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The Binder

June 3, 2010
The Binder

Back when I started this project, when it was a private obsession, I printed off the list of books on impulse and highlighted the titles of the books I had read. I spent several hours poring over these pages—looking at what The Guardian’s committee of book reviewers had chosen to include, which ones I had enjoyed, which ones I wanted to read, pondering titles I had never heard of but was intrigued by.

Once I had decided to read my way through the entire list, I punched holes in the pages, and slipped them into a slender red binder I had once used to hold my research for a trip to England. I remember specifically seeking it out because it has a flexible paper cover that makes it easier to travel with than the rigid binders most commonly used today. It’s a casual sort of binder, like a favourite pair of jeans or sneakers that have been broken in just right.

Every time I finished reading a book from the list, I would go through the highly satisfying ritual of finding the title in the binder and highlighting it. At first I restricted myself to only using yellow. Then one time I used a highlighter that turned out to be a very different shade of yellow. For a moment it bothered me that it stood out, but then I realized how ridiculous I was being and from that point it didn’t matter what colour I used. I inserted a blank page at the front of the book and every so often I would count up the number of books I had read and scrawl a note on this page with the date:

March 30, 2009 – 82 read
May 8, 2009 – 90 read
October 13, 2009 – 94 read
December 31, 2009 – 98 read

Then earlier this year my little red binder disappeared. For the first while I was confident it would turn up.  We’re not the most organized people in the world in my household and things have a way of disappearing and reappearing in their own good time. The last time I remembered having it was on a weekend break DH and I had taken to Buffalo in February. I sometimes take it along with me when I think I’m going to visit a second-hand book store.

When I began this blog and added the Progress Report page I went through and marked of what I had read from memory, but I am terrible at remembering titles and I was missing my little book. I knew I had read some Wodehouse for instance, but which ones? Which Hammetts had I read and which ones were left to go? Did I read The Mysterious Affair at Styles or only think about it? It was decidedly less satisfying to go through the list online and cross things off.  Over time I grew more curious about the binder’s whereabouts and by mid-May I had convinced myself that I had left it in the drawer of the bedside table in a hotel room in Buffalo. I would sigh inwardly every time I thought about it.

I believe that the subsection of Murphy’s Law pertaining to Missing Things, were it to ever be written down, would state that the likelihood of a Missing Thing being found is highest when at least one of two conditions has been met: a)one sincerely resigns oneself of ever seeing said item again b)the item has been replaced and/or becomes obsolete. Guess what turned up under the couch about 10 days ago?

May 24, 2010 – 107 read.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2010 18:29

    This makes me happy in so many different ways. 😉

    • October 13, 2010 18:50

      Linda, I’m happy when you’re happy. I aim to please. Glad you liked the post.

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