True, you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover. But we do anyway. And we also judge the reader by the cover of the book they’re reading. In college I often had people remark with surprise that I was reading say, Victor Hugo or EINSTEIN’S DREAMS. Of course in college I looked like a 12 year old, but still. People judge. But while people were judging book covers and what that meant about the people reading them, I often looked at the bookmarks.
Bookmarks are more personal than the book being read. A bookmark is something you’ve chosen yourself to mark your way through a story and it stays with you long after the book has been finished and returned to the library or retired to the bookshelf. The whimsical ones point to a person’s sense of fun. The kid-drawn ones speak to their love of family. Pictures, to nostalgia. Fancy ones from the store mean they’re serious readers, and the prayer cards that end up as bookmarks reveal that the reader had at least once been accosted by a little old church lady at the end of service.
Then there are the utilitarian bookmarks, like sticky notes, which tend to mean the reader’s page-deep in research. The bill from last-night’s grocery, or the piece of junk mail that was sitting near the door, speaks directly to the fact that the reader was too busy to find a proper marker when they were heading out the door with their new read in tow.
I wonder what people might judge about me based on the sampling of my bookmarks above?
No matter what you use, bookmarks do say a lot about you. And in the mounting e-book revolution, these slivers of personality will increasingly lose their place, a fact recently discussed on Amanda Hoving’s blog. I do miss them when I use my Nook, but they’re always ready for me when I pick up a real-live paper book.