segunda-feira, 18 de junho de 2012

The smell of books

When I was a little kid my mom read to me before bed.
Actually, I suppose read with me would be more accurate. See, we had a deal. She read the left page and I struggled to slowly read the right, moving my finger over the words, letting her help me pronounce the big ones.
Over time we worked our way through many old collections from garage sales, bookstores, and libraries near our house. We learned about the lives of Mr. Men, Curious George, and The Berenstain Bears.
Sometimes we went to the bookstore on Saturday mornings for a treat.
I always loved walking on those creaky wooden floors, loitering at the big magazine rack, and chatting with the friendly staff covered in glasses, beards, and thick wool sweaters. I would sniff up that heady bookstore air full of fresh paper, cardboard boxes, binding glue, and lingering coffee fumes.
The smell of books reminds me of late nights cramming for biology exams between the library stacks at college. It reminds me of lying on my elbows on a warm beach towel by the ocean on summer vacation. It reminds me of the heavy set of encyclopedias in my living room when I was a kid, the ones I relied on to write last-minute reports on the praying mantis, Nigeria, or the 1972 Summer Olympics.
The smell of books reminds me of learning to read and learning to explore the world.
I love walking quietly through bookstores and thinking of how many stories lie hidden in the pages right beside us. Entire lives have been poured into mapping the Earth and conducting experiments, crafting mysteries and teaching languages, showing us how to cook and garden, and sending us on faraway trips to faraway worlds.
The smell of books is the smell of us all coming together to document, entertain, and explain things for ourselves now and forever. It's a big sniff of humanity, a big sniff os wisdom, and a great big sniff of
in The Book of aAwesome by Neil Pasricha
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