So I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this here before or not, but I am a BookSmeller. The first thing I do when I pick up a book or a magazine is to lift it up, flip through it, and see how it smells. It’s such a conditioned response that I didn’t realize I did it until my husband pointed it out to me a few years ago.
My other major book-related habit is that I like to mark them up. There’s just something about underlining, drawing arrows to link different passages, and writing notes and “aha!” moments in the margins that makes the text come alive for me.
I tell my husband I do it because it was ingrained in me from all my years of studying literature, but it’s a habit that horrifies him. He reacts to it the same way I react when someone takes a brand new book and murders it by immediately opening to the middle and cracking the spine.
So the other night we were both in his office, he on the computer, and I happily writing away in my latest read. Without looking at me he said, “I can hear you scratching away over there. And don’t tell me it’s because you were trained to do it.”
Then, turning to face me, and in the voice of someone leveling a solemn curse he declared, “The next time you smell a book, I HOPE YOU SMELL TEARS.”
Lynne Morrell says
Ummmmm….I murder my books….but only once I bring them home. I like to do that in the privacy of my own home 😉
I don’t smell magazines unless there’s a perfume sample in it, but I LOVE the smell of a new book. I do read ebooks on my iPad from time to time, but I always go back to paper books. It’s just a different experience to hold the book in your hands and smell the ink. And especially when I read a long book (over 400 pages), I love to watch my progress as I witness the pages I’ve read grow larger than the pages I have left. Also, with an ebook, you are missing out on that mixed feeling of satisfaction and sadness when you close a book you’ve just finished.
Regarding your habit of marking up the books: I think that books enjoy being written in and highlighted. What better way to express to the book that you have felt moved by its words? Like the Velveteen Rabbit’s desire to be loved by a child, so is a books desire to affect its readers. And as the Velveteen Rabbit doesn’t mind its fur being worn down because it’s evidence of being well loved, the book doesn’t mind the marking because it’s evidence of its ability to inspire its reader. I don’t think you’re ever going to smell those tears your husband speaks of unless of course you mark up a book about OCD, Lol