Welcome to our annual summer reading poll! (And we've done quarterly reading polls the last couple years, so if you want more recommendations, see fall, winter and spring. Also, you can help me out by telling me if you'd like to keep the reading polls going on a quarterly basis, or go back to once or twice a year?)
Author birthdays this weekend: Marcel Proust, Jean Kerr and Alice Munro on Saturday; Jhumpa Lahiri and Kevin Powers on Sunday.
The poll: please recommend a great book to add to our summer reading lists, and tell us what fragrance we should wear while reading it.
My recent reading:
I have read far fewer books the past quarter, although I've been working harder towards catching up on The New Yorker (and spending more time outside doing things, because hey, it's summer).
On the fiction front, I am still reading Hilary Mantel's The Mirror and the Light, which I started in spring 2020, and I might be at it for a long time yet. I cannot believe I have not given up, but it's become a sort of grief therapy to read a few pages a week, and I will get to the end eventually. I will not assign a perfume to that one — it would be too sad to wear.
I did finish two books I had started towards the end of last quarter, Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier and William Boyd's Trio, and right now I am about halfway through The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma. I also finished another Howard Norman novel (I have been catching up on Norman for the past year or so), My Darling Detective, which might be termed a "literary mystery", and would call for something dusky like Ormonde Jayne Ta'if.
On the non-fiction front, I read another book by Howard Norman, I Hate To Leave This Beautiful Place. I loved the book, but it needs something cheerful like Aftelier Candide so it doesn't weigh you down.
On the mystery / thriller front, I read and enjoyed Elly Griffiths' The Postscript Murders. I don't know if this is part of a series or not, but it does have a character from The Stranger Diaries, which I own but have not read...did anyone read that one and like it?
Note: top image is The New Novel by Winslow Homer, 1877, via Wikimedia Commons.
I’m currently (and pretty much always these days) in the middle of about five books, but the one that shows the most promise of being both thought-provoking and finishable is Samantha Powers’ memoir, The Education of An Idealist. For scented accompaniment, it needs something contemplative. My SOTM would fill the bill nicely, actually — I’m in MCG Lankaran Forest.
I’ve only been able to full of the multiple books thing when I’m teaching them, but I admire it! How do you decide which to read when?
It’s kind of sad, really — over the pandemic (and for the few years before that), I lost my ability to read suspenseful stories. Life was already too full of suspense. Now that things are settling down a bit, what I pick up to read depends on the time of day. At bedtime I’m still stuck reading either humor or something I’ve read before; otherwise I get tense and can’t get to sleep. But since I retired at the end of 2020, I get to read during the day, so that’s when I read the more challenging material.
Congratulations on retiring AND on reading more! Lately I find I mostly read American history as I try to understand better this period we are in. But not before bed, as it will keep my up all night! And that’s where perfume reviews come in …
History has never been my strong suit — I should read more of it, in places other than wikipedia. ?
Oh, I do understand that. Books and TV shows will keep me up if they’re too intense. Congrats on the retirement!
Thanks! I’m loving it so far.
That is so interesting, I don’t like to be only reading one thing at a time. What if you’re not in the mood for that one book? But 3 at a time is usually about my limit, and 2 is better.
I read The Education of an Idealist, and I really enjoyed it! Actually, TBH, I listened to it on audiobook, but I liked hearing it in her voice, and I feel like I learned a lot about how diplomacy and international work really looks on the inside.
I’ll bet it was very interesting to listen to her reading it. The last audiobook I “read” was Life of Pi, during my short stint in LA. The commute to my job there was short in miles but very long time-wise.
I just read a few things in rapid succession during my break from everything. Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro and Educated by Tara Westover were the best, and Midnight Sun, the “Edward’s perspective” Twilight book by Stephanie Meyer, was definitely the worst…but I read all 658 pages anyway. James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time is next on the agenda.
SOTD is J’adore l’or
Happy weekend, everyone!
I read 10 pages of Klara and The Sun but was finishing something else and my loan period ended, so now I’m on a long waiting list again! Looking forward to it.
Oh, I loved it! I’m a big Ishiguro fan in general, but Klara slid into second place for me, after Never Let Me Go. Hope you get to the top of the list soon!
I will get it in about 5 weeks, I think, then I better finish it right away this time.
I am a fan too but had fallen behind. I did read Buried Giant last quarter so I’d be ready for Klara
Never Let Me Go haunted me after I read it. I haven’t read any of his books since then (I had previously read Remains of the Day). I feel as if I have to gird my mental and emotional loins before I revisit Ishiguro, and I don’t feel I can really tackle that until I retire.
Oh, I get that. My sister promised that when I reached the end of The Remains of the Day, I would cry at a certain line, and of course she was correct about both the tears and the line.
