How to Choose a Book

When you’re an avid reader who enjoys staying in touch with the book world, it can be REALLY hard to decide which books to read. Having a long to-be-read (TBR) list means we have to prioritize which books we want to read most, and which have to wait. On the other hand, not being in the know about recent releases, award winners, or popular cult picks can make you totally lost about current topics in the book world. Fortunately, I’m here to help. Here’s a guide to choosing the books you read!

1. Follow Publishers

Following publishing companies on social media is a great way to keep up with new releases. PenguinTeen has an interactive Tumblr that I especially enjoy following, but all publishing companies tend to have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram these days. You can also subscribe to publishing newsletters to receive emails about upcoming book releases; I recommend Penguin Random House’s First in Line program for young adult books. You can also follow authors on social media because they’ll always post about their books around the release date!

2. Read/Watch Reviews

I follow book blogs and BookTubers (YouTubers who dedicate their channels to books) and get a lot of book recommendations from these sources. Book reviewers will tell it to you straight, whether they love a book, think it’s just all right, or hate it. I especially appreciate the honesty and reliability of book reviewers. If you find ones who you particularly connect with, or who have a similar reading taste, you can trust their reviews even more.

3. Goodreads

If you aren’t on Goodreads, what are you doing? This is my go-to site for book reviews and ratings from a whole community of readers. I love adding books to my e-shelves to keep track of what I’ve read, books I want to read, upcoming releases, favorite books, etc. Same as with book blogs, I’ve found a few serial reviewers whose opinions I trust – if they rave about a book, I’ll give it priority; if they slam a book I was excited for, I’ll reevaluate its place on my TBR list.

4. Browse the Bookstore/Library

This may sound really simple, but whenever you’re at a loss for what to read next, browse! Go to the bookstore or library and take a look at the shelves in a genre section you’re in the mood for. Examine covers, read the book jackets or even make an impulse decision to buy or check out a book that sounds interesting to you. Reading books blindly (without reading reviews/ratings first) is something I rarely do anymore, but every now and then it’s nice to judge a book by myself, without any preexisting outside opinions.

5. Make Bookish Friends!

Having friends who read is the best because you can get personalized recommendations AND have someone to talk about the books with once you’ve finished them! If you don’t have any good reader friends, it’s easy to make some. Join (or start) a book club, volunteer at the library, get a job at a bookstore, hang out at coffeeshops, or join the online reading community –– there are tons of forums and online book groups where you can meet and chat with other readers (Goodreads is a great place for this)!

I hope these tips for choosing books are helpful. Good luck finding your next read!

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A Book Worth The Struggle

By: Fiona Schneider

Now, I don’t come upon books I dislike very often. Whether it’s my tendency to not take recommendations seriously, my low standards or my picky nature of not trying out books I don’t think I’ll like, I can’t pin point the real reason. I just tend to like the books I read from the get-go. However, when it comes to a book assigned for school, I often find I don’t care for them as much. I never hate them, but they are often so much more tedious to read. Especially since most books required by classes tend to be either in or on their way into the classics genre, and while I’ve read a significant number of classics, I can’t say they are anywhere near my favorite genre.

So, when in my senior year of high school my teacher had us read The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy the summer before class started, I could have been a bit more thrilled. It’s a book about a family in Kerala, India, who used to be rich, and now just act like it. Roy mixes some fantastical elements into the otherwise realistic narrative, and delves deep into familial, religious, cultural, societal, and even gender stereotypes. There’s all sorts of individual stories mixed into the narrative. Murder, scandalous affairs, runaway children, and other dark events. The God of Small Things is not for the faint of heart, it’s gritty and real, even with the slight magical undertone.

I honestly did not like it at first, mostly because I couldn’t understand any of what was going on. The book is told through two timelines that interrupt and contradict each other, almost as if they fight for dominance on the pages for who gets to tell which part of the story next. It’s confusing, deliberately confusing. Especially when the section is told from the eyes of one of the family children who don’t understand what is happening around them. The reader is shown things that are answers, to questions which haven’t even been asked yet, so you are left with information you at first believe is irrelevant.

The graphic scenes and jolting transitions did not sit well with me when I was first reading the novel, but by the end I was fully on board. It was like a switch flipped, and while I still did not quite understand all that was going on, I was finding snippets of interest to latch onto and enjoy. I fell in love with Roy’s peculiar writing style and her equally weird characters.

