To Fold or Not to Fold

July 28 by

To Fold or Not to Fold

Recently a friend on Facebook posed the question, “Read to the end of the chapter before you stop to sleep, or just stop where ever you are and go to sleep?”  In the course of the question he also made the comment that (paraphrasing here) it was absolutely horrible to fold the edge of the page in a book to mark your place while reading.  Many comments followed, some saying yes I fold, many agreeing with the original post, that folding was seriously NOT okay.  Of course his original question was also addressed in these many comments! (it was a tie on the actual question last time I looked!).

A quick lesson on Facebook engagement before I go further with my commentary:  A great way to get folks to engage with your Facebook profile or page is to post a question that requires two sides of an issue or argument or thought process.  It creates an opportunity for your readers to interact with you, and with others who respond to your question.  It can also help you answer a question you might be grappling with yourself.  Or make you think about the way you do things.

When I read his question, I began to think about when I started reading, and why my take on the page folding issue is contrary to my friend’s take.  I’m in the corner of, yes, it’s fine to fold the corner of the page.   It’s also fine to write in a book, underline passages, and doodle in the margins.  Now, I can hear the collective gasp from those purists amongst you that hardily and religiously disagree with all of that.  My friend actually responded to my comment that I will fold with “QUIT it!”  Let me explain my stance here.

I started reading early in life.  My mom read to me when I was little, and she was a voracious reader.  So, as I grew up, I read all kinds of things.  From how-to books, to fiction, to nonfiction.  I read magazines, and newspapers, and most anything I could get my hands on.  In the course of all that reading, because we had to watch expenditures on extraneous things, I got second hand books quite often.  I would buy books at yard sales, second hand stores, etc.  So, of course, those books were not pristine.

When I would get a book with underlined passages, I would read those passages, and then my imagination would take over about why that particular passage might have been important to the previous reader.  If I got a book with notes in the margin – it was an added bonus!  Another clue to why the person loved or hated the book, or found something interesting about that particular page.  It was like being a voyeur, and seeing into the minds of other people.

Once I got to college, I bought mostly used books for my classes.  I always looked for used books with notes in the margins, and underlined paragraphs.  It was like having a cheat sheet for the classes I took.  And if I wound up with the same teacher the previous student had – SCORE!

Today, if I’m in a used bookstore, I’m scanning the pages of the books I find interesting for those same things.  Notations, pages flagged by creased corners, even the occasional message in the front of the book where someone gave the book as a gift, and noted why they gave it.  It adds a layer to the book it wouldn’t otherwise have.

Recently, I was culling the books that had been accumulated in my childhood home by my parents.  Though my dad wasn’t much of a reader as such, he still had a few books.  In the course of that culling, we quickly thumbed through various books to ensure that no pictures or money had been slipped between the pages.  We didn’t find any pictures, nor sadly money, but we DID find four leaf clovers that had been pressed in the pages of books of poetry, and a few inscriptions and underlined passages.  I didn’t have the luxury at the time of sitting down with these books and pouring over the pages where the clovers were pressed, or the pages that were underlined.  But I will sometime in the near future.

So, for me, you can keep your pristine, unmarked, untarnished paged books.  I’d much rather have those with a bit more character – character that doesn’t come necessarily from the written word of the author.



Cathy Lynn

About Cathy Lynn

Cathy Lynn is an artist, writer, executive trainer, and the co-owner of Inkwell Basics. She has published two coloring books, Conscious Coloring and Carnal Coloring. She's currently working on a novel, and turning her farm into an event venue. She previously blogged at 3 Shared Paths, a personal growth blog that was read worldwide, and has been blogging for over 10 years. She lives somewhere between the city and the country with her three cats, Sebastian, Miss Kitty, and Ella.

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