I do not need to repeat that I love books and have been reading since I was a kid. What is new for you guys is that I had developed this habit from my mother who read a lot, and she still does, mostly in Assamese. She loves solving crossword too, putting her vast stock of words to use. 🙂 Back in time, inspite of her busy schedule of bringing up 3 daughters and doing all the household chores herself, she still managed time for a page or two every day. In those days, I was a voracious reader, yes, literally voracious. I read almost anything &everything that was fiction. I loved to be transported to a world of the author’s making, living a life with them for some time. I was such a reader that when I had nothing else, I read my elder sister’s English text book which contained some stories too. Soon after I was able to read and write Assamese (my mother tongue) comfortably, I started reading my Maa’s novels, magazines, etc. from her young days, too. The battererd, bruised and beaten covers – hard cover as well as paperback, yellowed loose pages, a silverfish (I guess that’s what the worm in the books is called!) crawling out with some rapid movement and the peculiar whiff of smell that comes out of it – it was bliss…totally!! And soon I would be found lying on my belly and getting lost in those yellowed pages.
There is something about the smell of books. For me, there are two types of smell of a book. A new one smells great and seems to conjure up expectations & a sense of thrill that the words of the author will provide me with. And the old one smells even better. It brings nostalgia – memories of those good old summer & winter holidays when I could get lost in my favourite books without worrying about anything else & those late night reading sessions hiding under the covers after light-out – Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew/Enid Blyton/Tinkle in one hand & a torch light in the other. I can never forget inhaling the bookish smell that was trapped inside my blanket. Then there was the peculiar rustic smell of the libraries. It was as much part of the rows of books as their contents.
For me, an e- book can never take the place of a good, ol’ paper book. The touch, the smell, the thrill in turning the pages to reveal the many mysteries & twists and turns – naah, an e-book cannot, can ever, beat all these. I know people will tell me about its convenience and many other attributes, which I do not deny at all. But for me there’s something irreplaceable about a printed book.
Here’s what I found about the bookish smell in Google:
“A combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness” is how an international team of chemists describes the unique odor of old books in a study”.
I also found another interesting thing; I guess some e-readers might be interested: http://smellofbooks.com/
Do you like the smell of books? What does it mean to you?
This post is my (1st) submission to Write Tribe‘s Wednesday prompt (to be posted within a week):
“The smell of old books
Work it into a story, a poem, an essay……”