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The Smell of Books

Books are lined neatly upon bookshelves, row upon row of them and yet they have no smell. This has always bothered me. How can so many books not have any smell? The smell is the character of the book, the thing that makes you want to pick one up. But the books from the public library are scentless. The pages are new, crisp and stiff. There are no bent or stained pages nor any pages yellowed by use and age. They have no life in them yet, no soul. How can you know that a book is good unless you can see its soul? How can you be intrigued unless you can see the story within the story-the story of the reader?  Some people may prefer the stark white pages, pristine and untouched by time, but I prefer the books that smell, the books that have been read so many times that their binding is falling off and their pages are torn and bent. That is where the story is. That is the soul of the book.

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