Tales of an Accidental Bookmark


A couple Saturdays ago, I attended a library sale and made out like a bandit. I've been reading ever since.

As a substitute teacher who walks to work, I am able to get a lot of reading in. For one of the first books I picked up, I grabbed a buy-me card for a LIFE book (this one) from the recycling bin and it became my bookmark, and has remained such since.

I like, with my bookmarks, to write on them which books they have graced--it makes for an interesting travelogue o' literature.

This particular bookmark has been traveling quickly, but it's not much to look at and doesn't have much open space to write down titles. It can't last long.

But here's where it's been so far:

Joyce Carol Oates

Heavens. I have read, oh, three of this woman's short stories before and I had been duly impressed, but not until I read this portrait of evil did I realize how potent she can be. This book is cruel. I read it with my jaw agape and my face contorted in horror. It may well be the worst thing I have ever read. Q— P— is certainly the worst character.

Go buy your own copy today.

But only if you're willing to get a handgun license.

The Te of Piglet
Benjamin Hoff

Some time ago, someone (Master Fob?) lent me The Tao of Pooh, which combined my beloved Taoism and my beloved Milne. So to read the followup for only a kennedy-head seemed a good deal. And it was.

It has been some years now since I read the first of Hoff's books so perhaps this undercurrent ran through the first book also, I don't know. But I was startled every time his happy Taoist philosophy was interrupted by harangues against International Corporations or Powergrubbing Politicos or Treechopping Whatsits. Of course, these are topics Lao Tze would not have ignored, but they always caught me off guard. And sometimes overwrought The good news is, Hoff sees a return to Paradise around the corner, so that's good. Woo hoo! Paradise!

But both books are wonderful and I love Taoism and if you're interested, read Hoff's books. (Cuz there won't be any more.)

Just don't blame me if you move to the mountains.

(My Chinese history professor had that happen to him. Nice but struggling Mormon boy sent to BYU by his parents to get his priorities in order. Signs up for a class in Chinese history. Takes his camping equipment and abandons civilization to become a Taoist. Parents presumably displeased.)

The Poems of Stephen Crane

This is an old book, and my library discard has a cover in better shape than the one Amazon found to represent it. It's a great edition--the illustrations by Nonny Hogrogian are terrific. But really, all you really need is the poems themselves, which are excellent.

All I knew of Crane's poetry before today was, of course, War Is Kind. I also knew this one, but did not know it was Crane's.

War Is Kind is typical Crane. The man is the Great American Ironist. I gave him that name after reading this one on the heels of War Is Kind. He totally deserves it.

Yet he can also be sweet and deeply religious (although, generally, I imagine calling God cold didn't go over too well with his dozens of Methodist Minister cousins).

He is unbelievably modern. His work I can imagine being written by any twenty-something friend of mine who suffers from love or war or pain or worry or ambition....

But if I were Crane, I would be dead.

Think about that next time life seems hard.


I intended to retire the bookmark at three. But before I got home, it found its way into Miss Misery ($1).

Long live the bookmark.


  1. That is such a good idea! I have about 11 zillion bookmarks....and now I'm going to start putting them to good use!

  2. Yeah, it was probably my copy of Tao of Pooh you borrowed. I was hoping you'd convert to Taoism.


  3. I do the same thing, but my bookmark scoffs at me with the words:

    "To do: learn to read one day."

  4. I try not to get attached to bookmarks, because I lose them. Actually, I don't usually use them. I just remember the page number I was on.