My husband caught me at the weekend. We were in a bookshop and I'd opened a large coffee table book of maps. The aroma that came out from the pages was indescribable, and I gave an almighty sniff. I normally do this in secret, but I couldn't not have breathed in that smell and, even now, writing about it brings back such joy. When we met up with friends that night my husband told them that I'd been literally sniffing around a bookshop, and everyone laughed. No, they all said, none of them had ever sniffed heavily on a book.
Personally, I don't believe them. And I should say, not all books throw out this heavenly aroma. For me, it seems to be books with a slight sheen to their pages. In fact I'm looking at a book on my desk that has long outgrown its practical use having been updated online. But I keep that book purely for the joy I receive on opening its cover. Admittedly, I have to put my face very close and flick the pages quickly to generate the scent. The smell is likely chemical and could even be an unhealthy mix of carbons and glue that shouldn't be inhaled in close quarters. But what's a girl to do? It makes me happy, just for a moment.