There's something about the smell of books... Umberto Eco said, "I love the smell of book ink in the morning." And, Ray Bradbury said, "Do you know that books smell like nutmeg or some spice from a foreign land? I loved to smell them when I was a boy. Lord, there were a lot of lovely books once, before we let them go."
I don't recall the first time I recognized that smell. At some point, I just began to yearn after it--to eagerly await the next time I'd visit a library or bookstore. You can tell a lot about a book by the smell. The newness may emanate from the book (crisp pages, ink, and stiff binding), or the leather may give off a musty or sweet odor. It's not always easy to explain...
In Quiet, Please: Dispatches From A Public Librarian, Scott Douglas said, "There was the smell of old books, a smell that has a way of making all libraries seem the same. Some say that smell is asbestos." Or some might just say: "It smells OLD."
Even now, I love the smell of books--old and new. George Robert Gissing said, "I know every book of mine by its smell, and I have but to put my nose between the pages to be reminded of all sorts of things."
I guess I'm not the only one who loves the smell of books...
There's even a bookish fragrance, according to The Independent. And, yes, I'm sure it's one of those smells that only a book-geekish bibliophile could possibly love (but I adore the idea). I'm envious enough that he has more than 300,000 books in his library, but now he's working on a book-inspired fragrance. "The book-aholic has found the cure for everyone who misses the smell of paper in these digital times: a perfume that smells of books, thanks to a 'fatty' olfactory mark."
And, no, I don't think it's a strange thing at all. Do you?