Did you know that there are more books published in a day (worldwide) than any single person could likely read in their lifetime? How do we sort through what is worth our time?
There are some ways we can tell what to read and what to avoid. The Internet (and hopefully sites like this) has made "spreading the word" on good books much easier. But how do we tell which authors to read? Sometimes, we go by the "Smell" of the book.
The word can sometimes be applied to businesses, people and buildings. The "Smell" of the place. When you walk in you quickly get an impression on whether the place (or person) is happy, sad, fun or full of drudgery. In short, whether you will like the place or not. The place has a certain "feel".
Books are the same. Most readers can get a good feeling from sometimes just a few pages. Even if we don't like the subject matter, or the way the author ended the book, we can get a sense of whether we think we will like the authors voice, or be able to become invested in their characters. This is called the "Smell" of the book.
It has another meaning as well;
In a ceremony unbeknownst to the e-reading crowd out there, sometimes when we book-geeks find a nice cozy corner of the used book store, we find that old elusive early edition that has been on our want list for forever. We pull it gently off the shelf and riffle through the pages to somewhere near the middle. Then, when we are sure no one is watching, we stick our nose into the spine of the book and sniff slooooowly and deeply as the old pages tickle the outer sides of our nostrils. The faint smell of the slightly faded pages, the old ink, the ever decomposing paper, the ancient glue, all go directly to our brain and brings forth images and memories of school books, and sitting in front of the fire at the cottage, or reading for hours while our partners do the driving on that long road trip.
Book-geeks get it. That's why I named this site "Smell The Book"!
In a great story about a origin of the significant, but barely readable book: "On The Nature of Things", books, or more accurately, scrolls, were little goldmines of information for researchers. The author came across this curse that the monks of old used to use to curse anyone who would damage or mistreat a book:
"Let it change into a serpent in his hand and rend him.
Let him be struck with palsy and all his members blasted.
Let him languish in pain crying aloud for mercy, and
let there be no surcease to his agony till he sing in dissolution.
Let bookworms gnaw his entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not,
and when at last he goeth to his final punishment,
let the flames of Hell consume him forever."