The scent of a book

October 8, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Our sense of smell seems particularly powerful and is able to evoke memories thought lost forever.

Whenever I take my son to school, we pass a particular point and I smell a certain smell that always takes me straight back to when I was in kindergarten. I’ve no idea what that smell is, but it’s a strong memory from my childhood.

When we had some bad floods near where we live a couple of years ago, I remember some people talking about how the smell of mud would always haunt those who lost their homes. As soon as they smell it, they would be taken back to that horrible event when everything they owned was destroyed by water and dirt.

And then there’s the scent of a book.

What is it about a book’s smell? It doesn’t seem to matter to me whether it’s brand new or ancient (although I think the old ones do smell better). The smell of the ink on pages and the smell of paper evokes wonderful memories for me, as I recall the magic I experienced when turning the pages of my latest discovery. And can anything compare with the scent when someone enters the door of a second hand bookstore? Not only is there beauty before your eyes, but the delightful scent of dusty print and old hardback.

I can imagine the smell of books might bring back bad memories for some people, but I am glad that, to me, it always smells like home.