Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Scent of Two Books

Talk about disparity.  Harlan Ellison's short story collection, Troublemakers, and Vladamir Nabokov's, Details of a Sunset: Stories, are as wildly divergent as one could imagine. But I completed both last night.

Ellison, though difficult to classify, is often regarded as one of the "Big" four or five science fiction writers--a guy who had his start in the 1970s during the classical period of science fiction writing.  But Ellison, I think, is more eclectic, combining fantasy, memoir, and humor in his unique style.  Nabokov, on the other hand, was a touted literary force from Russia who wrote his strongest works (primarily novels) in English.

The Nabokov book (a first edition without dust jacket) came into my possession via the New York public library of Binghamton with library card intact.  I couldn't help but notice that the last person to check the book out of the library was a guy named Stephen Seeberg.  The date was May 17, 1977.

I enjoy having these types of books in my personal library.  Displaying these books on my shelves (or stuffing them into boxes) offers me a connection with the past.  A used book is, well . . . used.  It already has a history of being coddled and held, kind of like a baby.  The Nabokov book even smells old.  It smells like library.

The scent makes me wonder if there's not a marketing opportunity.  How about a scent called "Book" or "Pages" or "Library"?  I would know that smell anywhere . . . and I'd buy it.

I still have a massive pile of books to read . . . but it was fun finishing two.  Two down, as they say.  And miles to go before I sleep . . . .

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