Kevin Barry on the Keeping of Notebooks

This is from my latest favorite essay about keeping a notebook, by Irish writer Kevin Barry, author of City of Bohane:

Stationery stores are for me places of huge erotic frisson. I traipse grubbily around the aisles in my long coat and when I think nobody is looking, I have a surreptitious little sniff at a notebook. Touch and feel are important, yes, as is the grain of the paper and the ease with which the cover folds back to allow my scribbling, but smell is the clincher. I have more than once been caught in the act of determining, with practiced nostrils, a notebook’s aroma. I’ve found the best response, when caught, is to hold eye contact with my accuser, square my shoulders, and proceed proudly to the tills—because I am what I am.

And also, in fairness, if you sniff it, you own it.

Read more at Kevin Barry on the Keeping of Notebooks | Graywolf Press.

2 thoughts on “Kevin Barry on the Keeping of Notebooks”

  1. I do this too. There have been a few times where I am caught offguard after buying a notebook and the paper just smells weird. I usually don’t finish those note/skethbooks.

  2. Smell is very important. Of course you could always remedy the situation of an off-smelling notebook with a spray of Paper Passion Perfume for Booklovers found here:

    Or, my personal preference, In the Library, described as “a warm blend of English Novel*, Russian & Moroccan Leather Bindings, Worn Cloth and a hint of Wood Polish.”

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