Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Smelling Books (Again)

In Which, Emphatically And Forever, I Decline To Care How Books Smell, Linda Holmes. I kind of want to marry this woman now.

My day-to-day experience of reading generally involves things that I am reading now, which often means relatively new books -- either new books, or newly acquired copies of old books. Now, I freely admit that if I get my nose within in inch of the paper, I can smell "book." Which, loosely defined, means "paper and ink." I cannot smell wisdom. I cannot smell memory, or the past, or people who were reading a hundred years ago and have handed down their tradition of reading by firelight.

You know when I sense wisdom? I sense wisdom from the words. For me, language contains wisdom and tradition and history, whether printed on a page, heard aloud, read on a screen, or recalled because it was meaningful.

Weird book smell people. Weird, weird, people.


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