I liked Tara Westover’s Educated, but I kept getting so angry at her family that I had to take breaks to cool down. Emotional involvement is a sign of a good book, tho.
I usually have about 3 books going at once, and occasionally even get through one of them.
Right now, I’m reading Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures. Readers, pick it up if you have any interest in the natural world. It’s surprisingly engaging, written in a way that makes one feel a sense of wonder about this mysterious, mostly hidden world.
For a scent accompaniment, there is of course Aftelier’s Cepes and Tuberose (which I do not personally own), but I would think anything that has a wet earth, rooty, or woody vibe would work. There’s probably a Demeter scent that would suit perfectly.
I’ve also got Against Empathy and Stories of Your Life on the nightstand, by Paul Bloom and Ted Chiang, respectively.
I like the quarterly reading lists — I get lots of good recommendations from this poll, and it’s fun and informative to read about potential scent pairings.
How about Oriza Legrand Chypre Mousse for the scent pairing?
Had to go look it up at Luckyscent: “The smell of damp undergrowth; scorched leaves and the scent of moss before picking mushrooms and chestnuts.” That sounds perfect!
Hajusuuri, I was just thinking of that one!
For a really literal pairing to Entangled Life you could go with Cuir et Champignon, if you can still find it. It’s very mushroomy.
Instead, I went and stuck my nose in my jar of porcini powder (OMG, I love this stuff) and took a big huff!
Wow, that sounds great! I’ve never had porcini powder. You cook with it, I assume?
Yep, you can add it to anything you’d add powdered flavorings (like spices) to. I often use it in dry rubs. Do I have your address (Oregon?)? I’ll send you some in an envelope (my plant biologist friend, see below, keeps me stocked up)!
Wow, yes please! Yes, I’m still in Portland, Oregon. We moved about a year before the pandemic, so if the address you have is on Knight Street, that’s the old address. Thank you! I love mushrooms. A nerdy friend keeps promising he’ll take me out to collect wild mushrooms, but it hasn’t happened yet.
I had just added Entangled Life to my reading list this week after reading a recommendation, and then yesterday while at my local bookstore, I flipped through it. I love that within the prologue/introduction, the author is already describing the different ways in which fungi can smell. I didn’t pick it up yesterday, but it’s definitely on my radar for the near future.
I also found quite a few books I was interested in at the nature section. Do you have any other standout nature books to recommend?
therabbitsflower, I got my copy through inter-library loan (another reason why the public library system is fabulous). I am not generally a nature-book aficionado, I’ve just been more interested in fungi lately, after having listened to the How to Change Your Mind (Michael Pollan) audiobook, and having a plant biologist friend with a keen interest in mycology. I also find their fruiting bodies (the mushroom part) to be visually compelling — such a fantastic array of shapes, colors and textures. They’re fascinating.
Yeah, the Michael Pollan book you mentioned and his new one, Your Mind on Plants, are both on my radar. But I am not the fastest reader anymore and definitely lean more towards reading fiction, so it may take me time to get to these. I wish my neighborhood library branch would re-open. They’ve still remained closed due to the pandemic, so I don’t have a convenient place to pick up holds. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
The Hidden Life of Trees by Pete Wohllenben talks quite a bit about the importance of fungi to trees and forests, so it might be of interest to you. His writing style is engaging, so it is an easy read.
I’ve been listening through Audible Books to junky mysteries plotted out in the 12th thru 15th centuries. None have really stood out recently. I’ve just begun reading “US Foreign Policy and Muslim Women’s Rights,” so, not for everyone.
Anyhoooo, my word of the day is “murraya” as I loved watching the clips of Zaila Avant-garde winning the Scripps spelling bee. Plastered a goofy smile on my face that was still there when I woke up this morning. You may have followed the story as well. But it was this morning’s New York Times story about the event that I wanted to share. The very bright and extraordinary young woman from SF who was neck and neck with Zaila faltered on a word near and dear to us: neroli oil! https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/09/us/zaila-avant-garde-spelling-bee-winner.html If you haven’t watched the last moments of the Bee, you are in for a treat!
I saw that — neroli oil and murraya!! Also learned a new word from the NYT article, “fewtrils” (things of little value) — what a great word.
Thanks for sharing about neroli oil. I had no idea that’s the word the runner up went out on. I find it really interesting that was a spelling bee word.
