Out My Window
Celebrating a Small Win

Unpacking My Library

This summer, Carole is hosting a Summer Reading program . . . to bring back that read-what-you-love, childish-pleasure "thing" to our reading. There's no particular structure to Carole's program (which is perfect for my personal reading style), just plenty of thinking - and talking - about reading.

For me, Carole's focus on reading has got my own gears moving, considering what I like best about books. Carole has inspired me to . . . unpack my own library.


I'm not picky about the format of books I read. I like "book-books" (what I call traditional, turn-the-pages books), and I like books on a reader (I have an iPad Mini, so I generally use that), and I like listening to books, too. They all work for me! I usually pick up library books in book-book form. If I'm going to buy a book, I generally do that electronically (I have a lot of shelf space, sure, but I'm not interested in amassing a huge collection of fiction). I do have an Audible subscription, so I can keep those audiobooks coming (and Tom prefers audiobooks, so I look for books we can share).

When I do purchase a book to keep, it nearly always falls into one of four categories: gardening books, cookbooks, art books . . . and poetry. Those are the kinds of books I like to grab off the shelf now and then . . . and read in willy-nilly fashion: just picking it up, opening it, and reading a bit whereever I land. (I usually find the just-right passage when I do that. It's an amazing thing.)

I take notes while I read books, and - unless it's a library book - I have no problem underlining, highlighting, or jotting notes right on the pages. I have books just jammed with post-it-notes and torn-paper bits marking favorite passages or other things I want to find later, and I really love the electronic notetaking/highlighting options that come with e-readers. When I read library books, I mark them with post-it-notes as I read, and I jot down notes on my phone. When I finish a book, I compile my notes-and-quotes in Google docs before I write my reviews, which I share on Goodreads. (This helps me cement the books in my mind a little better, and gives me a place where I can easily go back and remind myself about what I liked. . . or didn't.) If that all sounds overly academic, rest assured . . . I don't take many notes on most books I read, but I do usually make a list of characters at the very least. My note-jotting is solely for my own purposes -- to help me remember the books I read (some books lend themselves to note-taking and quote-saving; some . . . do not).

Sometimes I think I like reading book-books so much because I enjoy a deep, visceral pleasure in turning pages and using bookmarks! I'm pretty sure that taps deeply into my childhood love of reading and books. While I will use pretty much anything within easy reach as a bookmark (torn paper, envelopes, napkins, other books. . . ), I much prefer actual, REAL bookmarks to mark my place. 

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This is just a small smattering of bookmarks I regularly use. There are promotional booksmarks from local bookstores (I have tons of these), but some are more special; usually bookmarks I've received from friends. The cross-stitch bookmark in the first photo? Dee sent me that one, and it's my go-to bookmark right now. (Thanks again, Dee!) And that "collection" photo above? The Buddha is from Margene, the flowers are from Sarah, and the lovely watercolor is from Vicki (it's from her husband's New Island collection). It's like . . . reading with friends . . . whenever I mark my pages with these bookmarks.

Just for fun, here's a favorite classic bookmark . . . 

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Apparently, that is me . . . preserved forever on a pre-school Mother's Day gift from Erin in 1993. I smile every time I use it in one of my books.

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Sometimes I like bookmarks-as-inspiration. Like this one . . . that I'm currently using in my planner to mark my week. I like the message, and find it to be a good reminder for myself several times a day, whenever I check in with my daily to-do list.

How about YOU?

What are your reading preferences when it comes to books? How do you remember what you read -- or is that not really important to you at all? And . . . bookmarks? Yes or no!






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I, too, love bookmarks! Now I'm going to have to share mine on my blog one day. They are ALL special and have meaning. I've been in a book-book mood for some time. I have a kindle, but prefer to turn the pages of a "real" book. I have yet to really enjoy listening to books, so I don't go that route (though I've been thinking of it now and then...maybe trying it again). And, my Kindle is great for vacations (I used to lug a LARGE tote bag of books on every trip). Also, I'm another one who really enjoys reading cookbooks. (I have a box of cookbooks ready to donate...it's been ready for months and I've hesitated to donate...I'm afraid I'll miss one some day...)


My reading preferences in order are audiobooks, Kindle, then real books, but I'll take any format! I usually have a book going of each type, and some books just lend themselves better to certain formats than others. I let the book dictate whether I remember it or not. If it's got a terrific plot, remarkable characters, or was just a wonderful story, then I'm sure to remember it. (I'm thinking about The Shipping News, Shell Seekers, The Children Act, One Man's Meat ...) If the book was just average, I don't care whether I remember it or not. And yes to bookmarks. I have a lovely collection of ones that were made by the boys that I don't get to use often enough. I'll have to get them out!


I have fallen in love with ebooks because they are always with me via phone or iPad. I prefer paperish books for nonfiction and that is where most of my note taking happens. I love, love, love the library for all books so I go there first. I am not a book collector so once I have read a book, I am very likely to give it away. Bookmarks - love them and use them and collect them. I just ordered a photo strip with pictures of our small people to make into a bookmark.


