In Let's Bring Back, Lesley M. M. Blume mentioned an intriguing habit I never would have thought of: "Years ago, I began recording where and when I had read each book on the inside of its front cover..."
She goes on to write:
"..for example, Nancy Cunard: Heiress, Muse, Political Idealist was read on my honeymoon; The Sheltering Sky was read while I was travelling through Morocco, D.V. was first read on the beach in Dubai. Taking these books off the shelves and reading the inscriptions takes me back to these evocative journeys.."
I haven't started doing the same, but I have been making mental notes of where I've read great books: I read the first half of D.V. lounging poolside in Tuscany and the second half lounging on my love's patio while butterflies flitted around the potted herbs. I read some of the pieces from Endless Feasts: Sixty Years Of Writing From Gourmet flying back to San Francisco after my first trip to New York City, others on the flight to start my new life in rural Illinois, and the rest on that very same patio. I plowed through David Sedaris' Let's Discuss Diabetes With Owls while flying to Chicago after my dreamy trip to Detroit, and cursed the short flight for ending before I'd finished the last three essays.
Even if you don't actually inscribe your books, do you remember where you were when you read them?