About a week and a half ago, Eagle-Eyed Editor, a blogger I’ve recently come to admire, posted about souvenir book hunting. Now, I usually don’t bring books home from vacation, because I’m often traveling on the strength of one backpack. (A big one, to be sure, but you can’t do two weeks in England on one backpack and expect to be toting many purchases home with you.) Sure, there are exceptions – I brought a load of cookbooks back from California in 2009, for instance, and found ways to cram several teas into my backpack after last year’s trip to England. Oh, and mugs too. But my low-key travel preferences generally work for my souvenir-buying habits because what I really can’t resist on a trip is a new bookmark (or ten). Since I was a kid, I’ve collected bookmarks. I love ’em, and it recently occurred to me that they make perfect travel souvenirs for bibliophiles like myself. They’re tiny and flat, they fit easily in a purse or backpack, and they make me smile and remember the place I acquired them every time I use them (which is daily). So today, I thought I’d show you some of my favorites.
Since we’re talking about trips, these are three of the bookmarks I acquired in England. (I bought two more, but one is in use and one is AWOL. That’s a thing about bookmarks – they do tend to go missing and reappear with alarming frequency.) The one on the left is my favorite, because the place I bought it – the British Library – is easily one of my favorite places in London, if not the world. In the middle is a bookmark I spotted at the Bodleian Library in Oxford and had to have, and on the right is my souvenir from Shakespeare’s Globe in London (more on that visit to come in a future post). All three are leather, and beautiful, and I love using them.
While we’re on the subject of trips, here are three bookmarks I’ve picked up on various trips to New York City, all at the Strand, my most favoritest bookstore in the world. (Yes, my love for the Strand demands juvenile vocabulary.) I go every time I visit the 212, without fail, and I always leave with a bulging tote bag full of books, and a bookmark or two. The cardboard specimen on the left was an impulse buy near the register. The two metal bookmarks on the right were carefully considered purchases. (Yes, I put great thought into my bookmark acquisitions.) One is a miniature “subway sign” of the stop I use to go to the Strand – 14th Street and Union Square. The other is a cutout of the storefront that makes my heart skip a beat every time I approach it. (P.S. Mom, when we meet up for our girls’ day in NYC this summer, we’re going to the Strand. Sorry, but it can’t be helped.)
A bookmark addict like me can’t just restrict herself to buying while on vacation, though. I feed my addiction to leather bookmarks while playing tourist in my own town, too. I got this one this winter, one day when hubby took me out for a date to the National Gallery of Art, my favorite D.C. museum. Let me tell you, this isn’t the only bookmark I have from the National Gallery. That place is bookmark heaven. I can barely control myself.
Finally, here are a couple of my other favorite bookmarks. I have no idea where the “Reading Girl” bookmark came from, or when I got it, or how I came by it. I used to be really into “The Girls” (I have a “Tennis Girl” magnet on my fridge left over from my varsity days) and I probably got this bookmark then. I’ve had it forever, and I love it, because I am definitely a “Reading Girl.” The other bookmark is a recent acquisition. My mom and I were shopping at a paper goods store in my town where they had a display of “Keep Calm” goodies. I showed my mom and explained the British World War II slogan to her, then mentioned I’d been mulling over buying this bookmark for a few weeks. My mom gave me a look that plainly said, “Kid, loosen the purse strings,” and told me she was going to buy it for me. Unfortunately, it was $3.00, and she only had $1.00 on her. Like mother, like daughter. I actually had $2.00 – I was flush that day – so we split the cost and I got my long-desired “Keep Calm” bookmark. I use it exclusively for British mysteries and biographies of Queen Elizabeth.
That’s just a fraction of my frighteningly large collection of bookmarks. I’d show you more, but I don’t want to freak you out. What about you – are you obsessed with bookmarks? What’s your go-to travel souvenir?