I treat all books like treasures, but I really do cherish my old books. Sure, new books are great because they continue stories that I have been following for years, but they’ll always be missing that one key element that old books have – the smell. Old books have a smell all their own, a kind of dusty, papery perfume that I can’t get enough of. It’s soothing to me. I guess that means I shouldn’t have called new books my crack in my last post, considering I don’t snort those. Joking! I totally don’t snort books…
Anyway, book smell is something that adds an extra sensory experience to reading. I reread my old books all the time, especially the ones that made up my childhood, like The Outsiders, There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom, and The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles (See previous posts for details), and I take pride in the fact that they have achieved that old book smell because it reminds me of how long I’ve had them and read them. One of my favorite TV characters of all time, Rupert Giles from Buffy, once explained his preference for books over computers by saying that books are smelly.
I agree with him 100 percent. Computers probably have their own smell, a somewhat metallic scent I think, but book smell will always be my aroma of choice.
There are some new books on my shelf now that I just know will sit on my shelf for years until they become old books. I can’t list them all, but if it’s by Garth Nix , Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, or Charlaine Harris, (See “New Books” post for links to their websites) you can bet it’s going to be in my possession until I’m old, senile, and incontinent. God I hope I will never be incontinent. What’s great is that these guys are coming out with new stuff all the time, which I can’t stress enough, because you really need to read these books. If you haven’t picked up a book by at least one of these authors by now, you can be pretty sure you are on my shit list. Happy tales!
— Rebecca Leviton