This same personality trait caused us to spend two hours one evening pulling all of our books off their shelves (we own a lot of them; we were both English majors in college), organizing them according to genre, and then alphabetically by the author's last name. We even started putting them into an online personal library program, and stopped just short of printing out our own Library of Congress labels to put on the book spines.
That is why places like Earthlight Books, a used book shop at the east end of Main Street in Walla Walla, are dangerous places for us to visit. This shop is a popular haunt for many people I know; it practically whispers their name anytime they're near downtown, and, like a true magical entity, Earthlight Books is difficult to refuse.
I remember the first time I stopped by. It was on a whim on a chilly early winter afternoon; I think I'd just had my hair cut a block down the street and had a few minutes to spare. The first thing that hit me was the smell. Paper. Old paper, new paper, typed-on paper, printed-on paper, written-on paper...deliciously aromatic paper.
One of my favourite things to do in old book shops and libraries is to open century-old books, bury my nose in the crease of the binding, close my eyes, and breathe deep. I just love that old paper smell!
The second thing I noticed about Earthlight Books was the colour: Bright blue. Everything was blue - the walls and the bookshelves were beautiful shades of sea-blue and it calmed me. I was the only one in the shop and I walked slowly between tables and shelves of books. Novels, biographies, romances, documentaries, autobiographies, children's books...there were so many they were spilling off the shelving and were even stacked on the floor. As I stood in the middle of the silent shop and listened to myself breathe and the unique, willowy voices of each book in the room, all I could think was, "What a beautiful disaster!"