Some of the compounds were common to all the tested books: acetic acid, benzaldehyde, butanol, furfural, or methoxyphenyloxime, to name the few.
To describe it in a more accessible way, the study’s lead researcher, Matija Strlic said:
A combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness, this unmistakable smell is as much a part of the book as its contents.
This is what the old book smell is, vanilla and grass. While testing, let’s say, a perfume, with exactly the same blend of ingredients, some might like it, some not. So, why most of us love it? It’s where Trace Dominguez from DNews YouTube channel comes with the answer:
Your nose is more sensitive than you think. Your favorite smell is probably tied to a memory, most likely from your childhood.
The thing is that the nose is one of the strongest ways to trigger memories. The reason is it’s tied directly into the limbic system – the system which regulates our emotions.
Ad-man who decided to devote his life to books. Founder of Ebook Friendly, ebook enthusiast, and self-published short story author. Prefers reading on his iPhone, but when it comes to history books – Piotr always picks print.
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Coriolanus released the fistful of cabbage into the pot of boiling water and swore that one day it would never pass his lips again. But this was not that day. He needed to eat a large bowl of the anemic stuff, and drink every drop of broth, to prevent his stomach from growling during the reaping ceremony. It was one of a long list of precautions he took to mask the fact that his family, despite residing in the penthouse of the Capitol’s most opulent apartment building, was as poor as district scum. That at eighteen, the heir to the once-great house of Snow had nothing to live on but his wits.
His shirt for the reaping was worrying him. He had an acceptable pair of dark dress pants bought on the black market last year, but the shirt was what people looked at. Fortunately, the Academy provided the uniforms it required for daily use. For today’s ceremony, however, students were instructed to be dressed fashionably but with the solemnity the occasion dictated. Tigris had said to trust her, and he did. Only his cousin’s cleverness with a needle had saved him so far. Still, he couldn’t expect miracles.
The shirt they’d dug from the back of the wardrobe—his father’s, from better days—was stained and yellowed with age, half the buttons missing, a cigarette burn on one cuff. Too damaged to sell in even the worst of times, and this was to be his reaping shirt? This morning he had gone to her room at daybreak, only to find both his cousin and the shirt missing. Not a good sign. Had Tigris given up on the old thing and braved the black market in some last-ditch effort to find him proper clothing? And what on earth would she possess worth trading for it? Only one thing—herself—and the house of Snow had not yet fallen that far. Or was it falling now as he salted the cabbage?
The most technologically efficient machine that man has ever invented is the book.
– Northrop Frye –
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