The December 20th issue of New York magazine chronicles “Reasons to Love New York.” The editors compile the list annually, and it’s one of my favorite editions. They never seem to run out of unique reasons to heart my adopted hometown.
Reason #16 caught my eye this year…
We’re home to not only the publishing industry, but also to a woman who spends her days smelling books.
The headline is a bit misleading. Rachael Morrison’s full-time job at MOMA is artist, not book sniffer. That became her lunchtime habit six months ago when she became concerned that the smell of books — one of her favorite things — would eventually die away in this increasingly digital age.
So, she made smelling books and recording their scents her personal quest. Her list of 150 books to date includes sense memories like “armpit,” “dog poop,” and “cigar smoke and tea.”
Rachael has always loved the smell of books. I have to admit, I hadn’t given the subject too much thought. Now I wonder — has the smell of a book ever subliminally affected my enjoyment of it?
I should start a new book today. With my cold/flu/sinus infection — whatever it is — I can’t smell a thing and will be objective about what I’m reading.
Book critics of the world, take note.