I have recently read Gideon the Ninth and its sequel, Harrow the Ninth, and I can’t wait for the next installment in what is supposed to be a trilogy. This is a truly original sci-fi series that goes far far beyond its “lesbian necromancers in space” catchphrase. First book is something fans of Agatha Christie might enjoy; second one is a deconstructed story about dealing with trauma and grief, all with very snarky, unique brand of humour. While something like Black March would be too on the nose as a perfume companion to these books, there is a passage in the book about one character smelling of “sweat and perfume: musk, rose, vetiver” that made me think vetiver perfume would be a good choice, but it would have to be a very original one. Florascent Medina, with its mix of vetiver and saffron that gives it subtle metallic sheen that would go well with all the intricate swordplay in the book, would be my choice.
I am eagerly awaiting the 3rd book too.
I LOVED the first in the series. Stayed with the second because the writing is so fun, but if I’m honest, I definitely lost the drift in places (I listened to both as audio books, the narrator was terrific). So I am a little wary about the third. Am hoping I can follow the plot!
Sign me up for ‘lesbian necromancers in space’!
That’s quite a tagline, no? But it is so much more!
Yup. That one’s just gone onto the to-read list!
Hi, akimon — where does one find Florascent Medina?
Via Google, I found the Florascent website, which has lovely sample sets, but it appears they don’t ship to the US, where I am. I found a green perfumes site that carried Florascent, but not Medina.
When I was trying to order directly from Florascent German store, https://www.florascent-shop.de/ few years ago, I just emailed them – info at florascent.de – and asked if they would ship to US, and they said yes. I sent them a list of what I wanted by email, and they sent me back a PayPal invoice. They were super nice and suggested splitting the shipment into two to avoid custom issues. The good thing with all natural perfumes is that they qualify for shipping under Aromatherapy, too.
I would say current formulation of Medina is not what it used to be, possibly due to IFRA? No longer the pungent, ferocious blend I fell in love with, more of a nice patchouli – vetiver combo, so I would get a sample first. They have many other interesting scents and samples for pretty much everything. If they still ship to US, I hope you can try them!
This is so helpful, thank you!
I found one used sample set (not including Medina) from Hungary on ebay, and I’m hoping that one is old school.
Will def inquire about order some of the current sample sets from their site!
I just started reading a 3rd tome of “His Dark Materials” by Philip Pullman.
Perfume for today is Amouage Love Mimosa.
Oh “The Amber Spyglass” is SO GOOD.
I bought the first volume on a whim because I had heard good things about it. At the time I lived around the corner from a bookstore, and before I was even halfway through I went out and bought the second and third volumes because I knew I was going to have to read them and I wouldn’t be able to wait. I’ve read them at least three times, and listened to the audiobooks (fully cast with multiple actors) twice.
The HBO series is decent too — not as good as the books, but decent.
Hope we are going to get Volume 3 of Book of Dust soon.
I’m also eagerly awaiting Volume 3 there! We will find out what’s the deal with the rose oil, right?
Yes! But honestly, when the 3rd book comes out, I am going to have to re-read The Secret Commonwealth first.
What is this noon about ?
I loved that series, or at least the initial novels. I usually like series better at the beginning when they are more mysterious.
Robin, please keep the reading poll quarterly! I’m always on the hunt for something new to read.
I’m not going to list the “meh” books I read this quarter (there were many). Good books I read were:
Mark Harris’s biography of Mike Nichols. Mr. Harris is married to Tony Kushner, so he knows his way around NY theater.
David Yaffe, “Reckless Daughter: A biography of Joni Mitchell.” Interesting, and Joni appears to be quite narcissistic.
Jacqueline Winspear, “This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing” and “The Consequences of Fear.” This Time Next Year is a memoir, and Consequences is a Maisie Dobbs story. Both are good reads.
Eileen Garvin, “The Music of Bees.” Three misfits meet up and improve each other, but there was a lot of info about keeping bees that I found interesting.
J.S. Dewes, “The Last Watch.” Sci-fi space opera. Exiles from the center of civilized worlds patrol the border of the universe. Engaging characters but requires much suspension of disbelief. I’m pretty sure the laws of physics are violated repeatedly.
Wendy Moore, “No Man’s Land.” Women physicians found a hospital in London during WWI. This is non-fiction and you can imagine the kinds of obstacles they encountered.
I also read Klara and the Sun, Janet Evanovich’s twenty-seventh Stephanie Plum novel, J.D. Robb’s fifty-second Eve Dallas novel, and I’ve started a series by Paul Doiron about a game warden in Maine. Looking forward to a new Robert Crais, Diana Gabaldon, and Laurie R. King in the fall. I have no idea how to scent these, you all are so much better than I at matching scent to themes. I just grab whatever most days. Today I’m wearing Kyoto.
I think you recommended the Sparks & Bainbridge mysteries in a previous poll. Thanks! I quite enjoyed them.
Yes, and I have the third one on my Kindle but I haven’t read it yet. Glad you liked them, and I always find something new to read on your lists.
