I’ve always been a fan of the scent of books, bookstores and libraries. In an earlier post, I explained this peculiar attachment. Peculiar? Well – only to those who do not associate reading with their fondest memories I guess. Anyway – much to my delight – I ran across this explanation of my “fragrance festish”…written By Nancy Perkins in words much better than my own.
The Desire for Fragrance
I swear, the printing presses are all involved in a conspiracy to make us bibliophiles even more addicted to books. Don’t you ever wonder what the pages of books are laced with that they must smell so good? Walk into any old bookshop and you’ll understand what I mean. Aside from the fairy dust, you’ll get a whiff of “old book” smells that stay with you happily ever after. One fateful day, I finally discovered the long-held secret when I stumbled through this Tumblr post. To quote completely from Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez’ Perfumes: The A-Z Guide (because it just seems like desecration of holy words if I don’t):
Lignin, the stuff that prevents all trees from adopting the weeping habit, is a polymer made up of units that are closely related to vanillin. When made into paper and stored for years, it breaks down and smells good. Which is how divine providence has arranged for secondhand bookstores to smell like good quality vanilla absolute, subliminally stoking a hunger for knowledge in all of us.
That’s 66 words of divine revelation. For me, this just proves that God knew what He was doing when He created books for mankind.
Gartner, a technology research center, says that paper books are being read less frequently now in favor of digital books. Presently, I doubt that digital is going to completely replace paper, but nostalgia still tells me to urge you to not deprive yourself or your kids the experience of reading paper books. It was depressing to say the least when I scrolled through these photos of bookstores that have closed down.
There is beauty in reading the printed word. Ask anyone who has ever held, slept with, and breathed in a book. Reading a book, not the digital kind, is a story on its own.