I found the ideal book smell in a small used bookstore in West Seattle this past weekend. I was visiting friends and we walked into a small shop off California Ave. where the owner, who inserted herself into all our conversations, made the experience even more enjoyable. The front of the shop had the usual assortment of books, but around a sharp corner was a display of loose leaf teas, and around another, a display of spices. The scent of old books combined with dried sage and jasmine blossom tea, was heady. I purchased a few books, and was rewarded with a reading from the small volume of poetry in my stack. The owner was quite impressed with herself and waited for applause—which we happily supplied.
The bottom two photos are of the independent bookstore near my home- BookPeople of Moscow. It used to be a bit ramshackle, with stacks of books set precariously around the shop, and older gentlemen lounging on couches to read the morning papers. You could never find a thing you wanted, but somehow managed to find exactly what you needed. It has since changed owners, and they have done an amazing remodel—beautiful floors and shelving that are categorized just so—it is quite nice, but not quite the same. You can no longer find a corner where the books muffle the outside world. I often think orderliness is overrated.