I had to read it twice before I was able to pick up on half of the social critiques, cultural jabs, and other conversations Roy stowed away within the text. Even still, after an entire year of studying the novel (as it was one of my teacher’s favorite novels, and we kept coming back to study it before our IB exams) I believe if I read it again, I would only find more. It is the oddest little blend of grotesque and beauty I believe I have ever read, and I highly recommend it to anyone willing to read a novel that doesn’t tip toe around the darker parts of life.

 

Book Signing Experience: Rick Riordan

By: Fiona Schneider

ricknme.jpgEver since I first read the Percy Jackson series as an elementary school kid (albeit WAY out of order) my love for Rick Riordan, affectionately called Uncle Rick in the fandom, has only grown. The chance to get a booked signed by him, or possibly see him in person, was an out-of-reach dream tucked away in the recesses of my mind. However, early this year, Rick Riordan announced he would be going on a book tour for his latest book, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: Ship of the Dead, and for the first time ever he was including a Florida location! Tampa! I madly checked the website over and over again for details on tickets, time, and location. It was almost painful, until one day in September when I was checking the website and FINALLY information was released about the Florida event. I rushed to my mother in a panic, told her I was going, no questions allowed and marked it down on the family calendar.

Flash forward to last night, after a day of driving to Tampa and a hurried visit to Sonic because I was starving after only eating a croissant the entire day due to nerves, I made it. I managed to snag a seat toward the front and waited an hour for the event to begin. I started to get antsy when 6:10 p.m. hit, 10 minutes after the event was supposed to start, and all the activity in the auditorium furthered my giddiness. Everything officially began when two actors dressed as Magnus and Alex, characters from the book, performed a skit and threw goodies into the audience. Then came the time when Riordan was introduced.

Not going to lie, my initial reaction was, “Oh, that’s not what I expected him to sound like.” I quickly forgot this, though, and enjoyed his wonderful presentation on how he came into writing as a profession in 7th grade from an English teacher who gave him a little push. His career in publishing was the typical story of getting rejected numerous times before a single one of his ideas was picked up and published. He transitioned from adult murder mysteries to focusing on middle-grade books when he realized this was the age group he knew best. This was in conjunction with stories he made up for his eldest son, who struggled to read as a kid because of his ADHD and dyslexia.

bookThe presentation transitioned from personal history to discussing characters from the books, as well as future releases. One, in particular, I am excited about is the series of books coming from the “Rick Riordan Presents” Disney Hyperion Imprint where Riordan is promoting the work of other authors who write about their native mythologies.

This, in turn, led to the Question and Answer section, which was equally informative as funny. I’ll take this time to comment on the actual personality of Rick Riordan, and how who he is as a person has only solidified him as my favorite author. Riordan loves to play the comedian and make people laugh. The presentation was so much fun to watch and listen to, I don’t even mind that it wasn’t a live signing, and I wasn’t able to speak with him one-on-one. He’s also incredibly genuine, despite the majority of the presentation probably being scripted, I can’t help but feel there was a large portion of him ad-libbing and interacting with the audience as he wished. He admits to not knowing everything about his universe and what’s going to happen, but that he’s continually researching and planning to try and give us readers something worthy.

To a question, “Would you ever do a collab with J.K. Rowling?” he laughed and answered, “I don’t really think Ms. Rowling needs any help. Besides, why would she want to work with me?” That spark of humility, jabbing humor, and strange sense of confidence is a wonderful summary of why I love him as both an author and person.

The free merchandise at the end of the event was a pure bonus.

 

A Letter to Meggie Folchart

By: Fiona Schneider

[Meggie Folchart is the main character of the Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke.]

Dear Meggie Folchart,

I think I forgive you. Or maybe I don’t. I still struggle to discern my feelings about you since they have festered since I was eight. Maybe it’s a bit odd to hold a grudge against a fictional character, but when you’re a child, none of that matters.

First and foremost, I love you. Or rather, perhaps I want to be you, and thus envy you. You could read a few simple words and whisk yourself into the very books I so desperately wanted to be a part of. My young mind may have thought you took this for granted, I don’t remember. I just remember initially loving your character. You had faults, but you were not weak. You did not give in or stand by when someone of a supposed “higher authority” told you to wait. My own desire to act and never quite be satisfied with where I am in life made me see myself in you.

