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Trying to Pin Down the Smell of History

Novelists have always known, maybe because their lives are so bound up in books.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote:

''Nothing revives the past so completely as a smell that was once associated with it.''

For many people, the smell of books, in particular, is one of memory's most powerful messengers, especially as the printed page gives way to the digital.

The aroma of paper and buckram in a West Texas county library where I worked as a teenager has stayed with me for decades,

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