I am currently cataloging a collection of books published in the mid-twentieth century and I can't stop sniffing them! Every time I open one of these volumes, I'm enveloped by the spicy scent of old paper, the sharp tang of ink, and just the faintest whiff of mildew and dust.
Granted, mildew isn't anyone's favorite aroma (when was the last time you saw Mildew Perfume at the fragrance counter?) but just a trace of it -- mixed with old paper and ink and cracked leather and dried glue -- puts me in mind of dusty used bookstores...a forgotten corner of a library...or boxes of old children's books stored away in an attic or basement waiting for the grandkids to discover.
Today, every time I opened one of these volumes, I found myself sticking my face down into the inside margins -- known as the gutter -- and breathing deep. And I was struck again by how perfectly shaped books are. No matter how wide your cheeks, or how narrow your nose, everyone's face fits perfectly with the pages of an open book. All you have to do is adjust the covers a bit.
Try sticking your head in a Kindle.I love the smell of old books, too, even the whiff of mildew, and this brought it all back. Thanks, Peter!