Weekend Reads #23: Smelly, Old Books or Fresh, New Ones

Weekend Reads is a weekly discussion on a variety of topics. At the end of the post, I’ll include what I plan to read on the weekend.

The question/topic for this weekend:

Which do you prefer: new books with pristine covers or tattered, old ones with a questionable scent?

I promised a bookish topic for this weekend so here it is. This topic was inspired by my library’s book sale, the first such sale I’ve ever attended. Since the beginning of summer, I’ve tried to attend this sale but by the time I get out of bed, eat breakfast, and get dressed, the sale is done. It ends about 1pm, which makes no sense to me because who gets up before 11 on weekends?

I loath getting out of bed early on weekends but I made the effort to do so recently so I could attend the sale. I got there 10 minutes before it was done. Woohoo!! Success! I was so focused on finally attending the sale that I didn’t stop to consider the state of the books. In my mind, the books were as pristine as those in the store. They were unsullied by the markings of other readers. No coffee stains, no penciled notes, no highlighted lines. The pages still had a freshly pressed scent about them and would be smooth to my touch. I was deluded.

Though the books at the library sale were in good shape, it was obvious they were used. They had aged, some of them badly. Pages had become discolored and covers were wrinkled. I usually sniff my books while considering whether to buy them (don’t judge me) but when I sniffed these, it was hard to place the scent. They certainly didn’t have that freshly pressed smell. (Though, now that I think about it, I don’t know what a freshly pressed scent is since the books in the bookstore were printed a long time before I got to them.) Some had scribbled notes in the margins and others creaked when I opened them.

I’d made the effort to attend the library sale so I refused to leave without purchasing something. Plus, I should have expected this of the books so I did a quick search through boxes, piles, and racks and walked away with three books that together amounted to $1.50. Success! (Book haul coming soon.)

I’m glad with my purchases, though they are used books. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind reading from used books, I just have a strong preference for new ones because I like being the first person to use the book. Most used books I’ve encountered usually have the previous reader’s thoughts littered throughout the pages. That annoys me. The thoughts get in the way of my reading and the opinions I try to form about the work. So though I don’t mind reading sullied used books, preferably with covers and pages intact, I’m more likely to reach for a new copy and sniff its freshly pressed aroma.

So what’s your preference? Let me know below.
What I’m reading this weekend:

The Monstrumologist

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey. I’m so glad I picked this book up. It’s perfect reading for October. The prose is highly descriptive so the pace is a bit slow but I love that. I’m so caught up in Yancey’s descriptions that I’m not even scared while reading.

What are you reading this weekend? Please share below.
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6 thoughts on “Weekend Reads #23: Smelly, Old Books or Fresh, New Ones

  1. Ninety five percent of my books are used, some abused, but only one has a scent that made me wish it wasn’t raining outside so I could use the breeze to combat it’s terrible smell.
    The one’s that are falling apart don’t bother me none, and I can think of only one that had so many notes and underlinings in it that it distracted a little.
    So as long as the content pleases a books condition doesn’t worry me.

    Read this weekend: an Amazon and a donkey, which is about, you guessed right, donkey/river adventure 🙂

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  2. I don’t really care about the situation of the book, I mostly care about my wallet hahaha. But most of the time I don’t mind buying used books, as long as they’re readable I’d buy them!

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  3. I stand on the opposite side from you on this, because I really love used books. My grandpa has a pretty big collections of books he purchased throughout his life, and I’ve always loved touching, smelling and eventually reading them. Used books may not have the freshly pressed smell to them and their odour might be different but I find it equally alluring (it actually reminds me of my uni library and those trips to my grandma’s attic in my childhood). The idea that other people have used and loved (or hated) a certain book before it reaches my hands fascinates me, and I always love imagining the stories of the people that have read it before.

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