Ditto on enjoying them!
Double ditto on enjoying the series.
I also read Klara and the ☀️, what did you think ?
Ishiguro and I have a complicated relationship. His stories are deceptively simple but with lots of subtext, so as an easy read I found it somewhat disappointing because it -was- so simple. However, lately I’ve found myself thinking about the nature of identity, friendship, and personhood and that’s all due to the book.
Same with Buried Giant. I did not enjoy it so terribly while reading it, but it really stays with you. Some day I will go read it again.
I thought it was interesting how he portrayed the relationship between Klara and the housekeeper, and also, how parents loose their moral compass to push their kids ahead
Mostly I have been reading SF and mysteries, escapist stuff.
Just finished The Moon Spinners by Mary Stewart. Interesting, well written, but how wish we could excise the very dated gender expectations… I suppose we’d have to scent our heroine with something completely expected for a woman in the 1940’s.
Also read the 4th Inspector Gamache mystery from Louise Penny. No need to come up with a scent for the inspector, it’s been provided: he smells of sandalwood and rose.
Reading the Alex Verus books by Benedict Jacka. I think for Alex the best we could hope for is that he remembered to shower…
Also reading the Fallen Empire series from Lindsay Buroker. Our heroine there would wear something not traditionally considered feminine; vetiver seems appropriate.
I’ve only read one proper book lately: The True History of the First Mrs. Meredith and Other Lesser Lives, by Diane Johnson. Actually I started reading it, then decided I was really more in the mood for cheese whiz, so I switched to Austenland by Shannon Hale (definitely cheese whiz), and later returned to Lesser Lives. Which turned out to be interesting and delightful… it was just the intro that was a bit of a slog.
SOTD for me is Mango Thai Lime by Jo Loves. Pretending the heat here is fun and exotic (it’s not. It’s just hot.) I had to get this scent in London; when they first started selling Jo Loves in the US, this was the scent I wanted, and of course this was the only scent they didn’t sell in the US at the time.
Funny — the heroine in The Moonspinners is probably the most self-sufficient and independent of the protagonists in Mary Stewart’s various romance-adventure novels … and the least likely to wear scent. She’s a bit of a tomboy. Stewart’s novels were definitely of their early-50s time and aimed at a very specific audience. The “heroine” who offends me most, as to gender expectations, is Gianetta in Wildfire At Midnight (although I admit to enjoying that story quite a lot).
All the heroines in her stories are these supremely competent women who do amazing brave things all on their own then collapse in a puddle of “oh but I’m only a helpless woman” once the drama is over. Bah humbug. Makes me want to shake ’em
When it comes to Moonspinners, I can’t help but want to rewatch the Hayley Mills movie. One of my favorites.
yep love it.
Gotta check The Moon-Spinners out; sounds like a good moment of escape and I’m a Mary Stewart fan!
Happy Saturday everyone!! I am currently reading “The Charms Bracelet” by Viola Shipman. My favorite books give beautiful, vivid descriptions of places and things, houses and ceramics in the house etc. This book is really good on that and also there are three different generations in this book: The grandma (who has memories of self growing up and her mother), mother and a daughter. How all three reunite but the charms on the bracelet tell their family history. Lovely book.
For some reason Bamboo Harmony has been a perfume that feels good to be worn while wearing it… A green fragrance just like the description of Lake Michigan in the book!!
Currently sitting on the beach reading Memorial by Bryan Washington sipping a coffee from a food truck.
Bvlgari Omnia for ?? , as they are playing ??????? in the final ⚽️ Euro Cup domani
I am looking forward to reading everyone’s reading list.
I read *so little* these days. I mean, I read constantly, but it’s all online. I hardly ever sit down with a physical book these days. A month or so ago I pulled an old favourite from the shelf, “Executive Blues” by G.J. Meyer, a harrowing story about corporate unemployment, and tore through it in two days. Highly recommended.
I haven’t read anything on my Kindle in so long that the battery drained. I recharged it and intend to get to the top book in the stack, “A Feathered River Across The Sky”, a history of the passenger pigeon and how we killed them all, every last one of their incomprehensible billions, in the space of fifty years. I really want to read it!
I’m wearing a couple of spritzes from a big ample of Hermès Bel Ami Vetiver. In truth it is full-bottle-worthy but I won’t be buying it because I have a gazillion other things to wear. Sure is nice, though. I *might* buy it. Never say never.
That book sounds fascinating. Please read it and tell me if I should
Work and life has become much busier in the last few months and my reading has slowed down a lot. I’m still working my way through the Lord Peter Wimsey series (just finished The Nine Tailors). I wonder if Lord Peter wears cologne and if he chooses it himself or relies on Bunter’s impeccable taste?