And that, is perhaps why I can’t forgive you for wanting peace. At the end of a fantastical, epic trilogy filled with adventure, trauma, and character development you decided on the calm. You were so young, and yet you decided on not the boy with the most beautiful eyes that shined like starlight, but the kind inventor from an unpublished book. Doria was pleasant, serene. For my heart, he was just too perfect, too good, too right for a girl who previously sought out treachery.

I have read practically every official explanation to this plot point from Cornelia Funke to date, but I have never REALLY wanted to understand it. I feel like my own contempt for your decision has blinded me to the choice, but nevertheless, I still feel you chose wrong. Of course, I realize I may be wrong. Farid had a lost-child attachment to Dustfinger and a growing love for fire-play. He would never settle and had the charisma of any smooth-talker, but by the end he was willing to grow with you.

Maybe you set him free for the better, but I guess my main argument is not even about your love life, but about settling into complacency on your journey. The Silvertongue I so admired and wished I could be had lost her spark. No longer did you seek out danger or vie for quests of wonder. Barely out of your teenaged years and you desired a simple, carefree life.

Perhaps my fear of giving in to that same peace made me view you differently. I still loved you, but no longer wanted to be you. It was like losing a role-model or life path. It was a stark reality that I could not be the Silvertongue. So perhaps if I re-read your story I could forgive you, or maybe I have already forgiven you in some small part of me. I don’t know, but I will not lie in saying that I will always be a bit curious to know how your life turned out.

Decent Wishes,

The Heart of a Young Bookworm

Motivating Yourself to Read

By: Kristen Joseph

It is a truth universally acknowledged that even bookworms occasionally have difficulty motivating themselves to read. I’m sure even the great Jane Austen (the mastermind behind the first half of the previous sentence) had trouble finding time to read. I know I do, especially during the school year when I’m trying to balance schoolwork and required reading with reading for fun. Some days I can read 100 pages, and other days I just stare longingly at my shelf wishing that I had time to crack the cover of one of my favorite tomes.

If you’ve ever felt like you were utterly failing at carving out a time for reading during your day, here are some tips to help you jumpstart your voracious literary habits once again:

1) Actually make a habit of it. Before bed, during lunch, while waiting at the bus stop. Choose one time during your day when you can spend a few minutes with a book. It’s okay to start out small at first; even reading a page is an accomplishment. Eventually you’ll get into the habit of reading during that time without even thinking about it. Mission accomplished.

mo12) Always carry a book with you. Even if you don’t crack it open, having a book with you is a great motivator, and honestly, it’s a great comfort, too. Whenever moments of delay or boredom hit, you know that you have something to occupy your time. (If you’re like me, you may even refuse to buy certain bags/purses if they don’t have enough room to carry a sufficiently sized novel). People may call you silly for always carrying a book around, but you’ll be the one having the last laugh when they’re complaining of boredom while you’ve happily escaped to a parallel universe that is far more interesting than the present.

3) Make bookish friends! I honestly can’t stress this one enough. Your friends don’t have to be as book-obsessed as you, but even surrounding yourself with people that enjoy reading a limited amount will motivate you to continue reading. You can talk to each other about books and plot lines and all the fascinating new information that you learned.

mo5Book clubs (in-person and online) fall into this category, too. Having people to share your excitement for reading with encourages you to read that much more. All of my closest friends fall under some category of bookworm. We borrow each other’s books and give each other books for Christmases/birthdays/any gift-worthy special occasion. ­I’m so glad to have them (my friends, I mean, although the books are always a welcome addition).

4) Keep track. Make a To-Be-Read list (mine’s in a color-coded palm-sized notebook). Write down the books that you’ve read (and I have a journal specifically for this). It feels so good to be able to look back at all that you’ve read. You feel accomplished, and you can track your changes in reading habits from year-to-year. During my first two years of high school, I was averaging 40 books read per year, one to two books per week. When I got a part-time job during my final two years of school, and now that I’m in college and enjoying everything that comes along with that, my annual-books-read average has dropped 50%.

mo3At first I was bummed when I realized this – why, oh why, did my life goals have to interfere with my reading goals! – but I eventually came to terms with it. I like my life, and I wouldn’t change any big decisions that I’ve made in the past just so I could read more. Reading even less than this is totally okay, too! One book a month, only reading books for class, half a book per year. Don’t worry about having a busy schedule or being a “slow reader,” either. (There’s no such thing, in my opinion; everyone reads at their own pace, it’s part of their individuality.) As long as you are trying, you are succeeding!

