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Eggnog, Hot Cider, Mulled Wine, and What Else?
Jin Chang
December 15, 2016 (2)

A Month of Turkey and Writing
Jin Chang
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Thanksgiving in Berlin
A.V. Crofts
November 21, 2016 (0)

When in Need of a Celebration
Jin Chang
November 10, 2016 (0)

Halloween in Asia
Jin Chang
October 31, 2016 (0)

A New Tale of Noodles
Jin Chang
October 24, 2016 (0)

A Determined Swing
Grant Liebel
August 2nd , 2016 (0)

Yet Another Thing about Pokemon GO
Grant Liebel
July 17th, 2016 (2)

The Typewriter Renaissance
Olenka Burgess
June 23, 2016 (0)

The Impossible Reading Lists of Summer
Olenka Burgess
June 20, 2016 (1)

Happy Sushi Day! How About Some Sacrilegious Asparagus?
Olenka Burgess
June 18, 2016 (1)

A Compendium of Beloved Blogs from the Literary Food Community
Olenka Burgess
June 14, 2016 (1)

Dean Wong "Seeing the Light" Book Launch at Wing Luke Museum
Olenka Burgess
May 31, 2016 (0)

Spoonbill & Sugartown in NYC
Cali Kopczick
May 18, 2016 (0)

Open Call: Submit to Ghosts of Seattle Past until April 30th
Cali Kopczick
28 March, 2016 (0)

Ghosts of Seattle Past: Irish Wake for Lost Spaces
Allison Dunn
29 Monday, 2016 (0)

Week of Literary Love: Jay Gatsby
Allison Dunn
12 February, 2016 (0)

Week of Literary Love: Grendel's Mother
Allison Dunn
11 February, 2016 (0)

Week of Literary Love: Victor Frankenstein
Allison Dunn
10 February, 2016 (0)

Week of Literary Love: Lady Macbeth
Allison Dunn
9 February, 2016 (0)

Our discomfort with language
Todd Shimoda
November 23, 2015 (0)

Go see The Martian!
Matt Damon
22 September, 2015 (0)

A Katrina Scavenger Hunt
Rex Noone
August 28, 2015 (0)

Hurricane Story revisited
Bruce Rutledge
August 26, 2015 (0)

Five Essential Post Katrina Albums
David Rutledge
25 August, 2015 (0)

Q&A with Zack Davisson
Ryan Chu
10 August, 2015 (0)

A Visit to Minidoka
David Rutledge
July 15, 2015 (2)

Open Letter to the place called "Mushaboom"
TexMex Richards
30 June , 2015 (1)

TexMextern Reviews: Masculinity in the Time of Cholera
TexMex Richards
9 June , 2015 (0)

SIFF Special: Most Likely to Manipulate
David Rutledge
June 5, 2015 (0)

TexMextern Reviews: Reviews with a Zest!
TexMex Richards
2 June, 2015 (0)

A Tale of Two Noodles
Dandi Meng
11 May, 2015 (3)

It's Time We Started Talking About Endpapers
Dandi Meng
4 May, 2015 (2)

Spine Poetry
Dandi Meng
1 April, 2015 (3)

CMP Presents...12 by M. Lynch
Dandi Meng
10 March, 2015 (2)

Week of Literary Love: Bartleby the Scrivener
Dandi Meng
14 February, 2015 (0)

Week of Literary Love: Jean Valjean
Cali Kopczick
13 February, 2015 (0)

Week of Literary Love: Winnie-the-Pooh
Dandi Meng
11 February, 2015 (0)

Week of Literary Love: Katniss Everdeen
Dandi Meng
10 February, 2015 (0)

Week of Literary Love: Holden Caulfield
Dandi Meng
9 February, 2015 (0)

Literary Showdown: Seattle vs. Boston
Dandi Meng
3 February , 2015 (2)

It's Time We Started Talking About Section Break Markers
Cali Kopczick
19 December, 2014 (2)

Short Run Festival Recap
Cali Kopczick
November 26, 2014 (0)

Selling Culture: Japan and America's Trickiest Trade
Cali Kopczick
November 7, 2014 (0)

History's Bestsellers in Translation Part II: Nonfiction
Cali Kopczick
October 20, 2014 (0)

China/Seattle/Reykjavík: Ryan Boudinot on Seattle as a Global City of Literature
Cali Kopczick
October 8, 2014 (0)

BuzzFeed Article - 8 Reasons Japanese Ghosts Make Terrible Roommates
Cali Kopczick
September 23, 2014 (0)

History's Bestsellers in Translation Part I: Fiction
Cali Kopczick
September 9, 2014 (0)

Ramen Revisited: Tips from Ken Taya aka Enfu
Cali Kopczick
September 2, 2014 (0)

Kodawari Can Render the Prosaic Profound
Cali Kopczick
August 27, 2014 (0)

Before the Summer Runs Out: A Road Trip Proposal
Cali Kopczick
August 19, 2014 (12)

The High Art of Smelling Books
Cali Kopczick
August 4, 2014 (1)

