One of my favourite uses for the Foglietto cards is as a bookmark.

In a previous life I could and did use anything as a bookmark: receipts, a torn-off bit from a piece of a paper, disposable chopstick wrappers, kids’ homework, to-do lists, library check-out slips, library check-out slips a previous patron had left in the book, clothing tags, pens, a notebook, a butter knife, a child’s sock, etc.

But over the last little while I have been using these Foglietto cards as a bookmark and on which to take notes while reading the book. While reading, I write down quotes, page numbers, references I need to look up, words I don’t know. Sometimes I jot down completely unrelated things that are on my mind, keeping my monkey brain distracted. Getting it onto paper is helpful if I’m out in the world, but even at home, at night, putting it down here prevents me from needing to get up and find my Hobonichi or, even worse, breaking out my ipad, completely derailing what limited focus I can muster these days.

And the cards also serve as a souvenir of my reading! I have a small stack of them, each one accrued over the days and weeks and hours of reading completed, and there is a growing satisfaction with each one I add to the pile. In addition to the quotes and notes from the book, the stickers and stamps are a reminder of the season of life I was in when I was reading it.

One of my favourite parts of this ritual is setting up the card.

After choosing the next book to read (always a fraught delight! So many books, so little time), I select a card: what colour? What ruling? Usually it’s at random. Once upon a time I had visions of drawers neatly organized and then I let children into the house.

Once I’ve got my book, I add the appropriate accouterments of washi tape, stickers or stamp, writing the title and date, and maybe any notes on where I got the book from, if it was a recommendation or a gift or a library find. I decorate even as I’m reading the book, adding things as I go. Sometimes I try and match the theme of the book, however loosely, and other times I’m matching the theme of life (seasons, holidays, things I’m enjoying, new stationery supplies I happen to have on hand).

It’s the same on the back, although sometimes I do a very loose tracking of page numbers.

I have a daily reading goal of 50 pages, which is hit or miss, but my current “system” of tracking is to note the date and what page I’m on, with the intention of seeing the page I start on the next day. This non-system isn’t super functional in part because I’m not regularly hitting my goal, and also because I tend to read several books at a time, and also because I’m not consistent with tracking even when I am reading, as sometimes I’m just dipping into a couple of pages while waiting to pick up the kids or while dinner is on the stove.

I’m mostly just enjoying having fun with my stationery, especially as a means of motivating me to read. I’m trying not to be too brutal with reading goals, but I think I need some discipline, especially when there are too many competing priorities (and distractions).


In any case, here is an alternative view from my reading time, baby napping, curtains closed. These two goofballs, living their own alternative existence, in a parallel world.

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May 08, 2023 — Liz Chan
Tags: Foglietto



Paul said:

I always love these blogs. Some suggestions from later in life:

Your goal in reading shouldn’t be pages but a moment of disciplined escape from everyday anarchic life.

While the universal rule is: never wake a sleeping baby, later on, children will not tug on your sleeve for attention, but push it away for independence: Enjoy their attention while you have it.

Right now, I am enjoying my Foglietto cards. Thanks for all of that.


Heidi said:

What a lovely idea, and such a beautiful souvenir as well! If a book I’m reading is my own copy I tend to just write notes in the margins. In pencil, I’m not a monster. :D


Anu said:

Your annotated bookmarks are brilliant—such a great idea!
I always enjoy your blog posts; you write well, in an engaging fashion. The posts could become very good book, a project for all your surplus spare time ; )

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