The Curious Importance of Jill Elizabeth

On Bookmarks or The Curious Importance of Schnibbles* of Paper
Jill Elizabeth posted this on August 18th, 2011
What do you use for bookmarks?
Me, it depends entirely on where I am. If I’m at home, I have small (or not-so-small) stacks of old tickets, passes, business cards, and forms of identification scattered anywhere I’m likely to be reading (which is to say, in at least one spot in almost every room). I also keep such things in my purse, my wallet and the car, you know, in case of a reading/place-holding emergency. I love using these things as bookmarks; now not only is my book something I’m enjoying, but so is the reminiscing caused by the bookmark itself. An added bonus, if you will. Hooray, she said!
If I’m in a store and have just bought a book, I will almost always take a bookmark if they are freely offered. Not as many places give you a free bookmark anymore though, which stinks. Ironically, most of the large chains (the only booksellers who claim to be making a profit) no longer offer free bookmarks, while most of the small, independent bookstores (who claim to be increasingly suffering if not being outright pushed out of business by large corporate retailers) still do.

Incidentally, I will almost never pay for a bookmark. Most of the ones that are sold are goofy or over-the-top cutesy things; I don’t need to look at a kitty stuck in a tree or a puppy with overlarge paws while I’m reading, thank you very much. Nor do I need inspirational sayings or quotations or tassles or glitter. I’m good, thanks.
If no freebie is readily available, I will first check my purse or wallet (if I’m still in the store) or the car (if I’m heading off somewhere else to read). I will use the store receipt if I don’t have anything from my usual stack on-hand or if I want to make sure that I don’t seem like a freeloader or book thief. I don’t love using receipts though – the paper is often slippery and then those little suckers don’t stay where they’re supposed to, which is just plain aggravating. If I’m reading a hard cover, I will, in a pinch, fold the inside front cover flap to my page as a marker. And if it’s a soft-cover or a book without a paper sleeve, I will either try to remember the page number in my head (dangerous) or will text it to myself (god bless cell phones).
If I am absolutely stuck, I will use a straw wrapper or gum wrapper, string or a tag torn from some piece of clothing, lint from the bottom of my purse. There is almost always some random shred of something usable that can be found somewhere on hand. WHAT I WILL NEVER EVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES – INCLUDING THE PAIN OF DEATH – DO IS BEND THE CORNER OF THE PAGE. Gasp, shudder. You might as well stab me in the eye. Or intentionally break the spine of the book. EEK, she said! Honestly people, we are not animals – let’s have some respect, hm??
• “Schnibbles” for those of you who are unfamiliar with one of Ann Arent’s favorite words (hi mom!), are small bits of things. This isn’t a “Jill using a big/weird word” moment (see previous post on my feelings on unusual words) – it is a “Jill using a word she’s heard her whole life” moment. Honest.
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A former corporate attorney and government relations/health policy executive, Jill Elizabeth Arent walked away (well, skipped actually) from the big-city worlds of corporate and political America and headed for a more literary life (equally challenging, but infinitely more enjoyable) in the small Western New York town where she grew up. For more information, please visit Jill at .


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