I love my e-reader. It’s light; it’s powerful; it holds oh so many wonderful reads in one stylish rectangle of intelligent plastic. But I have a confession to make. Each night I feel daggers of pain shoot through my mercenary soul when switching the lights off and reaching for one of my many, and now increasingly redundant, bookmarks:
that postcard my sister sent me from a far-away country; the entry ticket to the Mauermuseum on Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin, with accompanying business card from the Starbucks Coffee House Checkpoint Charlie kept as a souvenirs; a quirky bookmark acting as publicity for a glorious Pizzeria visited on our holidays to Italy where the dough crisps up to perfection in wood-fired ovens. This particular bookmark comes complete with motivational quote to pull you through the dark days of winter: “Good wood does not grow easily: the stronger the wind, the more resilient the tree”; a clever magnetic clip that sticks to real pages with a quote (in German) from Virginia Woolf and her delicate profile in sepia tones; a cardboard label from a cool clothing brand in Italy (who needs Superdry when you can buy – preferably on a sale – Napapijri?); a business card from an Agriturismo in the Italian Eastern Dolomites, offering guests a holiday to remember with the clean conscience of eco-tourism.
The list goes on to include bookmarks created as ordinary bookmarks, and elevated to extra-ordinary status by collecting them in extra-ordinary locations: a free City Lights Bookstore bookmark celebrating the 60th anniversary of the bookstore on Columbus Avenue, San Francisco; a bookmark with a photo of Schloss Neuschwanstein, Germany, bought from the castle’s souvenir shop (remember the Disney princesses castles? Well, here is your original!); a bookmark celebrating the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2014, again with motivational quote from Kate Mosse, novelist and Chair of the prize. I could go on: an owl carved out of fleece hooked on a branch, received as a present; a delicate bamboo Japanese print bought at a Japanese exhibition in England.
And as I touch the cold screen of my e-reader to instruct it to shut down, I am safe in the knowledge that when firing it up again the next day, it will present to me the exact page I said goodnight to, no questions asked, no further instructions needed. A clinically perfect execution of my wishes. An equally perfect execution of my lovingly collected souvenirs, with more memories, inspiring quotes and bundles of sentimental reminiscence than one thousand Gigabytes could ever hold.