Saturday on the Couch - Let's talk about bookmarks

It’s pretty rare to finish a book in one sitting, so we need something to mark our place.

And there’s a marvellous invention: the bookmark.

You can dog-ear the page (did I really write that!) or if the book has a slip cover, use that. But a bookmark has lots of advantages. You can use receipts, transport tickets, theatre and cinema tickets.

But with the cashless society and travel cards on us, that really only leaves performance tickets. I often wonder what librarians find in returned books.

This photo shows a variety of my bookmarks:

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The first is a souvenir of an abbey in Germany. Most museum and gallery shops sell bookmarks and they make great souvenirs for friends and relatives and for yourself. Often they have a picture of something from the museum collection and as a souvenir, they have the advantage of being small. You can fit a lot of them in your luggage. Unlike magnets, there’s no danger they’ll deactivate your credit card. They’re smaller than postcards and you don’t have to send them straightaway.

The second is a much loved and much used paper bookmark, so well-used it fell apart when I picked it up. There’s a sketch of Charlotte Bronte and a little verse to the effect that we have to accept the rain if want the roses in our life. My daughter bought it for me at Haworth. On the same trip, she bought the small metal clip in Bath. It’s very sturdy, though small and will mark the place by clipping a few pages together.

The third bookmark is from my mother’s Bible. It’s a fine satin with a Salvation Army motto on it. There are several bookmarks like this throughout the Bible marking significant passages.

I have embroidered bookmarks for friends. They’re a simple project and you can usually buy them in cross-stitch kits. They are a personal gift that has required some effort from the giver. But there is a modern problem with bookmarks: the Kindle and other such readers. The Kindle will mark your place and enable you to highlight the book you’re reading and make notes.

Once I could always be sure a bookmark would be a welcome gift to a reader. Now I’m not so sure.

Do you still use bookmarks? Or are you an eBook reader and don’t need them anymore?