I am going to a fancy dress birthday party tonight and looking forward to wearing a fun cocktail dress with huge puffy sleeves and some Shalimar.
Have a ball tonight Birdy16! I do love that series and will read it again some day.
I am re reading Francis Fitzgeralds’ The Fire in the Lake for the third time. Spent two hours lazily reading the NY Times this morning with my coffee and am testing Boy Smells Violet Ends.
Wow, have not read that since college, but I know it made an impression on me at the time — it is the only title I remember from a class on the Vietnam War (other than the Pentagon Papers). I think I almost never re-read non-fiction.
Is the war a special interest of yours, or you just love the book, or ?
She won a Pulitzer for it. I read a great book last month called You Don’t Belong Here about three women photographers and journalists in Vietnam. Francis Fitzgerald is one of the protagonists in the book.
I was a teenager during the war and married someone who had spent seven years working in Vietnam as a civilian.
I learned a lot from his lived experience and started reading all of Bernard Falls books.
Plus, my sister and I spend a fair amount of time in Asia ( well not recently).
After 20 years of troops in Afghanistan it just felt timely.
This violet smells is a total scrubber, yikes.
I had high hopes for Violet Ends but haven’t tried it yet. I’m curious what you didn’t like about it.
It’s like soapy strong violet soap that has given me an instant headache.
So, more like VioleNt Ends?
Thanks apsara, that’s all interesting! I still have the book and should look at it again.
Over the few months, I’ve re-re-re-read a few Agatha Christies. They are easy reads, I race through them, and quickly forget at least some part of the who, why or how. Saves on getting new books!
On the page-turning SF front, I’ve got a couple of Peter Hamiltons on hand. I usually race through these too, but I’ve been spending way too much of my bedtime reading looking at perfume reviews and trying to keep up with NST
Perfume-wise, I wonder what perfumes of the future space travellers might be like – maybe carefully light as appropriate for confined spaces, or in Peter Hamilton’s future, it wouldn’t matter at all. People are sufficiently augmented to filter out anything they didn’t like. Very handy!
Being an SF fan myself, I’ve wondered about scent in the future before, too. I’ve read some books where the environment is custom-scented to enhance mood, and responds immediately to the people within the space, changing the scent to accommodate them. We already do this, of course, with home sprays and candles, but in a much less subtle and sophisticated way. If you are a space opera/world building fan, I highly recommend the Exordium series, one of my all time favorites (like, right up there with Dune); it’s the series in which I read about this future tech. Five books, starting with The Phoenix in Flight, all good, and not so well known (the used paperbacks can be had for less than a buck on Amazon). Only slightly vintage, at 30 years old, and genuinely satisfying. Epic.
Thank you for the recommendation! I’ll look into that series.
Popping to say “hello” and leave my recommended book pick. Read it last year, and found is absorbing and interesting, as well as funny. It’s about the loss of night and the impact this has on the natural world and humanity. It’s a bit of science, a bit of history, and a bit of a personal essay. I linked it below with a book review for those that may be interested. An easy read that may have you seeing the dark in a different light! ?
SOTD is NVC Trayee. Doesn’t necessarily go with my book choice, but I like it anyway.
Be well all!
Oh that sounds interesting! We’ve moved from NYC to an area with limited artificial lighting. There’s even a dark sky preserve close by to us that I hope will afford a northern lights view at some point.
Deva I have been asking how you are doing. Thinking of you when I wear Omnia
What a beautiful essay, Diva!
I first visited West Africa in 1977 and remember that in villages without electricity, bright moonlit nights had a party atmosphere with people out socializing and enjoying the extra time.
This was near the Equator, so the sun set quickly around 7 pm all year with relatively little twilight compared with temperate zones.
Good to see you!
What a great memory – thank you for sharing that! How wonderful to have just that much more awareness of our natural world. I have never spent time in any equatorial region.
I hope you get a chance someday!
yes, how lovely. I rememeber being along the Persian Gulf in the early 70s where there was nothing but water, sand and sky.
People went to bed when it got dark and up when the light came. the stars were incredible.
What a great experience!
I finally opened my box of unboxed scents, so am wearing Fiori di Capri from my back up bottle. Hello old friend.
My NYC library card finally expired, so ?. Yes, I have my local one but the digital selection is definitely smaller. Ah well…only fair.
I just finished The Gatekeeper Series by Anthony Horowitz, which I quite enjoyed. It’s YA, but it’s harrowing in the depiction of a world gripped by evil. I’m reading the Dave Cubiak books by Patricia Skalka. They are set locally in my county, so they’re fun reads. Surprisingly non-cozy. (Especially in that they are murder mysteries set somewhere where murder is virtually nonexistent…)
I’ve placed a hold on the Elly Griffiths you mentioned, Robin. I enjoyed The Stranger Diaries, which is one of the few books I did via Audible. It worked well in that version.
