I Love the Smell of Old Books, Which Is Why I Just Ate One

There’s nothing like the smell of an old book. And that’s why I was curled up in my local library last Tuesday, sniffing the worn pages of J.D. Salinger’s 1951 classic, The Catcher In The Rye. This was something I loved to do. Nothing was different about this day or this experience with one of my favorite reads, but just after the third sniff, something in my soul said, “mmmm, classic literature.”


So I took a big bite. And then I ate the whole book.


Whoa, I thought. I’m eating a book! But then I thought, It all makes sense. I’ve always been a bit of a nerd, and I’ve always enjoyed curling up with an old book and a hot mug of something, so once I got past the initial surprise of trying something new, it wasn’t all that surprising that I loved the taste of this musty, old book!



At first, chewing pages and pages of timeless prose proved difficult, but I soldiered through. I would say the cover was like the crust and the pages were like the delicious, soft, doughy inside. If you’re a book lover, you’ll know what I mean!


A book is exactly like bread if you think about it, and has way fewer carbs!


Of course, this wasn’t the first time my quirky love of smells has gotten me in trouble. I’ve been hospitalized for eating huge chunks of scented candles and gorging myself on an entire trash bag full of discarded tulips. I’m kind of a homebody that way. Doctors have said that my stomach currently resembles the bottom of an overused sponge, and that old books are full of sulfur, bacteria, and harmful chemicals. But that hasn’t stopped me! I don’t care what they say; I pride myself on being a little offbeat. In fact, I consumed Salinger’s work faster than Holden Caulfield can say “phony”!


I just loved the idea that I was eating something that hundreds of hands had touched, that so many minds had devoured. I haven’t pooped in weeks, but it’s totally worth it!


The library rules state that there’s no eating allowed, but honestly they’re not enforced very fairly. When Jenny Fisher was caught with a sandwich, she just had to throw it away. But when the librarian saw me eating the book, she screamed, “What the hell are you doing? Somebody help; I think she’s having a breakdown.” I don’t understand—what’s so crazy about loving books?



They made me pay a replacement fee, which was sort of a bummer. After all, aren’t libraries supposed to be free? But still, my book lunch was cheaper than my usual salad from Sweetgreen. Score!


With one famous work nestled somewhere within my body, I plan to expand my book-eating horizons. I want to get around to consuming the entire Hunger Games trilogy. Maybe one day I’ll even eat all of War and Peace. But for now, I’ll be in my paperback fiction section, chowing down on some well-worn (and well-read!) comfort food.