… open your book, close your eyes, inhale….

A smell of books, a book of smells

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It starts off as a book; a few matte, grainy pages. A poem, some short essays.

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©readinginterrupted.com

Scents – Günter Grass

The moment I open one of those books

I read so avidly

as a boy still finding myself,

the smell of old paper still captures me;

for just as a dog leaves his scent

to mark the boundaries

of his territory,

securing his wide-spread realm,

so I am surrounded by books

to which odours cling;

to read is to absorb scents.

(trans. Breon Mitchell)

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How did Geza Schoen translate the smell of paper into a perfume?

“Think of the million of pages turned so far in your life, from newspapers, books, magazines, and catalogues. What attributes come to mind to describe the olfactory sensation of this basic material? How about: dry, fatty, pungent, chemical and linoleum. Now, turn it all into a perfume.”

And then the bottle.  In the book.  Like a secret.  A scent to be read.  Pages to be smelled.

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©readinginterrupted.com

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The smell of a book isn’t limited to one paper scent, of course.

Remember Rachel Morrison, senior library assistant at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art Library: readinginterrupted.com/nosyreaders.  She is categorizing all different books smells from “very smoky, campfire, fireplace” to “antique store, old wooden furniture” to “cloves, cigar.”

…. Open your book, close your eyes, inhale….