deme el libro

I believe that dog-earing pages in a book is sac-religious. I think I may have engaged in this practice when I was 12 for a day or two, but it never stuck. It seemed too finite a thing to do. Reading a book is a fluid thing. Though you stop, put it down, go on about your life and come back to it, the story is fluid, or should be. So, to me, dog-earing the pages is like telling the pages, even the words to stop going, stop moving because the crease is always there. It stands as an acknowledgement that someone paused this scene, stopped the monologue, or took a break between chapters. It will take days of hard pressing to reduce the dog-eared indentation. For me, the damage is permanent. Literal and literary disrespect has occurred, something a book can never shake off.

So I use anything I can get my hands on to save my places. I have bookmarks, but they never seem to find their way into the books. In bookstore checkout lines I see pretty little bookmarks with clichéd phrases and artsy black and white pictures and salivate. But my Pavlovian reflexes are always pushed aside because I know that the $3 bookmark will sit in a drawer or beside a stack of books and never actually make it into one. There is no real reason for this. When I need to hold my place I franticly search for something flat or something related to the process of reading. Beside my bed there are a number of books "held" by varying objects. The most frequently read book has my glasses holding court, the short story book that I dip in and out of is splayed, open side down on a table, a book of memoirs is conversing with my itty bitty book light™, a travel book on London is held in place with the thin, red, satin ribbon attached to it, and another short story book has the receipt for itself tucked inside.

The receipt is my favorite placeholder. I think this is partly sentimental in that every time I open the book I look at it and remember the store and the circumstances for the purchase. Partly I'm sure I do this to subconsciously remind myself to get every bit of escapism and pleasure out of the $10.95 I spent on the paperback edition. And partly because it's convenient and perfect. A receipt takes up no space between the pages, it doesn't ask you to clip it on, it just slides right in like it was meant to be there and it never leaves a mark. It's the answer to the damaging dog-ear. It's the lazy woman’s pause button. It's quite possibly the very best un-bookmark.

Yesterday I was digging through my assortment of not-yet-read books and discovered an odd bookmark tucked inside Carson McCullers' THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER. I'm sure at the time, my former therapist's business/ appointment card was the closest thing around when I stopped reading. I can't imagine that I just randomly put this card in this book. It was slipped between pages 4 and 5. A bookmark placed so early in a book would make me think that I never really began reading it. Maybe I went for a teaser from the first couple of pages. I have a terrible habit of beginning books and then about 20-50 pages into it, I pick up another book (see the bedside assortment listed above). This is one of my worst habits and one I really hate. Commitment phobia rears it's ugly head in some many places in my life. I just can't help but think there is a small, or rather quite large, message in THAT card in THAT book. Sometimes I wonder...

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