Category Archives: books

Tell me about your bookmarks

Today the kittens watched me take a bath for the first time (er, it was their first time watching, not the first time I ever took a bath). They were fascinated (and a little apprehensive) about all the water, but they stayed as close as possible. By the time I was ready to get out, Sir William had progressed from observing the water at a distance to dipping a paw in the tub and splashing around. He’s also been fascinated by the toilet lately, so I should probably keep an eye on him.

Anyway, if you read the title of this post, it’s obviously not about kittens and baths. No, I’m posting because I need to know–readers, what is your relationship with bookmarks?

As an author and an avid reader, I’ve accumulated more than my fair share of bookmarks over the years. And yet, if you asked me to produce one for you right this moment, I don’t know if I could. Nor can I remember the last time I used one. I’m not anti-bookmark or anything–I think they’re wonderful book-accessories, and I’ve seen (and owned) some great ones. I just never use them, and I never seem to be able to find a good place to store them, and therefore they disappear. I’ve probably left a trail of hidden bookmark burial grounds in every place I’ve ever lived.

So what do I do to pick up where I left off? Either I use whatever’s closest at hand–usually a receipt or an empty envelope–or I just remember, somehow. It probably helps that I go through books quickly, so it’s not that difficult to flip through and reach the part that looks familiar. Sometimes, if the book has a dust jacket, I’ll use one of the flaps to mark my place (front cover flap at the beginning; back cover flap as I reach the end). However, I refuse to dog-ear pages. I’m more comfortable writing on a book (in PEN, even!) than bending the corner of a page.

So. Is this common, or do you have a trusty bookmark (or several trusty bookmarks) that are always close at hand? Tell me about your bookmarks. I don’t think I’ll ever use bookmarks regularly, but I’ll always admire them as little bookish treats.

Book vs. movie: which do you tackle first?

I’m about to go watch The Help, and for once, I haven’t read the book first. I was discussing books vs. movies with a coworker yesterday, and while we both agreed that a book is usually better than the movie based on it, I was having trouble putting my finger on why I prefer to read the book first. Either way, the ending will be ruined for me in one of the mediums, right? So why should it matter which comes first?

And yet it does. So without further ado, here are my top reasons to read the book first:

You get to imagine the characters and situations for yourself, without the actors from the movie overwriting your imagination. And you don’t have to worry about your imagined version of the story overpowering what you’ll see on screen, since film is a visual medium. Just try to remember how you pictured Harry Potter before you saw the movies!

It takes longer to read a book than to watch a movie. For example, The Help is 530 pages. I read about a page a minute, so the book will take me nine hours to finish. By contrast, the movie is only two hours and seventeen minutes. I don’t mind already knowing the ending if I’m only investing two hours, but I do mind if I’m investing more than four times that. Knowing the ending prevents me from getting lost in a book, but it doesn’t prevent me from enjoying a movie. Your mileage may vary, of course.

How about you? Do you prefer reading the book first, or watching the movie? Or do you choose one over the other? Let me know in the comments!