Pike Place Location Opening and Lizard Telepathy Fox Telepathy Open House
Staff
July 28, 2014 (1)

Indie Book Publisher Opens Office/Retail Space in Seattle's Pike Place Market
Press Release
July 16, 2014 (0)

Q&A with "A Commonplace Book of Pie" Author Kate Lebo and Illustrator Jessica Lynn Bonin
David Jacobson
Oct. 9, 2013 (0)

A Broadside for Mardi Gras
Bruce Rutledge
February 12, 2013 (0)

Oprah Outs Armstrong; Irvin Mayfield Next?
Rex Noone
January 26, 2013 (0)

Friends of CMP
Bruce Rutledge
November 21, 2012 (0)

Nippon-NOLA challenge: week 3
Bruce Rutledge
October 24, 2012 (2)

The NOLA-Nippon challenge: week 2
Bruce Rutledge
October 6, 2012, 2012 (0)

The NOLA-Nippon challenge
Bruce Rutledge
September 24, 2012 (2)

Infusing Nonfiction with Truth: American True Stories
Bruce Rutledge talks to Michael Rozek
June 29, 2012 (1)

Questions rain down on NOLA
Bruce Rutledge
June 18, 2012 (0)

En-Joying Kanji: A Review of Eve Kushner\'s Joy o' Kanji
David Jacobson
May 24, 2012 (1)

Michael Rozek Redefines Nonfiction
Bruce Rutledge
April 19, 2012 (3)

Viewed Sideways: a collection of essays by Donald Richie
D. Michael Ramirez II
December 30, 2011 (0)

New Orleans Book Fest
Bruce
November 4, 2011 (0)

Review: The Beautiful One Has Come (Suzanne Kamata)
D. Michael Ramirez II
August 12, 2011 (0)

The JET Program's Finest Hour
David Jacobson
July 9, 2011 (0)

And the winner is ...
Bruce Rutledge
July 5, 2011 (0)

An even dozen: slow books in a fast world
Bruce Rutledge
June 29, 2011 (1)

Last Chapter for an Island Bookstore?
David Jacobson
June 24, 2011 (0)

More than just another 'Kawaii' face
Bruce Rutledge
June 16, 2011 (0)

Hurricane Story - Free Offer!
Dave Jacobson
June 9, 2011 (0)

Books for Katrina-hit New Orleans Schools
David Jacobson
May 25, 2011 (0)

Todd Shimoda wins Hawaii's top literary award
Chin Music Press
April 12, 2011 (1)

"The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P": A Review
Will Eells
March 28, 2011 (0)

A great sorrow
Bruce Rutledge
March 25, 2011 (1)

Blog Entry
The High Art of Smelling Books
Cali Kopczick
August 4, 2014

People have raved about the smell of books for centuries. Theyve described it as musky, musty, and grassy, frequently with hints of vanilla. No matter how you describe it, though, theres something that escapes words, which is what makes the olfactory factor such a lovely complement to the text.

What is it that gives books that distinctive smell? As it turns out, the two main ingredients are resin (used to make the paper more amenable to ink) and lignin (part of the wood fiber). As these materials decay, they give off what those in the book (and chemistry) biz call volatile and semivolatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These VOCs produce the old-book musk, and now book preservers are even hoping they can use it as a non-invasive way of gauging the health of old books.

And its not just the centuries-old tomes that are putting off a highly sniffable aroma. Because books from 1850-1990 were drenched in resin, which turns acidic as it ages, books from the last century or so are decaying at breakneck speed. While this poses a concern for historians and archivists, it also means that your old paperbacks may already smell like some of the dustiest and most dignified sections of your local library.*

We all know, though, that theres more to the scent of books than just the paper. Theres a whole ecosystem that comes in that binding, because most well-loved volumes come with mold and other fungi. In the 1990s, the Chicago Tribune even published an article about how long-term exposure to the spores in very old books could send librarians and archivists teetering towards hallucinations. Publicize that tidbit, and you might see a lot more teenagers in the special collections section.

Despite the fact that the smell of books means that the pages are decaying, despite the danger of hallucinations, despite the occasional bad-smelling book, its hard to imagine anyone is going to stop sniffing. For goodness sake, the perfumerie Demeter came out with a Paperback scent! At last, readers who want to take the smell with them have a better option than rubbing their favorite pulp fiction on their wrists. All jokes aside, the musk of books is a powerful thing. Scent, after all, has a special link to our memory one whiff can waft us back to another bookshelf in another era, as The Guardians Steven Poole points out from personal experience.** Moreover, through that tie to memory, scent has a special place in our identity. When were smelling books, were giving them the chance to become a long-lasting part of our sensory landscape, a part of us. So sniff proudly. Sniff until you hyperventilate. Breathe deep and be changed, my friends.

*The science of decaying books related in this paragraph and the one before it is taken from Charles W. Schmidts article On the Smell of Old Books, from the November 2006 issue of Analytical Chemistry.

**See link in first paragraph.

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Jo Reed
I also love the smell of books! A bookstore, a library, or just holding one is aromatherapy...thanks for the blog post.