5) Don’t book-shame. It sounds kind of weird, but you know exactly what I’m talking about. We all do it. We don’t feel like reading books at the moment unless they’re in this genre, or we’re purists and we refuse to read books in that format because reading anything that isn’t printed and bound feels like sacrilege. I know exactly how you feel; not every book fits your literary mood at the moment. That’s totally okay. But if you really want to motivate yourself to read, you can’t let that kind of pickiness constantly stand in your way of reading a great story or enjoying a good nonfiction narrative.

mo4I personally prefer printed books, but I’ve grown to really love having access to hundreds of e-books on my Nook, phone, and tablet. They carry the same comfort that having a book in my purse does – if I’m ever bored, I easily have access to something to read. Audiobooks are also a perfectly acceptable format for getting through books. You can listen to them while you’re in the car, on the bus, exercising, you name it. If you’re already using earbuds/headphones and listening to music all the time, what’s the harm in substituting that playlist for a book every now and then?

So if you’re having trouble reading a book today, try one of these ideas to help you get started. If you motivated yourself enough to read this entire blog post, you’re already halfway there. Good luck!

 

Back-to-school books

By: Kristen Joseph and Kylie Widseth

We know that no one wants to hear this, but back-to-school time is quickly approaching. Some people love it because they get to see all of their friends. Others dread the first day back because school makes them feel isolated, they hate the tests and assignments, or they just completely detest waking up early. If you’re apprehensive about school for the first reason, never fear! You don’t have to go back to school alone because there are so many fictional characters that go to school, too. If you’re like us, you probably like being able to relate to the characters in all your favorite books. So we’ve compiled a list of 6 books that take place in a high school setting to make this back-to-school season a little less bleak.

TwilightbookTwilight – For some reason this is the first book that came to mind for me. I guess it’s just because the scene in the movie when the Cullens enter the lunchroom at Bella’s high school is just permanently engrained in my mind. Now I’m sure you probably, and hopefully, don’t have vampires that attend your school. Besides the supernatural element, Forks High School isn’t too far from the average American high school. –Kylie

710888Yo8kLThe DUFF – The DUFF takes place in a stereotypical high school filled with mean girls, not-so-mean girls, athletes, and the whole nine yards. I hope that your high school isn’t as cliquey as this suburban Atlanta high school. But as the movie and book goes to show, there is nothing wrong with being a little bit like a DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) because we should all stay true to our identities and embrace who we are. –Kylie

I_Am_Number_Four_CoverI Am Number Four – A significant portion of this book takes place in high school. The main character is fifteen years old and goes through typical high school struggles with friends, relationships, jocks, and bullies. The twist? Our main character is one of the last survivors from a planet called Lorien. Yup, he’s an alien. And he’s got powers like you wouldn’t believe. –Kristen

5287473Hex Hall – This novel starts off in a normal high school, but when a love spell at prom goes horribly awry we’re taken to Hecate (Hex) Hall, a boarding school for delinquent magical teenage beings. You still have your mean girls and awkward outcasts, they just happen to be witches and vampires. At least your school doesn’t have to deal with their supernatural drama (I hope). –Kristen

51qdJATw4-L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Thirteen Reasons Why – I’m sure you’ve all heard of the Netflix series by now. It takes most of the major points from the book, but of course, the two formats still aren’t the same. Either way, the story is heartbreaking, and many of the things that take place actually happen to teenagers today. If you don’t read the book or watch the show, it’s still important for you to understand the issues it talks about. –Kristen

static1.squarespaceAnna and the French Kiss – This is one of my personal favorites. I love it so much that I’ve read it five times (don’t judge me)! It’s set in Paris, at an American boarding school. The main character, Anna, is sent there for her final year of high school by her Nicholas-Sparks-esque father. She’s less than thrilled about spending her senior year in a foreign country away from her friends, and experiences her fair share of first day jitters. But Anna manages to make some great new friends and fantastic memories in spite of it all. (Believe me, my description does not do the book the justice it deserves. I highly suggest reading it. 10/10 recommend.) –Kristen

If you’re ever feeling a little down this year, feel free to grab one of these books (or any other) to remind yourself that you’re not alone. We hope that everyone has a good and safe school year!

