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The Bookworm

Book Lovers Day

Aug 9

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"When in doubt, go to the library."

~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Are you an avid reader, a bookworm? Or perhaps you are a bibliophile (book lover) with a touch of "bibliosmia" - the love of the smell of old books. Positive associations with books and old bookstores are sometimes triggered by the aroma of molds and dusts and other breakdown products. Ignoring visibly moldy books (which can house common and problematic molds), as a book ages, the chemical compounds used in the glue, paper, and in the ink begin to break down. A common smell of old books, says the International League for Antiquarian Booksellers, is a hint of vanilla: lignin, which is present in all wood-based paper, is closely related to compound vanillin. Interestingly, books produced before approximately 1850 have a different smell to those produced between 1850 and 1990, due to different printing processes using acid sizing to reduce water absorbency! The term bookworm (which has its English origins in any insect which bores through books) for avid readers has interesting equivalents in other languages:

Bookworm (English)
Book flea (Indonesian)
Library mouse (Romanian)
Read-rat (German)
Ink drinker (French)
Reading horse (Danish)


The Bookworm

“Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”

~  Henry David ThoreauA Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

Today is the day for bibliophiles, lovers of books, also called "bookworms."  

The term bookworm originated with insects that bore through books.  Actual book-borers are uncommon. Two moths, the common clothes moth and the brown house moth, will attack cloth bindings. Leather-bound books attract various beetles.  The actual booklouse or paperlouse are tiny and feed on microscopic molds and other organic matter found in ill-maintained works, although they will also attack bindings and other book parts. 

The Chief Secretary for Ireland from 1907–1916, Augustine Birrell once recounted a situation in which a bookworm had eaten through to the 87th page of a fifteenth-century vellum book. 

The term "bibliosmia" refers to the love of the smell of old books (which is actually an aroma of molds and dusts and breakdown products from the book materials).  

And the Japanese word ‘tsundoku’ means ‘buying a bunch of books and then not getting round to reading them’. 

For more interesting book facts, click the painting by German painter and poet Carl Spitzweg,  1857, called "The Bookworm."

The Bookworm

Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!

The Bookworm

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WELCOME TO An Entertainment Site for Scottish Country Dancers - Enjoy the curated selection of theme-related dances for celebrations and holidays, or find a dance associated with a special calendar day, or EVEN your own birthday!  

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