I am 100% a book book reader.

My go to bookmark is the one you sent me. I am so glad you like the one I sent too.


I used to be very much a physical-book-only reader, but I've really embraced digital and audio formats, and like Juliann, I really like having a book with me wherever I go on my phone if I get stuck somewhere. I've definitely noticed that I am buying fewer physical books these days; I am much more likely to borrow a book from the library and, if I really, really love it, to buy a physical copy if I then want to have it in my personal library. I've also been doing a lot of weeding of my personal library lately, too, and feeding the books I really don't want or need anymore into the two Little Free Libraries in my neighborhood.


This is a great post and I'm so glad you have wholeheartedly embraced this year's no-rules-summer-reading. I will say, I miss turning pages (and my head) that you get when reading a physical book. However, reading without a light and having multiple books at my disposal has pushed the e-reader to the forefront for me for many years now. I also love how easy it is to save quotes and favorite passages with an e-reader. Dale has a journal that he writes quotes in, he really enjoys that process. Your bookmark collection is wonderful!


I prefer real books but will read on my Kindle as well. I tried audiobooks but couldn't concentrate on the story. I do love bookmarks though I also will use a piece of tissue, ripped note pages when needed.

I do love book marks. I have a few normal sized one's like yours and then I have a few smaller maybe 2 x 2 or less with a magnet that I like also. My local library (closed for remodeling and have a small one in a mall for now) used to have handmade bookmarks with stickers on them that were cute. I've been going to the library a town over but they don't have those.

I created my own book bingo sheet (no categories, just books I want to get off my shelf and library books) and I'm enjoying just finishing up series that I have had waiting for years and new books from the library. I spend too much time at the almost local used bookstore and found Thrift books online so while one pile went down others are piling up.


I love this post! Yay for readers everywhere and all the ways to read!

These days I am firmly in the e-reader/audiobook camp. I love them most and use them daily! I love that I can listen to a book and do other things (house work, art work, and yes, especially knitting/spinning!) But at night, I love having my iPad to read. Steve goes to sleep early... 8PM is about it for him. And I can read without disturbing him that way!

I have some book marks too! (but yes, I am a grab what ever is there kind of reader as well! :)


Love bookmarks. Lose most of them! Your post inspired me to find a receptacle in which to house them between use. Came up with the idea of a particularly large souvenir coffee cup - another collecting obsession of mine. This will not only free up a bit of space in my coffee cup cupboard, but will also make me smile at the memories of where I bought it. Mostly read book-books but have enjoyed Audible, and library-sourced audiobooks. Prefer the old-fashioned Kindle to iPad for books. Less glare.


Whoops. Not finished yet. (Given its length maybe I should call it Volume Two). Love the Little Free Libraries idea but have yet to find one in our new neighborhood, Rarely buy fiction these days. Use library or try to find a cheap sale copy somewhere so I can read it at my leisure, not to a deadline. My bookcase mainly consists of cookbooks and knitting books (go figure:). Rarely discard those (the week after I might do so, I need it back.). And a smattering of reference books. Have gleaned two new valuable ideas from your post. (1) A new idea to add to my family Christmas wish list for me: the latest IN PRINT Almanac. Was happy to see they still have those. And (2) a new idea for a child’s craft project. Love Erin’s.


Most of the books I read are paper or kindle. I love holding a real book! I'm not a big fan of audio for fiction because I'm too easily distracted. I have found that I enjoy some non-fiction or essay collections on audio. Like you, I have a collection of favorite bookmarks. I like to choose one for the particular book I'm going to read. I have a few that are many years old and a bit tattered, but they bring back memories of books I've read using that bookmark!


Yes! To bookmarks! I've a stack beside my reading spot in a book trolley full of books (some I buy and some are loans). I like a real book most of all, but a great audio book takes less time and can be very entertaining. I just can't get into e-readers.


Love my bookmarks - they are mostly from local bookstores I visit. (Not just locally!) and I’m like you - I embrace all formats but turning pages is still number 1. Great post Kym!


I like this post. I prefer book-books although I use an ipad and listen to audiobooks. I rely on my library for electronic audiobooks. I am fairly careful, these days, about buying books. I often order obscure hard to find titles used from Powells. I love bookmarks and have a collection. Many are from indy-bookstores I have visited. I have a few bookmarks that belonged to my Mom and two made by my kids. I have some from friends, including one from you.

As I am catching up, I will write that I loved the photo of your Mom and your reflections on the news and garden. You resemble your Mom in many ways.


My favorite bookmarks are the paint samples from somewhere like Home Depot. They are like these (https://www.homedepot.com/b/Paint-Ideas/Popular). I keep a stash of those plus others I have accumulated in a library fairy mug next to my bed.

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