props + sets

Journal

Why Do Old Books Smell So Good?

books
books

Don't you love the smell of old books? The smell of pages and pages of aging books is one of my favorite things about a library. I also love running my hands across the books as I stroll down the aisle thinking two things: 1) "I wish I could absorb all the knowledge contained in these books just by touching them." and 2) "This library holds A LOT of information, ideas, and thoughts...all of which have been written down, but what about the things no one has ever put in writing?" The last thought makes me feel small in relation to the vastness of knowledge but, somehow, that same truth makes me feel like a giant.

So, back to my point, why do old books smell so good? Well...

"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."

They smell so good because, apparently, they release a compound similar to the substance that comes from the vanilla bean. Sure makes me think the old excuse, "The dog ate my homework." isn't such a far fetched idea after all...

Quote from Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez’s Perfumes: the guide via It's Okay to Be Smart