Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

That old book smell

with 2 comments

The dollar bin at the Strand Bookstore

Lignin, the stuff that prevents all trees from adopting the weeping habit, is a polymer made up of units that are closely related to vanillin. When made into paper and stored for years, it breaks down and smells good. Which is how divine providence has arranged for secondhand bookstores to smell like good quality vanilla absolute, subliminally stoking a hunger for knowledge in all of us.

—Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, Perfumes: The Guide (courtesy of Reddit)

Written by nevalalee

March 23, 2013 at 9:50 am

2 Responses

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  1. I like this post very much! There is no other smell than that of a book – old or new. I swear I can smell the books in the picture! Wish you could bottle that old book smell.

    literary imprint

    March 23, 2013 at 9:58 am

  2. Agreed—I’ve been known to open copies of the books on my own shelves and just inhale.


    March 23, 2013 at 9:36 pm

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