Tangled Up in Blue: Dog-eared

Along the shores of Resurrection Bay is a good place to read a good book. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)

Along the shores of Resurrection Bay is a good place to read a good book. (Photo by Kat Sorensen)

I never used bookmarks when I was growing up. I devoured books, both with my avid reading and my pervasive habit of marking all the pages.

I dog-eared pages, wrote notes in the margins, highlighted, doodled and inscribed my name on all books that entered my personal library, even if they weren’t meant to stay there.

I was never destructive with my books, though, not like my mother. If you lend my mother a book, chances are she’ll drop it in a pool, lose half of it in a fight with a dog and sell the other half at the flea market Sunday. I’m always wary when I lend a book to her.

But, I never thought twice when I borrowed books from others and took to my more subtle form of destruction. I didn’t ask before writing anecdotes on the sidelines of my friend’s copies of George Saunders’ stories. I could never sell my college textbooks or reading assignments back to the bookstore, they were always listed as “poor condition,” although I would argue the notes I left behind increased the value.

My habit has led to joy, though. I’ve held onto a friend’s copy of “A Fan’s Notes” for far too long but have enjoyed the shared notes on its pages, scrawled in different handwritings from him to me, from different times.

And I’ve tried to stop defacing my reads by going digital, but I can never maintain interest in my e-reader long enough to make it a habit.

A few months, ago, I borrowed a book. It was one of a mystical series that I probably would love but I was too scared to crack open its pages.

I didn’t trust myself with the copy. It was loaned to me with the understanding that it was special, with history and meaning to the lender.

I imagined myself turning into my mother, a reflection I’m starting to see more and more these days, and dropping the book off the side of a boat and then immediately into an eagle’s mouth, who then tosses it into a campfire back onshore.

Or, more realistically, I saw myself reading it before bed and then habitually dog-earing the page.

So, I got some bookmarks.

I used an old receipt, or an actual bookmark from the library, and kept track of where I was in the book.

And the habit’s stuck with me. I’ve retained this caring, this appreciation for the sanctity of a singularly marked page, with just the author’s words for the reader’s sole interpretation.

I haven’t been writing in my books, or dog-earing the pages.

I’m no longer leaving a trace of where I’ve been and how I’ve felt, instead I’m hoping that I can pass my hard copies on, and let the next reader do so uninterrupted.

They won’t see a sad part coming because I’ve written “how tragic” in the margins, or force a laugh when I’ve written “ha ha!”

They’ll have their own experience, their own story. They’ll have the pages all to themselves, and they’ll be able to form new connections, take their own breaks, follow their own journey.

And I’ll be able to take my bookmark, and use it for the next chapter of whatever book I pick up next.


By KAT SORENSEN

For the Clarion


More in Sports

tease
Saturday baseball: Soldotna topples Kenai for NLC title

The Soldotna baseball team defeated Kenai Central 2-1 on Saturday for the… Continue reading

tease
Saturday softball: Kodiak tops Soldotna to defend NLC title

The Kodiak softball team defeated Soldotna twice on Saturday at Palmer to… Continue reading

The Kenai Central High School girls celebrate after a goal by Katie Johnson during the ASAA Soccer Division II State Championships at Veterans Memorial Field in Wasilla, Alaska, on Saturday, May 25, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Central girls, Soldotna boys claim DII soccer titles

Both programs rise to top for 1st time

TEASE
Soldotna softball reaches NLC final, earns 1st state berth since 2017

The Soldotna softball team secured its first Division II state berth since… Continue reading

Soldotna senior Kaleb Swank dribbles around a West Anchorage defender Friday, April 5, 2019, at Soldotna's Justin Maile Field. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)
It’s Kenai-Juneau girls, SoHi-Juneau boys for Division II state soccer titles

The Kenai Central and Juneau-Douglas: Yadaa.at Kale girls, and Soldotna and Juneau… Continue reading

tease
Kenai, Soldotna baseball will play for NLC title Saturday

The Kenai Central and Soldotna baseball teams will play for the Northern… Continue reading

tease
Kenai, SoHi, Homer girls; SoHi boys advance to DII state soccer semis

The Soldotna boys and SoHi, Kenai Central and Homer girls all advanced… Continue reading

tease
Kenai, Soldotna baseball advance to NLC semis

The Kenai Central and Soldotna baseball teams advanced to the semifinals of… Continue reading

Most Read