Queries and Conundrums: To Fold or Not to Fold


I have a confession to make.  I hope you won’t lose all respect for me, but it’s true . . . I am a Folder.  Yes, I will fold the corner down on the page of the book to mark my place.  It is a mindless, I’ve-stopped-reading-so-I-have-to-mark-my-place, I-can’t-wait-to-start-back-up-here, action that I have always done.  Don’t get me wrong; it isn’t that I don’t have bookmarks.  I have bookmarks galore.  Seriously what do people give book lovers?  Bookmarks!  I have beautiful bookmarks that were gifts from friends from around the world, sentimental ones that my children have made for me, and notecards, receipts, and anything else lying around that I can stuff between the pages, but do I use them?  No.  And is that really bad?

Now I know that my neighbor and good friend is cringing while reading this.  Whenever I lend her books, she always notes the folded down pages.  To be fair, I really, really try to use bookmarks when I borrow a friend’s book and I’ve only folded down a library book page once . . . okay, maybe twice, but it was an emergency!

It’s not that I don’t like bookmarks; I just don’t think to use them.  I love to read and any spare second I might have is spent reading.  If I have 15 minutes, 5 minutes, or 30 seconds, and I can get a chapter, a page, or a paragraph in, I am going to do it.  Then, as I am in a rush to do what I was supposed to be doing, I just quickly mark my page.  Nothing infuriates me more than losing my page.  The time spent looking for where I left off could be used reading more!  I am notorious for reading in carpool line, getting involved in the story, and then getting honked at because I am not moving forward . . . yeah, I’m that person.  Don’t judge.  Invariably, I toss my book to the passenger side of the car, the book overshoots the seat and falls down by the door.  The bookmark and marked spot are long lost and I frustrate the people in carpool behind me because I am trying to reach across the seat to grab the book before a kid opens the door and the book falls out and lost for good.  Yes, I have issues.

I akin folding down pages to book inscriptions . . . yes, I do that too.  In Helene Hanff’s 84, Charing Cross Road, she talks about book inscriptions and how they tell a story of previous book lovers.  I have a children’s Christmas book that belonged to my Dad with an inscription from an old neighbor.  I have an old book of my grandmother’s that has her maiden name written in her hand-writing.  Those are treasures to me.  Whenever I give a book for a birthday, holiday, or new baby, I always inscribe the front cover so the recipient might enjoy looking back to see where the book came from.  I love to find bookmarks that other people have used in books – old grocery lists, postcards, and scraps of paper.  It tells the history of the people who have loved these books.  I get such a thrill when I reread a book and note where I previously stopped and the corner is creased from a previous fold. The first time I read the book and paused there, did I have an idea as to what would come next?

My mom and I mailed books back and forth that we thought each other might enjoy.  We both would make notes and stick them in the books, noting what we liked about the book or whether it was part of a series and to make sure to read them in order.  It was a great way to keep in touch and share great books.  My sister lived in Spain and traveled in Europe for a number of years and I always loved to get books from her.  I would find boarding passes that she used as bookmarks from London or Madrid or Venice.  I always got a thrill when I would read a book she shared that I knew had been some place far more exotic than the car pool line . . . yes, I think I do have car pool issues as well.

So there, I’ve said it.  I’m a Folder.  What do you think?  Any other closet folders out there?


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