10 April 2012

Reading Fiction and Your Brain

A few weeks ago I wrote a short post on the sense of smell, and more recently I read this article on what happens in our brain when we read detailed and evocative writing. Apparently words such as lavender, cinnamon or soap, elicit responses not only from the language-processing areas of our brains, but also those devoted to dealing with smells.

The article also discusses other research, but I'll stay with the sense of smell for the moment. I recall when I wrote the first chapter of Driftwood, I specifically added details about the smell of coffee. I always found this amusing as I hate coffee, and can't stand the smell of it, but I know it is a smell many people enjoy.

I love the smell of cut grass, honeysuckle and jasmine, and freshly baked bread. Earlier today, on a walk along the beachfront, I passed a house where they are building a new deck, and the smell of cut macrocarpa was lovely.

What scents do you like most, and do you have a favourite descriptive passage about a particular smell?

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