Not actually. What is making me blush today is the article by columnist Robert Gray in today’s Shelf Awareness, the e-newsletter for the book trade. “Collecting Bookmarks” is the resultof his recent column about his discovery on bookmarks in which he talked about how a short story he had read led him on a curious journey though his own library:
There are few objects in a reader’s life that are more ubiquitous yet personal than the common bookmark. This realization was reinforced last week as I read Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s story, “The Bookmark,” from his wonderful collection, Memories of the Future (translated by Joanne Turnbull for NYRB Classics).
The story, he says, inspired him, and he talks about finding several “old friends” that reminded him of “voyages we had taken together.”
Hidden in an old, broken down Modern Library edition of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden was a bookmark from the Hartford Bookshop, Rutland, Vt. Although the bookmark reassured me that the shop was “est. 1835,” the sad truth is that the Hartford did not make it beyond the 1970s.
A 17-year-old copy of Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient preserved a black bookmark from Vintage International promoting Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières by linking it back to back with the Booker Prize winner. I must have kept it because I was a handselling fool for both books.
He also asked his readers to “journey round your shelves and see what ancient bookmark treasures are hidden there. So I did. Then I told him how the discovery of a clump of golden brown hair (male) had been in a old book I had picked up, The Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac, had been the start of my collection of bookmarks. I shared what bookmarks were my favorites and why. I talked about why I began to collect them. Then I forgot about our conversation. Until today.
Robert, thank you! We may have just converted a few people because I’ve already had three requests for BiblioBuffet bookmarks. My day has certainly been made brighter!