Best Reading Spots

By: Kristen Joseph

Have you ever been anywhere and you just suddenly have the urge to curl up and read? That’s me, at least 80 percent of every day. I’ve read while standing at bus stops, during family lunches (I promise, I wasn’t ignoring them, I was just reading because no one was speaking to me at the moment), and while sitting under the dryer when I’m at the hairdresser. But sometimes when that feeling strikes, the atmosphere is just off, and not very conducive to reading. Most of the time, I feel comfortable reading wherever I’m at. As soon as I open up my book, the world is immediately tuned out, and I’m completely absorbed in the story. But, like any reader, I do have favorite reading spots. Hopefully you do too, but if you don’t, here are a couple suggestions to make that special time with your book even more enjoyable:

Public Transit – I cannot even imagine taking public transit without a good book in hand. As long as you don’t suffer frospots4m motion sickness, a bus, train, (or a car, or a plane) is a fantastic place to get some reading done. You could also indulge in an audio book while taking public transportation. You still get to enjoy the feeling of reading, without the added weight of a book in your bag. Bonus: listening to an audio book won’t give you motion sickness!

Window Seat/Comfy Chair – These structures were specifically built for reading. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

The Great Outdoors – A nice park bench. Soft grass. A hammock. A rocking chair on a porch. A++ places to zip through a few chapters (or twenty). Just listing those off felt relaxing; imagine how tranquil you’ll feel while reading there.

spots1At “social gatherings – Now, I’m not saying that you should go out with your friends, fully intending to ignore them in favor of the new novel in your bag. But if you happen to be out with friends or family, you’re not talking to anyone, and you’re starting to get bored, it’s perfectly okay to pull out your book and start reading. It’s a better option than sitting around staring at a wall until your friends or family are ready to leave.

Libraries or Bookstores – That one’s a given. If you’re surrounded by books, of course you’ll have an incredible urge to read. Luckily, most libraries and bookstores have chairs so you can do just that!

During “Designated Waiting Periods” – Reading is the perfect solution to boredom when you’re in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, or waiting for class to start. You know you’ll probably be waiting anyway, so you might as well enjoy a novel adventure during that time.

spots3

Bed – The best place to read, in my opinion. My fondest reading memories always include lying in bed, lamp on, under a blanket, and leaning on pillows (if I have a bowl of leftover Chinese food too, it’s definitely one of my best nights ever).

Of course, there are many more places that you can turn into your own personal book nook. Go exploring and find a few more to add to this list!

My Favorite Quotes

By: Kristen Joseph

One of my favorite things about being a reader is finding quotes throughout the text. Not just something memorable that a character says, or the mantra for a revolution, but a string of words that seem as if they are speaking directly to you, burrowing themselves so deeply into your heart and mind that you could never possibly forget them. Those are my favorite types of quotes.

Whenever I find one that speaks to me like that — whether it’s in a book, text post, or just something that I randomly happen upon — I write it down in a journal specifically designated for quotes. Today, I’ve decided to share five of my favorites with you:

qjournal2

  1. I am built to weather the storm, to come out on the other side and survive, more confident and equipped than I ever would have thought possible. – Kristen Joseph

This was the last line of my college application essay. I know it’s a tad ridiculous to quote myself, but I just have so much love for this sentence. I wrote the essay about a difficult time in my life that I overcame, and the quote is a nice little reminder that I’ve lived through hard times before, and I can do it again.

  1. Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. – Langston Hughes

A lovely inspirational quote that I found in a fortune cookie, from the Langston Hughes poem Dreams. It’s a great reminder that having dreams, and goals that you’re working towards, is never a bad thing.

  1. q2A word is the only thing in the world made more powerful by absence than existence.The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

The existence of a word is concrete; a definition is given for a situation when the word is present. But if a word is missing, the situation is undefined and uncertain. It’s like when you’re in that gray area of a relationship between just “going out” and being someone’s boyfriend/girlfriend. You need clarity about whether you’re in a serious relationship or just seriously friendzoned before you start planning for your future with the other person. 

  1. When reading, we don’t fall in love with the characters’ appearance. We fall in love with their words, their thoughts, and their hearts. We fall in love with their souls. Anonymous ( amongstwoodedpaths post)

            My reaction to this text post: “YES! Someone finally put it into words!”

  1. That’s why literature is so fascinating. It’s always up for interpretation, and could be a hundred different things to a hundred different people. It’s never the same thing twice.Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Reaction: “Finally. Someone who shares my exact opinion on literature.” This is why I love to reread books — the experience is so different every time, no matter how many times I’ve read the same words.

qjournal1

The Secret to Writing Poetry — There Isn’t One!

