Tuesday, July 16, 2013

On Bookmarks

I think bookmarks are stupid. Well, let me clarify that, I think the bookmarks with yarn on the end, with pictures of puppies or inspirational passages are stupid. Obviously one need to use a bookmark; dog-eared pages just aren't right.

I tend to be very loyal to the bookmark I use as well. For the first 45 books on this list, I used the joker from a deck of playing cards. It featured a picture of Jack Nicklaus golfing at St. Andrews on one side, and was blank on the other, which allowed me to keep track of how many list read I had finished with tally marks. But that disappeared after finishing Portnoy's Complaint. I looked everywhere for that card, and to say losing it bothered me, would be an understatement.

Since then I have been using a ticket to a hockey game. There isn't anything special about the game, but hockey tickets are a good size and shape for a bookmark, so why not? I've now used this ticket for over 20 books, and plan to continue using it until I reach 100, or until I lose it.

Tokens from past journeys
But that is only for my list reads. For non-fiction, I use an airplane ticket a couple of years ago. Again, there isn't really anything special about that particular ticket, but I've been using it for non-fiction books for over two years. The ticket isn't even mine, as I save all my airplane tickets (I really do) in a neat stack. Now that I've been using this ticket so long, I've become quite attached to it. The idea of using something else for a non-fiction book is...a little unsettling.

Now if I have three books going at one time, which happens more often than not, I turn to my reserve mark, a Rick Green hockey card from 1980. Again, there isn't any personal connection to this player or card, but I remain very loyal to it. I'm pretty sure I started a book one day, already having two on the go, and this was sitting on my desk. It went into the book, and has been used on a regular basis ever since. Now, again with no reason for any attachment, I have become quite attached to it.

Maybe my opening statement was a little off, and maybe bookmarks aren't stupid. Maybe a bookmark should be something important to the reader. Going to hockey games and travelling are two of my favorite hobbies, so maybe it isn't mere coincidence I have chosen these items as placeholders for my reading adventures.

Maybe it's just the mass-produced marks, with a picture of a poodle wearing sunglasses saying, "Born to Party," that are stupid. Because those are really stupid.

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