They’ve been around for a while now. When I was younger, I thought that we Westerners invented them, but it was the Chinese who came up with the printing press 400 years before Gutenberg’s bible.
Whoever first did it, I’m ever so grateful they did.
The first time I started using the library on my own, I wandered the stacks of my grammar school’s library. I didn’t know how to find books I liked, and it was so hard to figure it out from the covers. They were blank, hardbound books with dark covers that held secrets between their pages. How do you dig into them, short of reading all of them, to find out which ones you enjoy?
I remember their smell, these old books. I read somewhere that the smell was a unique combination of a bug that eats paper and the decomposition of that same paper. I don’t know if that’s true, but I love the idea of a real bookworm. My favorite author back then was Phyllis A. Whitney, who wrote mysteries.