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Bookmarks or Dog-ears?

The earlier post about reading rituals made me want to get more specific. I treat my books like shit–I use them as coasters, I stack them and throw them around, break softcover spines–but for some reason I don’t like to dog-ear my pages. It just doesn’t feel right. Do you dog-ear? Do you use the front and back flaps of the jacket cover as a bookmark?

22 thoughts on “Bookmarks or Dog-ears?

  1. I dog ear and use bookmarks and break spines too but I don’t like anything to mar, scratch, dent, of otherwise affect the cover. I love the smooth surface of a cover. I like the sleek feel. tmi?

  2. Dog-earring drives me nuts! I understand why they work for some, but I’m not strong enough to not see them.

    For whatever reason dog-ears continually threaten to break me from the “dream” of reading. If reading is a flowing stream and the reader is the wooden raft, dog-ears are the jutting rocks that say: You are on a raft, not a stream.

    1. I like the metaphor. Yeah, dog ears bring attention to the medium, the mode of travel. Maybe that’s it. I don’t care about the cover, because that’s facing away when I’m doing the most important work (i.e. actually reading).

  3. I’ve just gotten over my aversion to spinebreaking. Another 20 years and I’ll be able to dog-ear…

    I use magazine subscription cards for bookmarks, and sticky notes for marking places. One time I inadvertently did the reverse, and it really discombobulated my reading.

      1. Mass market paperbacks. Fat ones are tough to keep open if you *don’t* do it. From there, it was a slippery slope.

        I’d never do it to anyone else’s book, though. I’d dog-ear my own first, which is saying something.

  4. No problem taking notes right in a book. Sometimes I use two color pens. Love a good bookmark (if you send me a promotional one, like J.A. does with his MLP books, I will keep it). But I do not dog-ear. It leaves a permanent remnant of a temporary pause – which seems like it’d be interesting, but it’s just frustrating.

    My wife dog-ears. Sometimes in my books.

  5. Old Mets tickets are my favorite bookmarks. It’s useful to be reminded of failure and pain as a means of baring your inner self to the literature that you are immersing yourself in.

    1. I too must admit to an attempt (though I don’t go too far out of my way) to find an “appropriate” bookmark. Right now, for instance, my bedtime book is Gilead, and the bookmark I’m using is this strange little scrap I found with an angel on it.

  6. You know, all of this brings to mind “Never Do That to a Book”, an essay in Anne Fadiman’s Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader. In it, she distinguishes between “courtly” and “carnal” booklovers, “carnal” as those who treat books as “wantonly as desire and pragmatism” dictates, while so-called courtly booklovers are characterized as kid-gloved fusspots.

    1. I’m so happy you said fusspots. But really, that’s a little too binary. Some elements of a book I like to preserve, while others I like to abuse. Also, different books call for different treatment. It’s kind of a protestant, personal relationship with each unique book thing.

      1. As funny as I found Fadiman’s essay, the metaphors are off since I’d like to think that carnality also includes being subtle and delicate and tender.

  7. no dog ears! i use bookmarks. i take the dust jackets off of hardbacks before i read them. even if a books already in heavily used condition i treat it like it’s brand new.

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