Monday, September 14, 2009

What Do YOU Do with a New Book?

Let’s be honest here. What’s the first thing that you do when you get a new book?

Anybody?

Anybody?

Go ahead. You can admit it here. No one will make fun of you to your face.

You smell it, don’t you?

I know you do.

Those crisp pages inside the stiff cover just beckon to your olfactory system. You lift the book to your face, bending slightly. You close your eyes as you gently and deeply inhale. Some of you are flippers, fanning the edges of the book with your thumbs like a poker dealer shuffling his deck, trying to release that new book goodness from its captivity between each and every page. You shuffle the pages three or four times. The rest of you are crackers. You open the book slightly at one place, then at another, and another, until three or four locations have released their inky delight, but you close the book in hopes of preserving the aromatic flavor for your first reading. You never crack the spine.

I was the only person willing to admit that at Bible study yesterday. It was a combined class of kindergarten, second graders, and fourth graders, all with their parents. The purpose of the class was to distribute Bibles to all of the children. Each year our church gives age appropriate Bibles to children in those grades. The leader of the class, Denise, opened the class with the question, “What is the first thing that you do with a new book?”

One child shouted, “You read it!”

Another yelled, “You write your name in it.”

Denise looked around expectantly, her eyes wide, eagerly looking for the bright student who knew the correct answer.

“You smell it,” I said.

“YES!” she exclaimed, pointing in my direction. “You smell it!”

Then, as she continued her class, she demonstrated her technique. She’s a cracker.

No one else in the entire room appeared willing to share in the experience. I know there were more new book smellers in the room, but no one had the courage to publicly admit to their secret pleasure.

The Boss told me that we were weird.

Unless the new book was a new math book.

11 comments:

CrossView said...

We're with ya here. And nothing smells better than a new book - except for a really old book. That musty smell is a delight to the olfactory senses.... ;o)

Beth said...

Wow! I've never realized before that I do the same thing. I love books. The more books the better. Old, new, I almost always have a book nearby. And I am a cracker. Never knew that about myself before. Thanks for today's enlightenment :)

Teacher Mommy said...

I am a true sinner, because if the book is MINE, I both crack the spine and dog-ear the pages. Not right away, but still. I think it just gives them a well-loved look.

Please don't hurt me.

Kathleen said...

OK, so I don't smell them. I drink them in more with my touch and sight senses, turning them over and over. Then I place them on a shelf where I can see them for a few days before I actually crack them open.

Sadie said...

We are smellers here. My boys are now very well educated in telling, or smelling, if library books are new or not. People admit to liking the new car smell, why not the new book smell?

Kellie said...

I'm a total sniffer. However, I've been ordering more and more used books off of Amazon lately, and sometimes, even though I usually try to find newer copies, they don't smell all that nice. Maybe it's worth it to pay the extra $10-$15 for a brand new, nice-smelling copy...?

Michelle said...

I'm a sniffer!! Is there some sort of support group I should join?

Tonya Power said...

You will all probably consider me a heathen, but I don't wax eloquent about books. The first thing I do with a new book is throw out the dust jacket. Unless it is physically attached to the book with a good protective cover and re-enforced tape, it is an absolute nuisance. I'm much more into the content of the book. I was a bit odd in my career, I admit. Most librarians are bibliophiles of the most extreme sort. They would treasure even the most beat up, useless, obsolete, inaccurate volumes, with the belief that someone somewhere would want them. I never was like that. I'm with the kid who said "read it". I also tend to avoid things with strong smells unless it is food.

Timothy Power said...

Let’s be honest here. What’s the first thing that you do when you get a new stack of ditto sheets?

Anybody?

Anybody?

Go ahead. You can admit it here. No one will make fun of you to your face. Well, they might, but everyone else here above a certain age did it too.

You smell it, don’t you?

I know you do.

I did. And it probably killed a whole lotta brain cells, but it was, like, totally awesome.

I was the guy sitting at the end of the row who was supposed to take just one and pass the rest down the row, but who--instead--would take the top sheet, sniff it lovingly, and pass it down... then take the second sheet, sniff it lovingly, and pass it down... while everyone else in the row was impatiently complaining, "Tim! Tim! Just hand them here!" because, you know, they wanted to snort them too.

Education is supposed to be good for the brain, but I'm not so sure. It sure wasn't in the '70's.

But there was a lot of stuff around in the '70's that wasn't good for the brain.

Arby said...

Ah...the ditto sheet high...

I used dittos in 1995 at the Catholic school where I taught. We had NO budget.

Khourt said...

I cant say I have ever purposely sniffed a book but some have had strong scents and I could smell them from feet away :) Nothing wrong with being weird though!