I’ve always cheerfully owned up to being one who bookmarks by dog-earring books.
But the other day, I realized something.
I usually only dog-ear novels. It’s a totally different story when it comes to nonfiction.
I was coming downstairs, groggily in search of my morning coffee, when I noticed I’d left a book I was reading on the dining room table. In order to save my place in it, I’d left it open and face down.
Then I turned my head, and saw that I’d left another book, opened and face down to save my place, on the pass-through from the kitchen to the sitting room.
Both books were nonfiction works. (I’ve been on a bit of a nonfiction kick lately).
Eventually, I got my coffee made, and took it with me into the office. And lo and behold! There were another two nonfiction books, both opened and face down on my desk.
Intrigued, I went through the whole house. Yes. I apparently have this habit of leaving nonfiction books lying around opened and face down, so I won’t lose my place in them. This was actually news to me.
Here’s what I found lying around the house:
Dining room table: Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out, by Marci Shimoff. I’ve only just started this book (even though it’s on its last renewal from the library) and it’s been a fun read so far. I think a spiritual practice that incorporates a whole lot of happiness is really the way to go, so occasionally I like to dip into books like this one.
Kitchen pass-through: Thinking Write: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind, by Kelly L. Stone. I discovered this book over at Janel’s Jumble, and put it on my next online book shopping list, which happened the other day (it’s Ward’s birthday this weekend, so I had to go online to buy cookbooks. I had to. Right? Yes. It was an absolute must. So, since I happened to be there anyway, you know, buying books …)
Also on the kitchen pass-through: Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need, by Blake Snyder. I didn’t see this one the first time around, because I’d put Thinking Write on top of it. And no, I’m not making any plans to become a screenwriter (although I was very tempted to do Script Frenzy this month). But I’d heard this book recommended as a great book for novelists, too, so I bought it a while back.
I’ve been getting a lot out of it – it’s written in a very easy to read style, and there are a lot of writing gems in it that I’ll be applying to my own writing. As for the name, in case you were wondering what exactly is meant by the title, Save the Cat:
I call it the “Save the Cat” scene. They don’t put it into movies anymore. And it’s basic. It’s the scene where we meet the hero and the hero does something – like saving a cat – that defines who he is and makes us, the audience, like him.
Ever since I read that, I’ve been watching out for “Save the Cat” moments in every movie I watch!
On my desk (1): Live a Life You Love, by Susan Biali. I received this book from publicist Lisa Roe a while back, and recently took it down from my to-be-read bookshelf to glance over it. I was really glad I did! The steps outlined in the book are very much in tune with my own intentions for my life, and it’s nice to have an occasional refresher.
On my desk (2): What Should I Do with My Life?, by Po Bronson. A while back, my sister Dawn raved about What Should I Do with My Life? She’d lent it to a friend, so rather than wait for its return, I ended up buying my own copy. As is the way in my reading life, that was at least a year ago, and I only just recently saw it on my shelves and decided to read it. I’ve only just started, but it looks like it’s popping into my life with perfect timing.
On my nightstand (1): Admit One: My Life in Film, by Emmett James. Another thank you to Lisa Roe, who also sent me this memoir by actor Emmett James. James uses such a unique framework:
I wrote this book under the guise that the key to experiencing film, without losing relevance and meaning, is context. The environment, mood, personal history and circumstances in which a person sees a film changes that film in a necessary, unique, and exciting way. It creates a whole new story – a living, breathing film. The film of one’s life. That being said, I present to you my story. I hope you will in turn recount your own with similar reverence.
Actually, just reading that paragraph, which is in the introduction to the book, started me thinking about the role movies (as in going-to-the-theatre movies, not now-in-DVD movies) have played in my own life.
On my nightstand (2): An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard. I seem to have a thing for memoirs on my nightstand! Dillard’s beautiful memories of her childhood make for such a wonderful read. This copy came to me courtesy of Bookmooch, where I’ve recently had a nice run of luck in terms of getting titles placed on my wish list.
On the living room coffee table: Life-Changing Weight Loss, by Kent Sasse. Because, you see, it’s April, which means shorts season will be upon us shortly. Some of you might remember I tried, unsuccessfully, to do a fitness challenge last winter (do NOT look over to the sidebar because at this moment, I see I’ve forgotten to take down the little badge and very sad-looking update bar). The lovely Joanne McCall had sent me a review copy of this book a while back, and I’m very pleased to have the inspiration.
Next to the treadmill: And speaking of inspiration, I recently, rather ingenuously, if I do say so myself, set up one of my desktop art easels on my treadmill, so now I have the option to read as well as listen to an audiobook when I do my daily 30 minutes of walking. (It’s been raining here, or I’d be outside doing those 30 minutes). X-treme Parenting: A Baby Blues Treasury, by Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman is now lying open on the shelf next to the treadmill – I discovered I got through the 30 minutes much more easily while reading this (not to mention laughing out loud occasionally).
I’m not sure why it is that I prefer to keep my place in nonfiction books by leaving them face down and open, but there you have it. These books were lying all around the house. And then what happens? Ward cleans up, and he, being a bookmarker, closes them all, marking my place by sticking a scrap of paper between the pages.
How do you keep track of the page you’re on? Do you dog-ear, lay open or bookmark? And have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?