A few words about book-reading. To an extent, the Kindle has spoiled me. You can highlight passages to remember for later, and in fact, you can write notes to yourself–which I don’t do, so I’m not even sure how that works. So now I will reveal my method for remembering passages from library books. It’s considered very bad form to dog-ear pages, or underline, or highlight in a library book. Although I have gotten library books where people have, in pencil, corrected mis-prints by adding an insertion mark and the missing word, or crossing out unnecessary letters. Every time I see this, I think, this person must have been an English teacher! I’m pretty particular about words and language myself, but I am not that obsessive.
So my secret is–Post-It Notes. How did we ever live before Post-It Notes? I consider them one of the finest achievements of mankind. Forget the airplane and cell phones and the Internet. Post-Its rank right up there with Greenies Pill Pockets. These are yummy little dog and cat snacks with a hole in the middle. They are very soft, so you can insert a pill into the hole, close it up, and feed it to the dog or cat without losing your hand. Since my dog Troughton has to have thyroid pills twice a day, and since he’s a Doberman, I just can’t overemphasize how Greenies have changed my life. And anyone who has ever tried to give a pill to a cat will grasp this even more.
There are a bunch of jokes out there about how to give a cat a bath, or how to give it a pill. Most of them start with, “First, put on a suit of armor”.
You can get some cat antibiotics which come in liquid form. I once had to give a cat liquid Ampicillin,and he loved it. It was cherry-flavored. But every time before we got to the point of him loving it, I would have to hold him down and force his mouth open. That was the Not Fun part.
But back to Post-Its. What I do is put a Post-It on that first blank page just behind the front cover (there’s a name for that page, but…) Then I write down page numbers on it when something in the book I really want to remember really jumps out at me.
This is not a foolproof system. One thing that happens is that I read a lot at my picnic table in the back yard, weather permitting. Something will really stand out–a quote or a description, usually–and I won’t have a pen. The other thing that happens is that after finishing the book, I’ll go back to one of those pages and not be able to find what I thought was so fascinating there.
I have to laugh at myself and my failures of memory. On the other hand, when I think back, my memory is far more detailed now than when I was younger. In those days, while I read just as much, many more issues and priorities intruded. Primarily what I will politely refer to as, hormonal issues.
So the book I just finished, “The Lost City of Z”–about which I intend to post more–was a two Post-It Note book. The book was very rich.