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Old Book Smell

You know what smells great? Books. That musty, yellowed scent that fills your nostrils when you poke your nose into an old book. For some, I imagine this isn’t much better than the smell of your average hormone-raging, hygiene-handicapped teenager, but for me, it’s the smell of happiness.

I have always associated that smell with happiness. From a very early age, my parents encouraged me to read. My dad would buy me books or, more often, give me his own hand-me-downs. We’d also frequent the library, where I wandered around searching and anticipating my next borrow.

Books were a world of my own, where I could sit and watch and live as mysteries were solved, bad guys were defeated, and heroes were victorious. I watched the Boxcar Children as wandered around, hopeful and happy, looking for food. I listened as Encyclopedia Brown revealed the solitary clue that led him to implicate Bugs Meany. On lazy days, I even ate lasagna with Garfield.

I’m thankful for those early books, because they took me by the hand and showed me around the neighborhood of my imagination. I’ve read other books since then. There have been ones that I read out of obligation, ones that were recommended by friends, ones that I opened on a whim. And now I read often for my job. More non-fiction, but books nonetheless.

Every now and and then I’ll wander into a used bookstore and pick up a book with slightly yellowed pages with creases and curls. When I sniff the inside (while peering around to make sure no one sees how weird I am) and I smell the time that has passed for the book, then I remember my own first few years with books.

And I am thankful.