Saturday, December 5, 2009


For our What Women Write retreat, Pamela gave all of us personalized charm-bookmarks she’d devoted precious time to making. From mine dangles a pretty marbled stone, a silver and black heart, a Hope charm, and a 2009 marker, a little indication that this was the first of many retreats.

It got me thinking about bookmarks and the little things that, for me, make reading a book more special.

I’ve picked up bookmarks from libraries, conferences, bookstores, even from colleges my son hopes to attend. I’ve received bookmarks for gifts, whether alone or nestled inside one of my soon to be favorites. The ones I like best are from unique places or remind me of good friends.

I’ve got several from Politics and Prose, the Washington, D.C. bookstore one of my sisters frequents. I've collected treasures from other independents as well, such as the fantabulous Powell’s in Portland, where my husband had to drag me away from eight floors of books. From both the Poisoned Pen and Pages in Scottsdale, recent excursions with my cousin Gail. From Four Seasons Books in Shepherdstown, WV, where my friend Devon and I met to browse and reminisce about our time at Oxford. Some remind me that getting published is for real people too, like the publicity bookmarks I’ve accumulated over the years from writers I know, such as my friend and mentor Sophia Nash, award-winning author of seven historical novels; my critique partner Bill Lee, author of The Boys in Blue White Dress and who was recently featured in the Dallas Morning News; fellow board member Rachel DeFriez, author of The Rath Haven Chronicles; and writing acquaintances Candace Havens and Rosemary Clement Moore.

Truthfully, any slip of paper will do and often has. I’ve used an airline boarding pass, a grocery receipt, the empty lines on the bottom of a to-do list. Anything to avoid dog-earing pages, which for me is truly taboo for any true writer or reader.

How about you? What are your favorite and most memorable bookmarks?


Elizabeth Lynd said...

I have one from Pamela, too, and what a beautiful treasure. I can't say that I generally collect bookmarks, but you made me wish I did. What I do collect--and for only the past couple years, wish it had been longer into the past--are fridge magnets from places I've been to and love (which is most of the places I've been to). Small tokens that are reminders of happy trips are wonderful to see every time I go for a glass of water. But they don't keep books from getting dog-eared!

Jean said...

My favorite bookmarks are the hand stenciled ones my mother, Phyllis Lambert, made for me through the years. When she gave you a book for any event, she always included a handmade bookmark, with a beautiful rubber stamp or stencil, hand-painted and beautifully artful. I admit to using scraps of paper and gum wrappers most of the time, but I do treasure the ones my wonderful mother made me, and even -- from time to time -- manage to find one in time to use it to hold my place.

Joan Mora said...

Elizabeth--Most important is that we keep something, whatever it is, as memories. So...are you admitting to dog-earing?

Jean--What a rare gift to have bookmarks hand stenciled by your mother. Thanks for sharing!

Elizabeth Lynd said...

I don't dog ear now, and no worries, I definitely don't dog-ear borrowed books! Mostly I just remember the page or chapter number where I left off. But yes, I guess it was an admission of past transgressions.

Rachel DeFriez said...

I'd have to say my favorite were the gifts from sisters. They serve a double purpose--I get to thing of my sisters every time I open a book. My sisters and I are all book lovers and share our titles. It's one of those things that makes sisters best friends.

Rachel DeFriez said...

what I meant was "think". I really need to wear my glasses when I post. :o)

Pamela Hammonds said...

I'm glad you like the bookmarker. I loved making them even more. I have some special ones too. One of my old book club friends made me a set of bookmarkers when I moved. And they're so lovely, I'm afraid to use them!

Sarah Laurence said...

Bookmarks are a nice gift. My favorites are the ones that my kids made for me, but I often just use a paper scrap at hand. I love how you link your bookmarks to memories and friends.

Beautiful photos on your post below! I enjoyed seeing how you travel for your writing. That’s a really good point about showing a setting from a character’s perspective. Thanks so much for mentioning my work as well.

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