Thursday 19 March 2015

Portable Magic: Tell me you're not a corner folder: a few thoughts on bookmarks.

Hi, hi.

I know that many of you reading this are book lovers. Me too. Hence this ...
... and yet, although we may share that same 'bibliophile' label ... there are areas where our reading habits no doubt differ.
  • Some of us will enjoy reading big books [hello, that'll be me]; while some might prefer a book they can carry in their handbag without the handbag having to be a suitcase.
  • Some of us will have a shelf bulging beneath the weight of their book collection; while others will save their shelves [and pockets] by draining their local library shelves dry. 
  • And some may use a bookmark; while others, although I can't believe you would do such a thing, some ... mark their place in a book by folding over the corner of the page! 
Oh the horror.

I may very well chop books into tiny scraps for the sake of my collage and mixed media work but that's usually damaged books and books which have been gathering dust for years and which deserve a new lease of life.

You'll never catch me creasing a virgin corner into submission ... not on a book I'm currently reading!

So yes, I'm claiming the moral high ground with this one, but, just because I'm a smug bookmark user it doesn't always mean I have one on hand. And, as I absolutelywillnot fold a corner over ... I do find myself resorting to almost anything else almost to keep my spot.

Despite being a crafter in possession of any amount of paper that could easily be used as a fancy bookmark I tend to just reach for what's nearest; which usually means tearing off straggly corners from newspapers or magazines [unlike books, these corners are fair game when I need a placeholder! In fact, they're such a familiar sight in my house that James even has a pet name for them: he calls them my 'mingy bits of paper' which just about sums it up.]

And recently, in the library at work, I even resorted to using a packet of Monster Munch crisps to keep my place.

Roast Beef flavour, if you're interested.   

But if this glorious illustration by Grant Snider of Incidental Comics is anything to go by ... I guess I'm not alone in my creative bookmark improvisation:
Come on ... admit it ... how many of those have you used to keep your place?

[p.s: if you're new to Grant Snider's work before I urge you to visit his Incidental Comics site as it's an absolute treat.]

I'll admit to 3 of those ... plus the aforementioned 'mingy bits of paper' and beefy flavour corn snacks and yet ... this year all of my library books have been spared the indignity of having any of these things inserted into them because ...

 ... in what may yet turn out to have been some kind of bookmark-'intervention', two of my friends gifted me 'proper' bookmarks for Christmas/ my birthday.

Kirsty made these origami-folded lovelies for me:
Which I've been slotting over my non-folded corners ever since ...
If you'd like to make some for yourself then check out Kirsty's instructions by following the link on her blog.
I'll leave it up to you whether or not you choose to believe the rumour that I select which one to use based on how well it matches the book cover ...
And then, for my birthday, my friend Jean gave me a pad of these: 
And they too have been gracing my pages lately. Although I've yet to make notes directly on to one it would definitely be a fun way to keep track of what I've been reading. Imagine these, with all the details filled out, fixed to a scrapbook page or tucked inside a reading journal ... certainly something to think about and a fun way to combine my love of reading with my fondness for memory keeping.
If you quite fancy the look of these - I'm sorry but I don't know the manufacturer, I threw away the packaging, but if you Google: yes i'm actually reading this bookmark pad you'll find lots of places that stock them. 
So ... that's what's currently keeping my pages ... but what about yours? It's true-bookmarking-confessional time ... 
  • What do you regularly use to keep your page?
  • Are you one of those delinquent corner folders? Dare you admit to it here?
  • What's the strangest things you've used or seen someone else use to mark a place?
Who knows ... maybe one day I'll compile all your responses into a book. And you can use whatever you like to mark your place in it ...

Julie :-)

[p.s: if you enjoyed this post or think it would strike a chord with someone you know ... please do share, save or Pin it. Thankyouinadvanceyoulovelypersonyou.]


  1. Oh perish the thought! I've only in recent years got over my utter horror of people who crack spines on paperbacks. I used to break out in actual sweats over that. Although -- I still have favourites that I refuse to lend in case they should come back cracked.

    I can admit to 4 out of that cartoon ;) 5 if you count using my finger as using myself when someone rudely interrupts my reading.

    I have a pile of very lovely leather bookmarks... somewhere. One that came free when I joined a reading club once, one that used to be my Mums, one that the girls bought me from a museum... I have a couple of those metal ones with the dangly bits on them. Do they ever get used? Nah. Never there when you need them are they?

    I'm with you and the mingy bits of paper. Although - my favourite at the moment and could never be described as mingy is a little paper pocket that a friend had made to slip the gift of a pen in - it's covered in her painty scribbles where she has decorated the paper and she had sewn the edges of the pocket. far to nice to throw away so that's what's currently bookmarking the pages of the Neil Gaiman book that is sitting in the pocket of my car door at the moment - does that count as my handbag - I snatch reading time while waiting for the girls or Craig when on taxi duty. :P

  2. p.s I might need to get me some of those bookmarks - am embarking on PL and they would be perfect!

  3. I'm absolutely with you on this one! I've never turned over a corner in my life, nor have I flipped a book over and left it face down as a way of marking my place. My Mum was very stern on this issue when I was little!

    But I can tell you that those stories you hear about people marking library books with slices of bacon and mad stuff like that? all true. I can personally attest to this.

  4. Hah, **love** your post!

    Could *never* fold a corner, oh no....

    Hah, I've done 4 from the cartoon (potentially 5, if you include using the side of your thigh as a temporary bookmark when a little one needs something whilst you're reading!) plus I totally also use mingy bits of paper too! I have lots of proper 'grown up' bookmarks but can never seem to find the devils when I need them so, like you, end up tearing bits of random paper.