Just finished Postscript Murders, and it looks like it was the second installment of the new Harbinder Kaur series. Maybe the Magic Men series is being put aside…
Ooh, Fiori di Capri is gorgeous!
I live for the public library in nyc ?
our branch is fully open now and the kids are excited
I picture the library there as being very cute.
I emailed you, and hopefully you got the package.??
I did! I can’t believe I didn’t email you back. Thank you so much!
I’ve only been to the Egg Harbor library, which is more stunning than cute. It’s a lovely pavilion overlooking the water – outdoor seating, event space, big windows, fireplaces…. They do weddings and yoga, etc. The actual # of books themselves is not huge. I need to visit the other town libraries soon.
You should see if they’d let you pay a small fee for a card…I belong to several libraries in places other than my home town.
And should have explained…this saves me money in the long run, because I don’t end up buying books, plus, it used to get me more views on Kanopy & Hoopla, both of which I use. Philadelphia Free Library has just dropped Kanopy so now I am shopping for another library membership
And, should have said thanks for letting me know you liked The Stranger Diaries!
I am making my way through ‘Washington’s Circle: The Creation of the President’. It is a biography of sorts of not just the very first prez of the U.S., but also of his family, friends, and closest advisors and confidants during his presidency. It’s over four hundred pages long, so it’s not gonna be finished anytime soon, but the writing is light and engaging, so that’s a plus.
SOTD: Myth. Perhaps for those urban myths about Washington’s wooden teeth or the cherry tree? ;0
Wow, that book sounds great and I may have to add it to my list!
The best book I’ve read recently is The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker. The narrator/protagonist is a woman living under an assumed identity due to a horrifying crime she committed as a child. She starts getting phone calls that lead her to believe the past is catching up with her. Due to the subject matter, the suggested scent would probably be, uh, ELO’s Secretions Magnifiques…if you can stomach it!
I am currently reading 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard, a thriller set in Ireland during the heart of the pandemic, and enjoying it immensely. Can’t think of an appropriate scent to go with it, though…maybe hand sanitizer!
Ha! Yes, hand sanitizer sounds totally appropriate.
Speaking of hand sanitizers – the booze scented ones make me laugh. I, for one, prefer to not smell like I’m on a bender.
Books I’ve enjoyed this summer:
The Kiss Quotient (Helen Huang)
My Best Friend’s Exorcism (Grady Hendrix)
Daisy Jones and the Six (Taylor Jenkins Reid)
They Never Learn (Layne Fargo)
The Burning Girls (CJ Tudor)
Of those, They Never Learn was my favorite. One of the POV characters is an English professor who, once a year, murders an abusive man. I imagine she wouldn’t wear perfume at all, lest someone catch a whiff of it on a dead man’s clothes.
I read The Kiss Quotient, I liked it. I tried Daisy Jones but it just didn’t grab me, and I keep seeing it on people’s favorites lists. I might try again someday.
Loved Daisy Jones and the six.
SOTD = Hiram Green Vivacious
? Spicy green violet!
I originally wore this thinking it would fit the next CP but nope. I think I may just wear all my Maya Njie perfumes ?.
I have no reading recommendations other than I am now current on Reader’s Digest and I am working through Bottomline Personal issues and I will soon be current with them too! And then I will start with books and will be able to recommend the good ones next quarter. I have not been back to the local library since March 2020 and may not for a while; I will only go if they have weekend hours.
Chanel No.5 L’Eau Mystery Box contents:
and, would you buy this?
No I am sorry I wouldn’t because Coach is the brand that costs $$$ but if You pay attention: is made in China.
I have certain categories of items that I will buy not based on where they are made.
And I hope I didn’t offend anyone including You!! Where I live we only have a Coach Outlet. In my early 20s I bought a lot from there. Even though it’s an outlet – for $100 You get a little pouch or coin purse. Large handbags are still $$$.
That Coach is so adorable though! Fortunately, I never use such structured purses any longer, so I am removed from temptation — for this brand.
The Coach bag is not me so, no. But thanks to your post, I “hopped” over to joeybunnyfoofoo and saw a picture of the much-missed Gaia Fishler, of The Non-Blonde! She was my little push down the rabbit hole. **Sniff, sniff….**
I was thinking Maya Njie for the cp too.
Did you get the Coach? I’m partial to coach purses, but old school when they were all leather. Just like perfume, those are considered “vintage” now. lol.
I have not but of it is still on display today, I am inching closer. I also have the vintage Coach purses. I used to send in the registration cards.
