On bookmarks and rereading

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BookmarkThis lovely little demon comes from a bookmark I picked up years ago while traveling in Spain; he’s from a fifteenth-century painting of the temptation of St. Anthony in the Museum of Fine Arts in Bilbao.

I shoved him in my copy of Beckett’s Murphy, which I had with me at the time, and promptly forgot about him till last week, when I decided to reread the book. Of course, the rereading alone was a pleasure, but it was also nice to reacquaint myself with the bookmark, which I’d always felt was a nice match for the book’s odd, desperate humor (also, Beckett had something of an affinity for medieval sensibilities).

Usually, I keep a collection of old ticket stubs to use as bookmarks — they’re the perfect size and weight, and it’s nice to be reminded of a particular concert or museum as I read. But if a book really speaks to me, I like to choose something that’s especially meaningful and leave it there for future returns. A pretty Japanese bookmark my aunt gave me lives in my copy of Anna Karenina; in Ulysses (which I admittedly haven’t touched since college), it’s a piece of repurposed cardstock with an image of blue sky and clouds. In some books, I simply leave one of my favorite ticket stubs behind — Mrs. Dalloway is home to a stub from Vienna’s Belvedere Gallery, while To The Lighthouse guards a stub from the Frick. It’s basically a way of saying I plan to come back to the book.

What are your bookmark routines?

2 thoughts on “On bookmarks and rereading

  1. While I have bookmarks that special people have given me, my tendency is to save lengths of pretty ribbon when I receive it and use those. They make a pretty pile on my reading table when they’re not dangling from between the pages. Some books seem to “ask” for certain colors.

  2. Index cards. Usually with the call number of the book written on it. That’s how I just read Hellboy Vol. 1, at least. But yeah, index cards. They’re just so handy for notes. I save tickets on a message board and I haven’t bought a bookmark in years.

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