    I also use my children's drawings/bits of post that's arrived/postcards/notes I've written and don't need to keep (I love coming across these little 'time capsules' when I revisit a book....I actually cried myself to sleep the other night, having come across a note my Dad had left me (that I'd used as a bookmark) in a book I'd not opened for 20+ years).....

    I'm also guilty of leaving books open, face down (sorry, Sian!) - although my daughter, tidy thing she is, always sets them right whenever she sees them, losing my page in the process, so I'm slowly being taught not to do that anymore ;)

    Slightly off topic but related:

    I remember my Grandad, when we were in the library once, showing me how people mark the books they've taken out of the library: he said he knew someone marked the books they'd read by ringing page number 57, another would ring the third word on the second page etc etc...I found it fascinating that people would do this! (and, perhaps more, that my Grandad had worked this out!!).....

    Loved this pin I came across the other day ( - would love, love, love a lamp like this by my bed!!!!! (Like this one: And I thought of you when I saw this pin ( - they're so lovely!!

    And - very unrelated - but totally drool-worthy - .....I *love* them!!!!

  5. Oh dear, I confess to being a corner turner! I always lose book marks. However, I wouldn't dare turn the page corner on someone- close- to- me's books, I would be dead. He memorizes the page he finishes on - which I try to do but sometimes I forget. My pet hate though is people who annotate library books - especially poetry. They always write such dumb or obvious comments too.

  6. Another corner folder - hanging head in shame. Although I have been known to use bills, old envelopes, paper tissues (unused) and the packaging from a pair of tights as well. However I am so clumsy these often fall out - hence the corner folding.
    My brother wouldn't let me read his CS Lewis collection until I promised not to corner fold when we were children. He also made me promise that I would buy a replacement for any books if I did fold the corner!

    Oops caplock im not shouting and im not retyping it lol
    Jo xxx

  8. Now that's generated a LOT of words in return, Julie! I don't suppose you'd be impressed if I told you that when I was little, I used to tear off the corners of pages and eat them as I read. No, I didn't think you'd like that. I'll just creep away quietly, shall I ...

    1. That has to be a first Alexa!! Eating the corner of a page.... I've heard of people devouring books but never nibbling!! lol

    2. Have you read the Incredible Book Eating Boy? Beautiful book and he eats whole libraries worth!

  9. Page corner folder? Yes sometimes, but if you are already squirming you may not want to read further...

    I used to view books as precious and would never write in them, mark the page or bend the corner. Then I read a book (I forget which one) that actually encouraged you to do these things. It made me see books in a different way, something to be personal with and feel connected. So some books I do interact with, folding down corners and marking favourite lines or sections. These are mainly creative books that I read and refer to regularly.

    As for book marks, a friend sent me a very special hand folded version too. I've yet to use it, it looks pretty on my shelf as it is. Like you I use what ever I have to hand, often a torn off piece of newspaper or envelope, a receipt, sweet paper.... you know the rest!
    One thing that is a no, no though is bending the spine back. My husband used to do this to his paperbacks (he wouldn't be allowed near mine!) but I have since trained him to look after them better. Now they are as good as when he picked them up.

    As for cutting books up - yes I do that too. Again I used to be precious about this but I have seen so many perfectly good books being thrown out (even by charity shops) that I have decided there is such a surplus that I no longer have to feel bad about this. Unless it is rare, old, or special then I am okay about cutting up books to use in art journaling, altered art, collage etc. That's not to say books are not safe in my hands. Most are treasured and despite having several book cases I have boxes full of books and no space to store them. I love Book Crossing so unwanted novels get passed on this way or taken to charity shops. I also have a big pile I want to sell.... and despite my admission to writing in books and bending corners, I only do this to books I plan to keep and truly treasure. All the rest are in perfect condition ready for someone else to corner bend :)
    I could have written my own blog post here! lol

  10. I'm a random item bookmarked too because I could NEVER bring myself to ruin a page by turning it over! I have some lovely bookmarks, but nearly always end up picking up an old receipt or something. I do like the look of those origami edges, must have a little look to see how they are done!

  11. LOL! I have a huge container of handmade beautiful book marks, including ones like you have here. . . .
    but I still grab the nearest random business card to mark my place.
    And I am a corner folder - more to mark places with significant quotes or events than my current place.
    ls that better or worse???

  12. I feel really torn on this! I am a corner folder and a spine cracker - sorry Sian! But there is something rewarding about looking at all (and I have LOTS!) my book worn and well loved on the bookshelves. I like taking a book down I haven't read for years and finding notes and scribbles in books I've studied, words I have looked up in french books (and have usually forgotten so the notes are helpful!). But corner folding does deprive me of the pleasure of finding old 'bookmarks' - train tickets, postcards, shopping lists, notes some of which are 30 years old now and bring back so many memories when I find them. In the early 1990s they used to give away free postcards in cinemas and caf├ęs which I find every so often nestled in the pages of a book. Now I have thought about it, no more corner folding I am going to start leaving myself notes for the future! What a brilliant topic :) thank you

  13. Oh, no. No corner folding in my house. I'm sure that I must have at lest 30 "real" bookmarks - somewhere. I usually end up whatever's laying on the closest table - probably one of those abhorred subscription inserts from a magazine. But when I need to do a permanent marker, I use Book Darts. Wonderful, thin bits of metal that permanently mark your place without damaging the page or sticking out into the air like post-it notes.

  14. only just come across this post. I am a corner folder HATER and always use a bookmark - a proper one, have hundreds (used to collect the souvenir ones you buy in historic houses etc) but now use the free ones you often pick up in bookshops. I try to keep my books pristine - I pay good money for them, so when i finish a paperback it looks as good as new... and I'm not a good lender of books for that very reason! Great series of articles.

  15. Recent corner folder convert m'self. Bookmarks now abound and I aint never goin back! :)

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