The bookmark

Bookmarks are very individual. Some people like to buy proper bookmarks, expensive things made of handtooled leather, or laminated with clever sayings about reading and literature. Children’s handmade efforts can often be found inside parents’ and grandparents’ books. Some people turn over corners or mutilate the pages. I like to use whatever comes to hand: till receipts, train tickets, fliers, empty seed packets.

My gardening books are full of these oddities, usually with a gardening theme:





WP_20151011_008Sometimes there is no obvious connection, including an out of date library card, old bus ticket and a till receipt from a family outing:WP_20151011_005

My father had the same bookmarking habits.  I started reading some of his old detective novels after a recent clear out. He had, what seemed to me, a bizarre taste for crime novels. But I’m beginning to see the attraction. I’ve just finished one. It was a novel of humanity and compassion, with very little gore or attention to forensic detail, a book about human behaviour rather than a racing plot. I put it down with a sigh, wishing I could discuss it with him.Then I wondered if he had even finished it. There was a bookmark stuck about half way through, a loyalty card for a local coffee shop, also unfinished.

But maybe he did finish the novel and just left the bookmark behind.  My bookmarks don’t usually mark a particular page, they just sit there for future use.  I often leave them in the book and find them years later, carrying memories, like this one.

This is about personal memories, there’s lots more on what you can find in second hand books here

6 thoughts on “The bookmark

  1. I use postcards as bookmarks and also leave them in the book for future readers. It was touching to hear about finding your Dad’s bookmark. As you say, the smallest things can be very personal.

  2. I have loads of ‘official’ bookmarks but rarely seem to have one to hand when I need it. Thus, I have, like you, whatever comes to hand. Interesting piece of history to see what your dad did.
    Which detective novel you mention were you reading? Sounds like a book I would enjoy.

  3. It used to be fashionable around here for children to give bookmarks to their mothers, at least I got quite a few from my daughter, they were bought for very little and they were quite nice. I gave away as many as I got, so now-a-days I use cards mostly. I enjoyed yours.

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