For the Love of Books…

A blogger friend recently created a post, Paper Books verses eBooks, about her love of books, the way she deals with ‘outgassing’ petrochemical based inks from them; and she expressed her interest in finding out how other people sort out their books. (She’s also writing a book: Allergic to Life:  My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope—to be released soon. You can check that out (and her blog) here.)  Printed books are a problem for some people who are sensitive to chemicals because the petrochemical based inks can take a while to air out. (Imagine holding a book in front of your face, and the fumes from the ink causing your eyes to sting, and dry out and for it to affect your sinuses and your breathing.) For someone who loves books, this is right royal kick in the pants! Consequently, I buy a lot of eBooks. But, for me, there are two important elements that are at play in the purchasing of books: if it’s non-fiction and I know I’m going to need to read it super fast then it’s got to be an eBook; however, if it’s a part of the Fire and Ice Four Bundle Book series (like I just bought off Amazon), or if it’s a novel by Luke Daviesmy favourite author such as his heart-wrenching Candyor a collection of his poetry then it’s got to be the real thing!

And, it has to be aired out to earn its place on my bookshelves…

(I’m not sure if it’s like this for other people, but some books need airing and others don’t. They either have petrochemical inks embedded in the pages or they don’t. And for those of you reading this who don’t have problems with the inks on books, I too was once like you; the smell of a new book was nothing but pleasure. A joy to inhale. A sign that, if I was lucky, my imagination was about to be captivated and I could get out of the hustle of life for a few hours. (You know the saying: the book was so good that I inhaled it in one sitting? That’s no longer where I’m at (for now). With a new book, if it’s good and I just can’t put it down, it’s like I’m in a mini-war with myself: smells can be ignored (I can just switch off) but symptoms can’t and I often find myself caught between the two, until the later wins out. Like I was saying though, not all books have this problem. Today, there are many publications printed using soy ink: Multiple Chemical Sensitivity by  Pamela Reed Gibson is printed using soy ink; AESSRA print their brochures and newsletter, Sensitivity Matters, with it; Parks Victoria’s Walking Your Dog brochure is; and there are councils who print using soy too.)

Here’s what I do for those ‘handheld paper’ books: I utilise a clothes-drying rack to hang printed material and books (using pegs on the loose-leaf stuff)! The rack is placed in a well-aired (preferably) sunny place, out of the weather; this is under a pergola where the roofing has clear Perspex on parts of it. When I need the books in a hurry (like I did for my Myths and Symbols class, earlier in the first semester) I stick the rack in front of the outdoor compressor unit of the split-system air-conditioner/heater: sun comes through the roof’s Perspex, helping to release the inks; the expended air blown out from the unit speeds up the process. I, personally, hang out for super hot 40C days because on these days, a book can be ready to be devoured after only two days!

These darlings are just hanging out to be read…

In winter, it’s not a good idea—especially for treasures like Interferon Psalms or World Mythology—because air that’s damp makes the covers and the pages turn and curl up. However, this can be fixed (as long as the book has dried within a couple of hours of getting damp or else mould/mustiness can be an additional kick in the pants!) by placing the book under a pile of other books for a couple of days.

For me, books that have those glossy, colourful pages need to be aired out in the sun, and for longer. I’m not sure what it is about that type of print/photograph ink (magazines too) but they give me a headache, pain behind my eyes, and burning nostrils making my sinuses ache, and if I push through it and keep reading (because ‘hey, somethings are hard to put down’) then my thinking gets muddled and that, in itself, takes the magic out of reading.

Newspaper ink wrecks me; I can’t be in the room with a fresh newspaper for long. And I gave up reading them soon after I tested positive for newsprint and realised that airing the things was useless because the love/hate relationship I was having with them just wasn’t working for me. Besides, (as far as the content goes) most books can be read new or old but there is something to be said for reading news that is fresh (and it’s all good) and even more to be said about reading news printed in fresh news print (and it’s all bad). Although I really miss the A2 section of the Age newspaper, here in Melbourne! Online news is just not the same; sometimes I think the content has been created for zombies with ADHD, or something that makes it impossible to concentrate… Thanks be to the poets and bloggers in Blogworld!

And… because I did so well with my studies last year, a friend bought me a Sony eReader as a I’m-proud-of-you-for-sticking-it-out-and-following-your-dream gift.

(Other eReaders available are the Kindle, Kobo and, of course, the iPad.)

I love it so much!

Let me blog about the ways.

Cause that little gem pays.

Truly, it’s my darling as such!

(Well, that there is a part of my Poetry 1 homework out of the way.)

Seriously, my eReader is great: I can read the lil’ sucker in bed. I can read new books straight away. Reading it does not cause or aggravate any symptoms. I’ve never had to air it, and I’ve never had trouble with plastics, so that is the lucky part in all of this! And best of all, it has a light, and a note pad for scribbling down bad poetry in the night!

Do you love your books this much? What lengths would you go to feed your reading addiction? 



Just so you know, those adds for the Amazon Kindle E-readers, above, are a part of the Amazon Affiliate’s Program, which I’ve recently joined. If you purchase via these links, I get paid. If you too would like to promote products onto your blog that you believe are worthwhile, here’s the linkJoin Associates,’s affiliate program 

Michellina Van Loder is a Professional Writer, Journalist and Blogger. This is where she shares her tales about trail blazing her way out of the Labyrinth of Chemical Sensitivities and Mould. This is also where you will find the latest Research on related topics.



About Michellina van Loder


  1. What an interesting read. I do not have allergies to paper books and love the way the paper feels in my fingers as I turn pages. Thanks for the info!

  2. I find this very interesting. Thank you for sharing. I may need to check out an e-reader yet.


  1. […] she handles new ink and her thoughts on e-books.  You can read how she handles this on her blog:  I find that she has some wonderful ideas.  Please visit her […]

Information, products and views presented by guest bloggers @The Labyrinth are not necessarily the same as those held by this blog's author, Michellina van Loder. Reviews are my own personal opinions (unless stated otherwise); and satire is used throughout personal posts. Any health topics discussed are not to be taken as medical advice. Seek out medical attention if needed and do your own research; however, you're welcome to use mine as a start.
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