There is something very disturbing and faintly unhealthy to me about ‘comfortable’ American homes — suburban houses decorated with homey generic paintings and inspirational sayings, with thick floor rugs and heavy soft couches, with baskets of tchotckes and fluffy throw pillows and cat litter boxes and ornamental plants. There is always a faintly damp, heavy smell hanging in the air, a sense of stickiness, of preserved decay.

The only proper smell for a house is the smell of dust and tons and tons of books.