Bookmarks

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I have been a voracious reader for as a long as I can remember. For me, at least, I can soak up information many times faster by reading than by watching or listening. I typically read at least two books at a time, but sometimes, I’ll juggle more than that, and read whenever I can spare the time.

To keep track of where I am in a particular book at a given time, I use a bookmark. I’m a little ashamed of this. Theoretically, I shouldn’t need a bookmark. If I am I truly absorbing the material I’m reading, I should be able to pick up the book and quickly leaf through it and find out where I left off. But, it’s certainly easier to use a bookmark.
What, exactly, IS a bookmark? For me, it’s something I insert into the book where I pause, and when I resume reading, it makes it easy to find that point. Almost anything will make a decent bookmark. I have used a wide variety of things as bookmarks – from actual store-bought bookmarks (which I always seem to lose), to business cards, receipts, airline boarding passes, memos, photos – even a strip of bacon or a fried egg (but only for short durations).
Now, of the books I have in progress at any given time, usually at least one is a re-read – I really enjoy reading a book for second or third time. There are books I found dense and ponderous on the first read , but thoroughly enjoy the second time around, after some years have gone by. Some favorites I read almost every year. Sometimes the gap between the first and second read is much longer, and this can lead to some pretty fun discoveries when I find an old bookmark in the book.
So, my book collection has a time capsule built into it, and I love this! I will pick up I remember reading, but I want to revisit the prose, and open it up to find an old receipt or boarding pass from a long-ago vacation, and the memories come flooding back. For some reason, in the last few months I have found business cards (either my own or customers’) dating back decades.
Sometimes, I find old setlists from gigs long past, and these are always fun to look at it. The choice of songs can be evocative of a variety of emotions, from relief that I know play those silly songs, or embarrassment that I still do play those silly songs. The setlists are usually titled with the date and venue. Sometimes an impenetrable shorthand was used for the venue and I’m left puzzling over what I was thinking. Most times, though I do remember the gig and the venue and it’s very pleasant to relive those memories.
So, not to be a book snob, but those of you who have switched to e-readers are missing out on this aspect of the love of books. (Not to mention the smell of an old book – ahhhhhhhh!)

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