By: Kristen Joseph

 

Hey, diddle, diddle,

The cat and the fiddle,

The cow jumped over the moon;

The little dog laughed

To see such sport,

And the dish ran away with the spoon.

There seems to be a widely held misconception that poetry is boring. All poems are either cheesy nursery rhymes (like the Mother Goose classic above) or stuffy intellectual pieces that take an eternity to fully analyze and decode. I mean, who even writes poetry anymore?

poetA lot of people, actually. Especially teens. After StageofLife.com conducted a poetry writing contest, data showed that 60% of the thousands of 14 to 19 year olds who participated found writing poetry to be a “freeing” activity.

You see, everyone seems to think that poems have to adhere to strict rules of rhyme and rhythm — the three lines of a tranquil haiku follow the 5-7-5 syllable rule and silly limericks have to follow a syllabic structure and rhyme scheme — but that is simply not true. Some types of poetry, like a sonnet or a villanelle, have a structure that must be followed in order for the poem to be qualified as a sonnet or a villanelle. But if you’re just beginning (or if you just enjoy the freedom of writing without having to follow specific rules), free verse is where it’s at.

Free verse poetry is exactly what it sounds like: free. No guidelines or gimmicks, vintage poetryjust you and your written thoughts. You don’t need complete sentences or any type of rhyme scheme, and you can even make up words.

The best thing about free verse writing is that you can write about anything that you want. School, something you’re passionate about, or even a completely random object can be the subject of a poem. It’s a great way to get rid of thoughts rolling around in your head, and you can literally create poetry anywhere, making it a fantastic way to eliminate boredom. If you want to read someone else’s work to see how it’s done, there are tons of bestselling poetry books out there, like Milk and Honey and the princess saves herself in this one, that are written from a young adult perspective and have earned 4 out of 5 stars, according to the customer reviews.

boypoet.jpgMost schools have some kind of writing or literary club, so if you want support on your new poetic adventures, I’m sure you can find some. If you can’t discover any in person, though, there are a significant amount of online forums, just for teens to post their poetry. Some websites, like PowerPoetry.org, even offer college scholarships just for entering original poems into their “Scholarship Slams!”

So if you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at writing your own poem, now is the perfect time to start.

Here, I’ll start writing with you. Remember, the poem doesn’t have to be amazing; it’s just an introductory piece. You may love it, you may hate it, but if you keep writing, I guarantee that you’ll get better and ideas will come to you more easily. Now, think of a word. Just one word. Write it down…and keep writing, until you run out of things to say. Here’s what I came up with for the word “intent”:

Intent yet furnished on

gilded desires

focused singularly on

achievement.

Triumphant sounds resounding

on wavelengths of

praise,

cheers enveloping all

atmosphere surrounding

screaming

“Yes, you have

accomplished.

You are worthy.”

 

sunsetptry

Your turn.

Book Sniffin’

By: Kristen Joseph

Okay, I think it’s about time for someone to ask these questions…. What’s up with book sniffing? What on earth even makes books smell like that? And why isn’t there an official term for this particular action? As a fellow book-lover (who enjoys the smell of a good tome on occasion), I decided to research this topic to satisfy my curiosity, and yours.

jpegAroma-Chemistry-The-Smell-of-New-Old-Books-v2-724x1024Old books and new books seem to have completely different scents. The reason? Chemistry. According to an article on CompoundChem.com—where I found the handy-dandy infographic on the left— older books contain a bunch of compounds that make them smell sweeter, particularly chemicals that produce vanilla- and almond-like aromas. This is why the sections of the library with the older books smell so amazing…. Now I really want to go sit around in a library. Queue the nostalgic sigh.

Some people say that they only like the scent of older books, but honestly, the new ones smell amazing too! They may not contain the delightful odor of almond or vanilla, but they still smell like relaxation and happy times (at least in my opinion). Newer books generally smell light and fresh too, as opposed to their older and sweeter counterparts. Nevertheless, these literary aromas are all fantastic.

bookloverNow for the fun fact that I discovered today: there’s actually a term for this. In both noun and verb form, bibliosmia is described as the smell of/act of smelling books. This wonderful word isn’t dictionary-official yet, but many book-lovers are pushing to get the term recognized. So there you have it. Some of the most important literary questions ever posed, answered. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go take a whiff of the novel I’m currently reading.

Happy Sniffing!