along with the lecture. Even with the minor issues, it’s a pretty good deal to get free college courses on the subject of your choice.

      • Oooh I did? Cool, uhh, what was my idea exctly? Lol. But no problem!

        Ohhh no that sounds terrible, glad to hear your feeling a little better now though. 🙂

        Ohhh right that sounds really good, I may have to look into getting it. I don’t own anything that can use apps at the moment though *sigh* I’m so behind current technology.

  2. Really? I never liked bookmarks either, but I dog-eared my books; I own them, and it’s really just a sign of love. I mostly read on my Kindle now, so I don’t have that problem!

    I knit, so I’ve been thinking of giving knit bookmarks as gifts. Maybe I’ll have to make a test one…

    • The Kindle is great for keeping your page, but the problem I have with it is that not all books have a table of contents, so there’s really no way to get to a specific spot again unless you marked it your first time through.

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