Are you a corner folder, an enveloper or a proper bookmarker? I want to know how you keep your place when you are reading.

For years and years I would place whatever I had to hand between the most recently read pages of my book, reluctant to do anything to damage it. I love my books; I define myself by my books and have bookcases in almost every room of the house, each one full to brimming, as well as a Kindle stuffed with titles yet to read. Why would I want to vandalise something which means so much to me?

Then I started to share books with my daughter.

While she was always respectful of my books, when I borrowed one of hers it was dog-eared, spine-concertinaed and the pages annotated by her thoughts on the text. The book was totally and irrevocably Claire’s and I loved it. Reading a book after her was almost like reading it alongside her. And it got me thinking.

Why was I so keen to preserve my books in a way that made them look unread? Surely if the words had an effect on me, stayed with me, changed me even, it was justifiable for me to leave my mark on the pages? In fact, not only is it justifiable, shouldn’t it be expected?

I have taken a page out of Claire’s book (yeah, it’s a pun, deal with it) and now underline or comment on the words I read if they evoke an emotion from me, and you can follow my journey through each book by the corners I turned down to mark the places where I stopped to rest and take in the scenery before moving on another day. Granted, it’s a bit harder to do this in an ebook, but I can ‘bookmark’ each place I stop and highlight text as I go along.

If I am loaned a book I wouldn’t presume to leave my mark on it. It would be bookmarked using a piece of card or old envelope But I’d like my books to show their life, wrinkles and all.

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