Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The girl's not for folding

In the book shop the other day when I offered a customer a (free) book mark, she said, 'Thank you, I will take one because whenever I need it I can never find one.' 

We had a little conversation - as you do - about disappearing bookmarks (I too seem to loose them by the bucket full) when my colleague in the shop joined in and said, 'Of course you could always turn down the corner of a page instead.'

I stared at the lovely lady who I've now been working with for about six months. I was speechless; she was a self-confessed book lover, we had both stood in the shop unashamedly stroking the spine of a beloved novel, or a newly published one by an admired author. And here she was willing to do the most despicable thing to such a piece of art - spoil it by folding its pages!

When I tried to ask how she could treat a book like this, she said she thought it was nice to see a book had been read and loved - like an old doll.   

Half an hour later the poor customer who'd been sucked into the 'should one fold or not' -conversation, said she really had to go as she had things to do.

'I still can't believe it,' I muttered. In our household folding the pages of books is a sackable offence, easily reasonable cause for divorce. Comparable to using a buttery knife to scoop out jam or marmalade out of a jar, thereby leaving an ugly smear inside it. (What's wrong with using a clean spoon?) 

Ok, I may be a little control freaky and weird.

What do you think? Do you fold the top of a page if you don't have a bookmark? (I don't want to know about your jam jar habits...)


Robin Wilton said...

What's wrong with flicking through the book until you reach the last bit you remember reading...?

Tilda Drake esq. said...

Oh no, no, no! I'll use anything: a shopping list, a coaster, a piece of ribbon, anything but fold the corner of a page.
I lent an Alexander McCall Smith to a friend recently and it was returned with a few 'fold marks'. I said nothing, but winced a little! Thank you for sharing, I now feel less 'weird' about this.

On another note - love your blog. Was up until 2am when I first came across it, reading all about how you came to be in England. So interesting and quite filmic.

Helena Halme said...

Robin, I absolutely agree!

Tilda, I'm glad I'm not alone too!

And many thanks for your kind words on my story. I've been editing and adding to and am just about to send it out to the publishing world all on its own. Wish it luck!

Helena xx

Christina @ Fashion's Most Wanted said...

Dear Helena, I feel exactly the same about folding and buttery knives. I often go to sleep and try and remember what page I was on. It doesn't often work and I ended up re reading bits but I'm totally with you. Maybe I should try and find one of my many bookmarks xx said...

I'm not going to tell you what I sometimes (really, it's only sometimes) do as you might not speak to me again. To defend myself I must add that I often buy second-hand books that have already been manhandled by previous owners. And I would never fold the corners in a borrowed book.

And the buttery knife in jam: NO WAY *shudders*.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Haha, I don't read nearly as much as I should, lately but yet, I still have to agree. No page folding. That's like blasphemy! Well, except with disposable thrift store paperbacks, I've been known to bend the rules (and the pages) in those! :)

Hosted BES said...

The book piles in the image are so tempting. I feel like just going and dashing into a library. :)

Alison Cross said...

Bookmarks for me all the way! Never fold down corners of books; I'd rather rip out a page from a magazine and use it to mark my place!

I've even got sonshine using bookmarks now. You're never too young to learn good book manners!

Ali x

Mwa said...

I couldn't fold. But I did used to leave a book pristine while reading and now I will crack a spine if it makes it easier to open the book. That would have horrified my teenage self.

Fanny Pinkleton said...

I'd fold down the corners of crappy mass produced throwaway paperbacks, just like I fold down the corners on my newspapers so I can remember which articles I want to read over my toast and jam. But on precious books? The hundred year old ones? The beautiful and the treasured? Never.

Ruby Tuesday said...

OOps... I am in deep trouble here.. although I do try and use a piece of ribbon which only for the reason it looks so elegant... I do fold pages over.. most of my books look well read and I am especially guilty of dipping the knife in two things be it butter and jam or nutella and peanut butter kids go spare with me cos then I lick it xx

Helena Halme said...


I am shocked to the core. xx

Talli Roland said...

No no NO! Never fold over pages! That's just wrong.

Alison Cross said...

Just a quick note for *mwa* above, and anyone else who was not blessed with Mr Scobbie as an English teacher at secondary school:

How to open a book:

Firstly, grip all the pages in your left hand and firmly press open the back batter. Swap hands and press open the front batter.

Gradually release about 50 pages or so at a time in a similar fashion from the rear of the book then the front of the book...working your way into the middle of the book.

This means that you will never break the spine of a book and you can read every page with ease.

Mr Scobbie, your work here is done.....

Ali x

Devadeva Mirel said...

I dog-ear pages. Can I still read your blog? ;P

Please please please tell me where I can beg borrow or steal the jar in that picture!