books, on your marks!

Hopefully your days of creasing the top corner of a page as a reminder of where you’ve left your book before nodding off or being pulled away for something less fun are over. I admit, I still impart dog ears (or in Dutch ezelsoortjes – donkeys’ ears) on my house & garden magazines, occasionally only, not so much to remember where I left, but to remember something that caught my attention: a renovation project, a website, an interior design idea. For ‘proper’ books I use bookmarks – bladwijzers or boekenleggers in Dutch.

Wikipedia explains:    

‘A bookmark is a thin marking tool, commonly made of cardleather, or fabric, used to keep track of a reader’s progress in a book and allow the reader to easily return to where the previous reading session ended. Alternate materials for bookmarks are papermetals like silver and brass, silkwoodcord (sewing), and plastic. Some books may have one or more bookmarks made of woven ribbon sewn into the binding. Other bookmarks incorporate a page-flap that enables them to be clipped on a page.’

What is missing in Wikipedia’s blurb is that not all bookmarks are made for all books. In fact, I take great care in selecting a bookmark; it needs to be ‘just right’ with the book I am reading. It’s not hard science, it’s more a gut feeling. What bookmark fits the genre of this book, the content of that book, the book cover? Or do I sense a nexus between the book’s story and a particular bookmark? The happy heart book marker with the red checkered ribbon does not belong between the pages of a crime story. The paperclip with the crocheted flower is a trusted travel companion for paperbacks. Made by the mother of Jo, our friend in Anchorage, Alaska, it’s the perfect lightweight, unobtrusive and impossible to lose bookmark while underway.

From my BFF
The Dutch collection

From Alaska and Japan

Bookmarks easily find a place in the suitcase of other travellers. Over the years I have been delighted by bookmarks brought back from Singapore, The Netherlands, Japan and overseas museums. In an exquisite paper shop in Japan I bought beautifully folded kimono paper bookmarks. Recalling that I gave my library colleagues one, it makes me wonder where I left mine… Did I leave it in a book? Did I really not finish a book???

I cannot recall buying a bookmark in the last twenty years or so, most bookmarks have been a gift. My bookmark box is a treasure and memory cove.

The New Zealand collection

I love the metal clips with Māori designs; beautiful, different, functional. I gaze at the everchanging picture of the huskies. I reminisce while using bookmarks from my BFF.

Huskies in 2D

The latest edition was a birthday gift from her to me. Much thought has gone into this purchase: this metal bookmark is sturdy, it has a magnifying glass that I can use to explore my stamp collection (another tiny side hobby of mine) or to read small print when the light is not bright. It has a different ruler on each side and doesn’t its Victorian-like pattern look gorgeous?

Let the reading begin.