I don’t understand why purses and shoe’s are still expensive now that most of them are not made of leather.
Totally agree! I still have the couple of Coach purses I bought in the early-mid 90’s and the last one I bought, I got on eBay because I could find an all leather bag like they used to make. Looked brand new to me and it was a fraction of the price of what they currently sell.
I know, right? But one could say the same of perfume. I will link to a youtube episode once it’s public.
I spoke too soon. The stars aligned today and I was powerless, powerless, I tell you…
is it good spicy green??
It’s a great balance of notes, in my opinion, but YMMV.
This summer, I am obsessed with American history, even more than usual, so I’ve been reading some of historian Heather Cox Richardson’s works. She’s amazing, and I follow her on Facebook where she posts comments on current US politics with a historian’s perspective. But in previous summers, I was all about Tudor England — everything from Hilary Mantel, to Philippa Gregory (guilty pleasure) and the Matthew Shardlake mysteries (set in the time of Heny VIII). So while I can’t think of a scent that goes with the American Civil War, I can highly recommend Jo Malone’s Tudor Rose & Amber for the other books!
I think the Civil War would be either classic floral essences such as rose water, lavender, etc., or basic colognes.
I shopped at a Colonial reenactment style market at Mount Vernon a few years ago and bought a rosemary cologne — made from rosemary steeped in grape alcohol, I believe. The seller, who was replicating an apothecary shop, sold spices and medicinal herbs, had made a few others. The Civil War took place in the following century, of course, but perhaps the widely available scents hadn’t changed very much yet.
This imported scent of recreated from a blockade-running ship wreck sounds interesting:
I want to sniff a version WITH the animalics, though!
Here’s a more recent article about the recreated perfume, Mary Celestia by Lili Bermuda:
I forgot to share my SotD for today was Noix de Tubereuse.
I’ve definitely been reading some very light stuff, including a bunch of mysteries. The best of the light reading was The City We Became, by N.K. Jemisin. I loved it while reading, and it felt like it was written for me (I have a bit of a crush on the borough of the Bronx, not the one in the book, the actual Bronx…), but in hindisght I don’t love it as much.
For more difficult reading, I have recently finished Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Rail Road. That was such a painful, intense, and often nauseating book, but at the same time was a page turner. I wanted to keep reading, even though it was constantly horrifying. So, I think I recommend it..
And there’s the eternal Social History of the Potato, which I’ve picked up and put down at least 20 times over the past year and a half. I want to read it, but there’s so much else that tempts me more.
I was wondering about The Underground Railroad — thanks for this helpful review!
There is an exhibit at The Phillips Collection in DC of photographs by Jeanine Michna-Bales, who retraced one of the Underground Railroad trails at night — as it would have been undertaken. The photos are all taken at night or in twilight, and are exhibited in a relatively dark room. One of the last in the series is a panoramic view of the Ohio River taken from a bluff overlooking it. Imagine making it all that way, exhausted, and viewing the river with simultaneous relief and terror of how to cross that vast expanse of water…
I read The Underground Railroad last year, and it’s a real sticks-with-you book for sure! It has some fantastical non-historic elements to it, which makes it sort of hard to pin down into a genre.
Thanks — I’m trying to buck up my courage!
SotD = Tuberoza by Nishane. Speaking of Nishane I would suggest reading the “Little Prince” and wearing their “Vain & Naive” ?
I’ve been working my way through Jemisin’s books, but I haven’t read The City We Became, yet! I have The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms right now, and I’m struggling a bit with *getting* the rules of the world, but I always appreciate how expansive and creative she is in creating new universes! And always appreciate a strong female protagonist or three.
City We Became definitely has some strong female protagonists. The world building is not the same as in the Broken Earth series (for example), and the book is nowhere near the caliber of Broken Earth. But it is a fun romp, and a great beach read. It holds an interesting dialogue with H.P. Lovecraft, who I think is hugely overrated. Nonetheless, he is also hugely influential, and she addresses the influence in an interesting way.
Ha! I’m not a Lovecraft fan either. Honestly, haven’t yet convinced myself to finish The Call of Cthulu, although I’ve picked it up a handful of times over the years. Thanks for the notes on the City We Became!
I just finished Elif Shafak’s “Forty Rules of Love” set Baghdad and Turkey and I wore Nawab of Oudh by Ormond Jayne as also had a blotter from the boutique with a some sprayed which I used as a bookmark.
Beautiful book and for a time, you feel like you are in 13th century Turkey.
This sounds like an interesting book.
I definitely want to read that one!
I like to use scented bookmarks sometimes.
Read a review of 40 Rules then requested a copy from my city library. Thank you for mentioning it.
