When my parents sold the house I grew up in, I packed all my books, most of which were the required reading classics, into cardboard boxes. They sat in storage while I graduated from college and for a few years after that as I moved from apartment to apartment year after year. During those transitional moves, I would contemplate what to do with those freshly painted white walls and look forward to the day that I could return my beloved books to their rightful place on a bookshelf within arm's reach for browsing, referencing and rereading.
Now that I've settled into an apartment for the long haul, I decided it was finally the right time to rescue my books from storage. While unpacking, I came across a copy of Fyodor Dostoevesky's Crime and Punishment that I'd excessively bookmarked with Post-it notes -- 16 to be exact. In my defense, it was the required summer reading and I was tracking quotes for an imminent essay.
Seeing a book filled to the brim with Post-its, I really started thinking about why the humble sticky note is my go-to bookmark. Aside from the practical points -- they don't fall out of the book, they allow for versatile placement so you can stop mid-page and pick up from the exact spot you left off, they make it easy to track how much you've read in a single sitting -- I'm also a fan of the ideology behind Post-its. The idea of organizing information is something that a Type-A person like me can really get behind. Clearly, my Post-it annotation didn't end after high school...
As you can see, I went through a thin-strips-Post-it phase in college. What can I say? Old habits die hard. These slender sticky notes were ideal for denoting particular passages in thick anthologies with impossibly thin paper. If you've ever opened a Broadview Anthology, then you know what I'm talking about.
Even though no one will be asking me to analyze biblical allusions in T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland anytime soon, there's something comforting about looking at my bookshelf and seeing those colorful little pieces of paper. They're faded and curled at the edges but they're little reminders of the passages I once found meaningful, and it's nice to know that I can easily revisit them any time. In that regard, they're like little time machines that have the power to take me back to my academic past.
What's your preferred bookmark of choice? Do you opt for something simple or do you have something special to hold your place?