Reading is a very sensory experience. If you pick up a book, you immediately touch the pages, see the words (a greatly underrated experience in itself) — and probably smell the book, too, regardless of whether you have a new or old copy.
Sometimes this is a bad experience — like my recent purchase of Life of Pi (soon to be a movie), a used edition that smells a lot like ketchup, much to my displeasure. Seriously. Gross.
Those who read aloud in their heads might “hear” the words (also a beneficial practice), but chances are you’re not tasting. That’s where words exhibit their power through story. The sights, smells, and sounds … a good author knows how to grab the reader with vivid, sensory-appealing imagery.
Smell might be the strongest tie to memory, but for me, nothing lures me in like a good description of a delicious meal. Every time. As soon as roast chicken, strawberry tarts, or some sort of savory dish involved, I’m hungry and wishing I lived in medieval times. Or at Hogwarts (here’s a cool breakdown of all the food and drink served at the wizard school.)
What about you? Do any of the five senses really get to you when you read? And go ahead — count the so-called sixth sense, too. Maybe ghosts really freak you out. :)