Those who know me, know that I am what you would call an "avid reader." Scarce are the times I can be found without a book in my bag, in my car, in my desk at work, in my desk at home, in my husband's car, etc. You get the idea. I like to read. I get this from my mom who taught my sister and I, at a young and tender age, the power of the library card. After that we were on a first name basis with all the librarians and were constantly hounding them just in case they had raised the limit of books one could check out at a time (in 1980's to 1990's NY it was 35 books). And trust me, there were times that we had to anguish over which ones to leave behind. Little changed over the years except for the fact that as the books got bigger and fatter I realized there was no way I was reading 35 books in 3 weeks and limited myself down by necessity. Anyway, since I have never joined a book club, except for trading books back and forth with my mom and sis, reading has always been a one person sport for me. Kind of like solitaire is for others. I spent many a years in this manner and never had a cause for complaint because I never knew there was another option.
Fast forward to 2008 and the introduction of Mr. Flash and my whole reading dynamic was turned on it's head. When Flash came to live with us I had just started getting books sent to my house directly from the library (which by the way is one of my most favorite things EVER! I love coming home and finding a book waiting for me at the front door. I seriously look forward to it more than is probably appropriate). I would come home find my new books waiting for me and add them to the book pile by my bed. Then I started noticing that Flash would always jump up and give them all a good sniff. And I'm not saying that he would sniff the book pile in general. Oh no, no, no. He would actually take the time to sniff each individual book one at a time making sure each one was cataloged in his olfactory database. Then I noticed that whenever I would lie down on the bed to read Flash would hop up next to me and lie down and give me the big ole puppy eyes. As an experiment, and because he kept starting at me, I took the book and put it in front of him for a whiff. He took his time and gave it a good sniff and then put his head down and fell asleep. After that a reading partnership was born. Whenever I pick up a book he jumps up on the bed, I present the book, he gives it a good smelling, looks at me with approval in his eyes, I start reading, and he falls asleep and starts snoring next to me.
Like all "readers" he has his book preferences. Flash likes paperbacks better than hardcovers. I think because the paperbacks probably hold more smells than the plastic hard covers. He likes books from the library better than books that I buy at stores. Can you imagine the stories those books could tell about all the homes they've visited just via the smells? And, he likes fat books better than skinny books. Obviously more book means more to smell. Also, and this is not me being all weird about my theory or anything, but I think that he is a very good judge when it comes to book quality. For example, when I was reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea he not only gave it a good sniff but he also licked it. Need I say more?
I've tried seeing if my other dogs would be the same way around books, and Flash wasn't doing anything special, but my experiments didn't go very well. I tried Alven first and called him over to smell my new library book. He looked at the book shoved up to his face, looked at me, looked at the book and then went to the kitchen to find someone to give him a biscuit. Failure. Then I called Dottie over and again tried presenting the library book to her. Oh she was interested all right! Two seconds later I'm trying to pry the book out of her mouth and she's holding on like it's her favorite chew toy. A whole two minutes after that I'm trying to get the tooth marks to smooth out of the front cover and moving the rest of my books farther back on the nightstand since who knows if I've now unleashed the flood gates on her book/chew toy awareness.
So, to conclude this long and wordy blog post, I just want to say that I love books and I love reading. But even more than that I love sharing my books with my little old guy and I love reading while he presses up next to me and snores.