This is an odd question for me, although not for one of my very best friends. For the sake of protecting the flagrantly guilty, we’ll call her Beth. Beth is a rapacious reader. Her flat is lined with bookcases, often stacked precariously on top of each other. Books are packed onto them three-deep, covering every subject you can possibly imagine. I myself have bought her romance novels, books about surviving in the wild, an atlas of world history and a collection of maps designed by a teenage computer genius.
You can tell which books Beth is currently reading by the weird objects she uses to mark her pages. The silver paper that wraps chocolate biscuits, receipts, postcards, newspaper clippings and even, on occasion, an actual bookmark purchased for the purpose. You can track where she was when she was reading by what she’s used to mark her page. The one thing that she doesn’t do, thank goodness, is fold the corner of the page down.
Me? I don’t use bookmarks.
Sometimes it’s because I’ll read the book entirely in one sitting so I don’t need one. Other times, I remember the page number. I don’t know why I don’t use bookmarks, I have plenty of them. Everybody knows that I like reading, so I usually get a few novelty bookmarks every year as part of Christmas and birthday gifts. At the moment they all sit crammed onto a bookshelf, unused and unloved. I just find it more natural to remember a page number.
Now that I read on my iPad a lot, I have no need of a physical bookmark as the Marvin app I use automatically keeps my place. Perhaps the next time I go to visit Beth, I’ll take my collection of book marks with me to give to her!