The adventures, thoughts, and general scrawlings of a classical pianist

On Bookmarks

Bookmarks, for me, are the most useless things ever.

Perhaps I should rephrase that. I read a lot, and I have a bad habit of reading up to four novels at once, switching back and forth, and I’m always in need of something to hold my page. My apparent ability to effortlessly memorize numbers clearly applies only to dates and phone numbers but not three-digit page numbers.

I must have dozens of bookmarks collected over the years–given as gifts, taken as free promotions, self-drawn or crafted–and I hardly ever use them. For some reason I always make note of them, put them down with a Remember to use this later, and then forget that I have a bookmark handy when I need to hold my page.

This is rather troublesome as I try to never, ever keep a book open by sprawling it open and page-down. If it’s possible to be a book nerd, then I am one. It makes me wince when I see people breaking book spines*, dog-earring their pages, thumbing through them with Cheeto-stained fingers, and dumping them upside down to hold their pages. I am honestly proud of the fact that I have really old books I have read dozens of times that still look brand new. Forget human and animal rights, someone needs to picket the White House for book rights.

Back to bookmarks. I think one of the reasons I misplace my belongings so often is that I absentmindedly pick them up to use as bookmarks and then dump them somewhere else when I continue reading. I have used bottles, (clean) eating utensils, hair things, tissue-box remnants, price tags**, ancient to-do lists (“college apps, prom, spirit week!”), other books, articles of clothing, writing utensils, important documents, and my cell phone as bookmarks. I cannot remember for the life of me the last time I used an actual bookmark for its intended use. No, I do remember. It was sometime in elementary school.

There really is no point to this. If you take anything from this post, just remember 1) Do not desecrate a book in front of me because I will pull a Madam Pince and 2) Don’t you ever dare give me a bookmark. I can assure you the poor thing will never be utilized to its full potential, and we wouldn’t want to put it through any such suffering.

*The only exception to book-spine breaking is for music, because that stuff needs to stay open and lay flat. Even then, the dreaded crack can be avoided because they sell little metal pronged things that keep your music open.

**I have a thing with price tags. I always snip them off of clothes and keep them, probably out of a misguided just-in-case instinct, and then I keep them for so long I can’t bear to throw them away. Thus there are many, many ancient price tags littered around my room.

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