24 September 2010

Bookmarks

One of the things I love about taking books out of the library is finding the oddments that other people have used as bookmarks: a cash envelope from a defunct bank, a ticket to some outdoor Shakespeare two years ago, a grocery list.

The other day, the girl came home from her grandparents with a "souvenir" card from her father's birth stuck into the book she was reading. Back in the day, babies stayed in the nursery and Dad could only peer through the glass "during the hours when babies are shown". Incidentally, lest one think that formula marketing in hospitals is new, this 50 year old card was "compliments of Pet Milk Company".

I'm prone to using index cards as bookmarks. For years and years, my mother worked at a non-profit that provided a free audio anthology of magazine writing to blind people. They had an idiosyncratic method of managing the mailing list - or rather, managing the complicated process of ensuring that people were eligible to get onto the mailing list - a method that involved thousands and thousands of index cards on a temporary basis. The net result of all this was that my mother brought home scads and scads of barely used index cards - typed on one side, generally blank on the other, and therefore perfectly serviceable for note taking, bookmarking, list making. She brought home so many of them that there are dozens of shoeboxes of index cards stashed hither and yon in her house, and some in mine too. Sometimes I get a little wistful - there are often little pencil edits on the cards in my mother's handwriting - but then I turn 'em over and write "saver dog", which I found on a card in a book just the other day, a reminder that Miranda had once referred to a St. Bernard as a "saver dog".

What do you use as a bookmark?

23 comments:

de said...

Because my book club took longer than I expected to read the current selection, I decided to give it another chance and take out a book that I had returned unread. No one else had taken out the book during the elapsed time, as I found in it a brochure for Hartford Marathons that I had left there. I tore off a strip which says "Live Well - Feel Good" which I am now using as a book mark.

I have an old Page-a-day "The Far Side" calendar that I keep inside my night stand for such things as brilliant ideas that I'll forget by morning, to-do lists, and book marks.

FreshHell said...

We have a stash of actual bookmarks on top of a record cabinet but I often misplace mine and use a folded piece of note paper, a post-it note, a tissue, whatever I've got on hand. Only rarely am I caught with nothing and have to bend the page down.

Harriet M. Welsch said...

I use bookmarks from the library, business cards, strips of paper torn from the newspaper, whatever I have handy. And if I don't have anything handy, I've been known to fold down the corner of a page. My husband, however, collects things on vacations and uses them. He has a stash of fancy napkins from an establishment near my parents' house at the beach that are his favorites.

Bee said...

I try to use actual bookmarks . . . especially the kind that you get free with book purchase (common at independent bookstores). However, I have been known to use a piece of toilet paper if necessary!

The souvenir card is fascinating. We just watched Mad Men (Season 3) and it was bizarre to see how the men were so cut off from the birthing process. I'm curious to know what book it had been hiding in all these years?

annie said...

I recently found what looked like a young girls' outline for a dear john letter in one of the books we checked out. I can't help but wonder if she followed through?
I tend to use whatever is handy at the time.

mayberry said...

I usually use the printed receipt from the library check-out machine. So boring! The "See your baby" ticket is such a cool little artifact.

kathy a. said...

i mostly fold corners, proving my innate crassness. or if i splurged on a hardback, i'll use an end of the cover to mark my place. my work reading tends to be heavily marked with post-its.

my daughter recently returned a book she borrowed from me. the bookmark was a postcard i'd given her -- a pretty japanese print she liked, found in a small shop when we visited her -- which i returned to her.

Lady M said...

Concert and theatre tickets, so that I get a little pleasant memory jolt each time I pick up a book to read.

The Library Lady said...

Oh, the things we find in returned library books!

Plane tickets. Photos of people we don't recognize(when we do, we save them and get them back to the patron).Letters. Birthday cards. Pamphlets and postcards.

And then there's someone who periodically comes through and puts religious tracts in our mysteries. He/she is obviously not bookmarking them, but at least as bookmarks they have a use :D

We get lots of bookmarks too. We usually save them and recycle them to other patrons.

I use anything to hand--a post-it, a (clean)tissue, scrap paper. Sometimes I even use a real bookmark--JR recently made me a lovely one, complete with her photo on it.

Dora said...

Oh, I'm so glad I'm not the only one who turns down pages. Particularly in paperbacks. I suppose I should stop so as to not set a bad example for my daughter. Geez, all the things I'm gonna have to curb to be a good example. :-O

Elizabeth said...

I use ticket stubs from events I've enjoyed as well as birthday and other greeting cards that I've received. When I stay in nice hotels, I sometime take and use the scenic postcard provided for correspondence. So rare these days (the postcards and stays in nice hotels)!

Kyla said...

If it is my book, I usually leave it open on top of something or fold a page corner. Otherwise, I use whatever is handy.

Bibliomama said...

I love finding things left in books by other people too -- sometimes I track down and read the books that they've read if they leave their library print-out (is that weird?). I love pretty bookmarks too, though, when I can find them. And I used to read on tape for blind people. Until they made me read African Canadian lesbian sex poetry.

flutter said...

I turn down pages, use book jackets and sometimes I actually find my bookmark

yogurt said...

I like finding little snippets in library cards. feels like a clue to some mysterious puzzle.

my favorite bookmark is one I made -- pictures of the kids printed onto a strip of cardboard. every year they get older, I appreciate the bookmark more.

but right now? I don't know where that one is. I lose them (at least for a time) by sticking them in a book I intend to finish but never do.

nonlineargirl said...

Old business cards from prior jobs.

painted maypole said...

i probably own 2 dozen bookmarks, but I use whatever scrap thing I happen to find lying about, which is pretty much never one of my lovely bookmarks.

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

whatever I have near me.

Last time it was a tissue. Un-used. This time anyway...

Laura Lohr | My Beautiful Life said...

I, too, use receipts or small folded pieces of paper. I have also been known to dog-ear the pages to keep me on track.

Patois said...

I love that card, and I love the thought of all those index cards stashed away.

bipolarlawyercook said...

Aside from whatever old thing I've got lying around, including old birthday cards because I feel horrible throwing them out, I like those magnetic bookmarks we sell at my store (especially the ones of the planets and the ones with the monkeys on one side, bananas on the other)--

I also use pencils and pens, because I am ... roll of drums, please-- a marginalia-maker. Yep. I write in my books all the time, even if it's just to underline words and phrases I like or make a checkmark in the margin. But sometimes the comments start flowing and I wonder-- if I ever sell the book or I end up donating it later-- what will someone make of the dribbles out of my brain?

kathy a. said...

what are magnetic bookmarks? i've received a ton of great bookmarks over the years, especially some made by my kids, and i have no idea where to find any of them.

to clear my name a bit, i don't fold the corners of pages in books i borrow.

BLC -- marginal notes are perfect for posties.

bipolarlawyercook said...

@kathy a

Magnetic bookmarks are these bookmarks that fold over the top of a page and have magnets on both sides to stick to each other and hold the pages together. They're usually printed with plasticized cardboard pictures over the magnets, any and all types of designs. My corporate overlord-- ahem-- boss, Barnes & Noble-- sells all flavors, like puppies, butterflies, kittens, planets, coffee cups, flowers, etc.

In re: posties. I completely agree, but that would require me to have them, and I am wicked cheap, so I usually don't. : )