Smells trigger some of the strongest emotions in humans, most of them associated with memory. In A Natural History of the Sense, Dianne Ackerman says, “Charles Dickens claimed that a mere whiff of the type of paste used to fasten labels… would bring back with unbearable force all the anguish of his earliest years.”
Dickens had a strong reaction to this smell, but what about the smells of his books? Researchers have identified the organic compounds that make old books smell so good, and some of them are more familiar than you may think!
Why is this important? Well, if you have ever been caught taking a quick whiff of an old library book when you pick it up, then you probably understand the strange stares that come along with it. And now, you have proof to back up why you enjoy the smell so much!
What memory does old-book-smell trigger for you?