Amph The Aroma of Old Books

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Books and Comics' started by LAJ_FETT, Aug 22, 2010.

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  1. LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Games Mod

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    Last night I started re-reading Stephen King's Night Shift after reading an old book of his on horror. The edition in question is a Doubleday hardcover, Book Club Edition, and was published in 1978 - from what I saw in Google. I'm pretty sure I've had that book since then, and in that time it's accompanied me through quite a few moves - one from the US to the UK. It's not the oldest one that I have - there's also a first edition of the SW novel in paperback that came out in Dec 1976. That one's in a comic bag to preserve it, though!

    There's a definite aroma to old books - part mildew, in this case, and aging paper, and dust. I couldn't stop inhaling it last night as I was reading. It reminded me of old library books and wandering around the stacks. Anyone else crack open any old books lately?
  2. emilsson Chosen One

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    Oct 5, 1998
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    Yesterday, I was going through my boxes of books that my aunt keeps for me until I can find a larger home. I found my old encyclopedia that was published between 1904 to 1920 and they have a very distinctive aroma.

    The oldest books I own were published in the 1860's and I definitely remember them having a very strong smell. They are a collection of letters written by Swedish author Esaias Tegnér.
  3. Havac Former Moderator

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    Sep 29, 2005
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    Pretty much any time I open up a book, I will end up giving it a sniff. Old books just have one of the best smells ever. Incredibly powerful. And that is why I will never end up switching to e-books.
  4. Rogue...Jedi Administrator Emeritus

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    What Havac said :p

    I love the smell of old books :)
  5. JEDI-SOLO Force Ghost

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    Feb 12, 2002
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    I hope people smell book one day if I get published.
  6. Qui-Gon_Reborn Manager Emeritus

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    Yeah, I agree with Havac.

    Part of the reason I love ordering older used books on Amazon or eBay is that I just love the smell of a used, worn-out book. That, coupled with the feel of the pages, is a sensation that's unlike anything else.
  7. LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Games Mod

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    I'm glad to see I'm not the only book-sniffer! :p

    And I agree on the e-books. I have a few of the SW stories on my laptop but that's about it. I really can't see getting into e-books at this time. I spend enough time staring at a screen. If I'm curled up in bed reading I want it to be a physical book - not a Kindle or something similar.
  8. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    I'm not fond of the smell so much - it gives me digging through the stacks vibes (and not like for fun at a public library, like for some forgotten old volume for a research paper). But I love the way my favorite books look - destroyed spines, yellowed pages. A visible sign that I've loved them [face_love]
  9. FelsGoddess Game Host

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    I have this book of Mother Goose nursery rhymes from the early 1900s that has this musty smell. I don't like books with a mildew smell. Yellowed pages are nice, though.
  10. Havac Former Moderator

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    Destroyed spines make me cry, Nat.:(
  11. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

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    :( Mostly I don't like them, but on my favorite PBs, those lines in the spine are from loving them so much. (Loving them and taking care of them - I hate when people turn books upside down instead of sticking something in them to mark the page.)
  12. Rogue...Jedi Administrator Emeritus

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    I've gotten pretty picky about keeping my books in the best condition I can... I have some older ones (Rogue Squadron books, for example) that have seen a ton of use and may need to be replaced in a few years, but generally I manage to keep books looking pretty new. Except for ones I get at used book stores. Those I just try to keep from getting any worse :p
  13. LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Games Mod

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    I had to replace a couple of the Bounty Hunter Wars books as they were falling apart from re-reading. Also my original pb copy of Dune bit the dust and had to be replaced.
  14. Idrelle_Miocovani Force Ghost

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    My mom's first copy of The Lord of the Rings was falling apart when I was a little kid. I probably didn't help it along, since I liked spreading it flat (thus damaging the spine even more) and turning the pages, even though I couldn't read it. I can't remember when that copy was published (it eventually just fell apart and had to be thrown out), but it was pretty old. I don't know what year it would have been, but I think it came from the first time they published the three volumes together in one large book.

    It smelled nice, though. I love the musty smell of old books. [face_love] ... most of the time. The books at my cottage (all pulp fiction from the 60's and 70's, hence the reason they're stored at the cottage) make my eyes puff up, they're so decrepit and mildewy and they stink something awful.
  15. Qui-Gon_Reborn Manager Emeritus

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    I'm really, really, really careful not to damage my books because it just breaks my heart to have to replace one. I feel like a criminal. :( :p
  16. Rogue...Jedi Administrator Emeritus

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    Jan 12, 2000
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    I had to replace my copies of LotR as well (I think that was this spring). Come to think of it, I haven't actually read the new copies yet... adding that to my reread list now :)
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