Just Sherring

Now, Where Was I?

Edvard Munch, The Scream

No real self-respecting book lover abuses books. By abuse, I mean crack the spine, mark it up, rip pages on purpose or by accident, toss around carelessly, and most definitely do not dog ear pages. Only monsters do that.

While most book nerds also have various book accessories, like lights, book sleeves, and book bands, they may not have bookmarks. Not to say that they don’t own any. We tend to be more careless with bookmarks than with our books.  We might lose them in our sheets or on the couch. They can be forgotten in books that have already been completed, are still in the process of being read but have been set aside, or even still nestled in between the pages of a new book from when it was first brought home from the bookstore. You know the move: a bookseller sticks a free store bookmark into at least one of the books (who purchases just one book?) when you’re checking out.

I have so many Strand bookmarks, it’s ridiculous. It’s still a surprise when I start a new book and a Strand bookmark falls out. It’s one of my favorite bookstores. I love the bookmarks from Center for Fiction in Brooklyn. They feature a cartoon drawing of a well-known author with a quote. One with Toni Morrison says “Don’t ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it.” The pink bookmarks from Books are Magic remind me of cotton candy. I don’t recall getting free bookmarks from Barnes & Noble. I remember making my own bookmarks on my printer when I was in high school. The printer came with a 101 Dalmatians DVD that allowed you to make all types of stationary. I still have some of those bookmarks.

Despite knowing that I’ll get a free bookmark or can grab a few myself, I sometimes can’t resist the urge to purchase a new one to add to my collection. It makes no sense to pay anywhere from $2 to $4 for something I can get for free or substitute—again for free. The bookmarks call to me from the spinning display or wall. If I don’t get a bookmark at the Strand, I buy a magnet.

Some of my bookmarks

This past weekend I went to the MoMA for the first time. In addition to my usual magnet souvenir from a new place (my refrigerator is covered in Broadway plays, concerts and bookstore magnets), I walked out with not one, but two new bookmarks. I didn’t even see Edward Munch’s painting The Scream, but I snagged it along with the geometric white, blue, yellow and red squares and rectangles of Piet Mondrian’s Trafalgar Square, which I did see and snapped on my phone. Something about the clean lines intrigue me. I also saw Basquiat, Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Matisse, Keith Haring and other famous artists’ paintings and bookmarks. I really wanted a Basquiat bookmark, but they didn’t have any. I was on the verge of getting the Warhol Campbell Soup bookmark, but made myself put it away. I didn’t need three.

Some of my bookmarks are close to twenty years old. I lament the ones that I’ve lost due to carelessness. While reading, I’ve learned to tuck a bookmark ahead in the pages on the right, where it’s more secure because the pages are compressed versus on the left, the front of the book, where the pages are more likely to flip on their own if you’re not pressing them together. Out of all the bookmarks I’ve lost, I’d like to have a moment of silence for the black leather one with laser cut fringe and an emblazoned golden “S” at the top. I can’t remember if it was a gift or if I bought it on my own. I do remember that its thickness prevented books from closing all the way.

Only one or two rare occasions I lost a bookmark with a whole book. More than once, I’ve had to double back to a place because I realized I was empty-handed when I should’ve been carrying a book. I retraced my steps to find that I had set down my book and left it. One time, I’m pretty sure I lost a book on a bus after I stood up to put on my backpack and left it on the seat. That book was Breadfruit by Celestine Vaite, and I think that’s the book that had the leather bookmark.

Despite all my bookmarks, sometimes they’re not handy and I have to reach for the closest thing to save my spot. Some are weirder than others, but here’s a list of things I’ve used as bookmarks:

  1. Store receipts
  2. Mail
  3. Packing list
  4. Post-It notes
  5. Feather
  6. Dollar bill
  7. Ribbon
  8. Tissue
  9. Paper towel
  10. Straw
  11. Night club band
  12. Paper clip
  13. Library due date slip
  14. Postcard
  15. Metro Card
  16. Business card
  17. Index card
  18. Torn piece of paper
  19. Another book
  20. Folder
  21. Envelope
  22. Pen
  23. Highlighter
  24. Notepad
  25. Facedown
  26. Finger
  27. Kit Kat wrapper
  28. Phone
  29. Greeting card
  30. Note
  31. Book of stamps
  32. Pocket calendar
  33. Handkerchief
  34. Unused face mask
  35. Glasses
  36. Text message to myself


  1. This was great! And i too have used some of the things you’ve listed, as bookmarks haha. When I went to Church weekly, they always had bookmarks available for those who needed to keep their place in their bibles. So I have a few. I’ve also been to events where their branded logo was a bookmark. I want to start collecting real ones tho like some of the ones you’ve shown. And I may need to also visit the MoMa. Thank u for this blog.

  2. Pingback: Gift Guide for the Booklover in Your Life | Just Sherring

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