Fragrance

The art and science of the world of scent.

 


 

Coming to My Senses

By Alyssa Harad

 

A hilarious memoir of one Birkenstock-wearing feminist's "torrid affair" with perfume. As the author learns to embrace her sensuous side, she finds the confidence to resolve several outstanding personal issues, including her reluctance to marry her partner of ten years. What emerges is an illuminating guide to the fragrance industry as well as a tender portrait of self-discovery.

 


 

Floating Gold

By Christopher Kemp

 

Our columnist Adam Kirsch wonders, "What could smell better than the hardened digestive secretions of a whale? In this comprehensive history of ambergris, Christopher Kemp shows how humanity's quest for that unique substance, whose rare odor made it a treasured ingredient in perfume, has affected the economy and ecology of the world."

 


 

The Little Book of Perfumes

By Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez

 

In 2008, olfactory scientist Luca Turin and perfume collector/blogger Tania Sanchez collaborated on the sprawling Perfumes: The A-Z Guide, surveying some 1,200 fragrances. Here, the sharp-nosed duo boils their encyclopedic offering down to a hundred essential scents, updating their original reviews in a trim, take-along, "best of" volume that's nothing to sniff at.

 


 

The Emperor of Scent

By Chandler Burr

 

Chandler Burr, the New York Times perfume critic and author of The Perfect Scent, profiles Luca Turin (c0-author of the aforementioned Little Book of Perfumes), the eccentric scientist whose nose has the olfactory equivalent of perfect pitch. In his quest for a unified theory of smell, Turin has upended conventional thinking about how our noses work, and Burr follows Turin's journey from pariah to innovator to acknowledged expert with flair and charm.

 


 

The Scent of Desire

By Rachel Herz

 

Among our five senses, smell is often seen as secondary, far less important to our lives than vision, hearing, or touch, and chiefly important in the way it serves taste. But Rachel Herz argues for its key role in our physical and emotional well-being, an argument bolstered by profiles of despondent individuals who have lost their olfactory senses in accidents. A revelatory journey through the body and brain, along a delightfully unexpected path.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.