That Old Book Smell

36200236_10208754799145745_7695811495774388224_nSometimes a scent can trigger a memory more quickly than any of the other senses. I love the scent of an old book, especially an old library book. I don’t know what it is but it reminds me of childhood trips to the library, of adventures through far away lands and countless stories that I have read in my lifetime.

An old book smells a little woody, sometimes even smoky. There’s a tinge of mustiness, dust and something I can’t identify. It’s a familiar, reassuring smell that makes me comfortable and calm. It may sound a little weird but an old book is one of my favorite scents.

This little book called “Bigger and Bigger” was written and illustrated by Inez Hogan and was first published in 1942. This copy was printed in 1966 and came to me from River Bluffs Regional Library. Off topic a little – I Googled the library and learned that it’s in St. Joseph, Missouri which looks like a nice town.

Anyway, I’m a huge fan of illustrations of the forties and the art in this little book reminds me of some Little Golden Book illustrators of that period. That’s why I thought about buying it. However, the clincher was when I smelled the book it took me back to the third grade, to the little library on Main Street in McArthur with the old circ desk and wooden card catalog where it seemed all the world was before me, one book at a time. It sounds silly but I miss that place. New libraries are brightly lit and packed with technology that also gives you the world at your fingertips but there was nothing like that old place.


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