I ve just finished an amazing book by french author Delphine de Vigan, Nothing holds back the night. She wrote the book after her mother died, her family history from her view. Its so interesting because you question the whole time, was it already there or is it just our family?
That sounds worth reading — thanks!
Wow, that book looks intense! Not sure I am up to it this year.
Veeeeery intense, Robin!
Since our Spring Reading Poll I have read the following books:
1. A Court of Frost and Starlight, SJMaas
2. Crescent City also by SJMaas
3. A Court of Thorns and Roses SJMass ( do I have a theme here??)
4. Consent by Vanessa Springora
5. These Violent Delights Chloe Gong
6. These Violent Delights by Nemerever Micah
7. The Vanishing Half Bennett Brit
8. Memorial Brian Washington
Also excited for the Euro Cup today
I read a story in the NYer that I think was adapted from Memorial…did you like the novel?
I read the book in two days, I couldn’t put it down
I’m late to the party. Life has been so busy lately, I haven’t been reading a ton.
I did read The Sea Women by Lisa See and now I’m reading a Scandinavian murder mystery series (Calypso got me hooked when she recommended Asa Larsson) by Karin Fossum. I’ve read the first two: Eva’s Eye and Don’t Look Back and now I’m starting He Who Fears the Wolf. There are a dozenish books in the series so that should keep me busy for awhile!
My SotD yesterday was Chanel Biarritz. We are having a laid back weekend after a busy holiday weekend and work week. My college daughter started her summer camp job yesterday. I left her with my parents when I came home from the holiday weekend and they loved every minute of having her. Madtownteen will join her at summer camp next week.
I was too busy at work this week to comment but tried to read along. I didn’t really follow the cp. I spent the week in Glossier You and thunked my decant. I got compliments from 3 different coworkers! More than I’ve had all year and I wear perfume every day! Seriously considering a full bottle. I do really love it.
Glad you’re enjoying those Nordic noir stories!
I think I’m mostly still reading the same books as last time except that I picked up and finished The Princesse de Cleves (the 1992 Penguin Classics version translated and with a substantial introduction by Robin Buss).
I read the latter because Aurora mentioned REreading it, which intrigued me. I appreciated this very early French novel despite knowing next to nothing of French history or literature. I now find myself wanting to read more about the book, the times, and the author, Madame de Lafayette. I don’t think I would have liked it at all when I was young, though.
I actually came here today to post about this fascinating/scary article “How Computers with Humanlike Senses Will Change Our Lives” from the Wall Street Journal, which includes sections on scent:
I suppose that, like every other technology, these innovations will have both hugely beneficial and terrifying results… ?
Did you read The Princesse de Cleves on paper or kindle? Was looking at the kindle editions and many of them look sketchy (as is frequently the case when things are out of copyright)
Paper! I prefer Kindle due to my eyesight and lack of shelf space, but I agree with you that the Kindle version did not look very good.
The intro to the Penguin edition is long and interesting, and the footnotes are useful. It’s a small, slim book and won’t take up much space.
The Penguin translator gives Jessica Mitford credit for making her version lively and appealing to modern readers but says she takes some liberties. That might be a good alternative nonetheless.
Thank you! My library system does not have it, but have added to my list and will find a copy eventually
Oh, and you probably saw this, but it is amusing:
Mostly, I’ve been vegging out “reading” on audiobook the Hercule Poirot books, thanks to some previous reader poll here. I’m enjoying them, although I do find it strange–Agatha Christie’s world is a world seemingly without trauma. Every murder seems to involve some close relative saying “well, it’s a shame and all that” and then moving on with their lives! Also, I don’t love the common usage of suicide as the “kindest way out” for some of the murderers. But, I can mostly brush off these criticisms as products of their era. I feel like Poirot would smell like a flowery, barber-shop fugere.
I just finished Burn, by Herman Pontzer, PhD. It’s a non-fiction science book about the evolution of human metabolism. It’s really well-written, with some truly epic writing about things you probably never think about like mitochondria. Since it’s mostly about ancient pre-humans, non-human primates and such, I feel like the best scent-pairings would be something really literal with foresty or leafy notes–urgh–I can’t recall the house name now, but I have one in mind!
oooh, color me curiously green! D hope you can recall that leafy perfume.
It’s so annoying. I can *see* the packaging, the shop where I sniffed them, everything except the name. Niche. Local-ish (PNW, in any case).
Burn sounds really good. As a former anthropology student, I have a soft spot for some of those non-human primates.
I have a degree in Ecology, minor in Anthropology, and I did my senior thesis on lemurs in Madagascar. Burn was right up my nerd ally.
So it sounds like Agatha Christie is not the go-to for psychological complexity? Ha ha!
Yeah, well, you say it like that and I sound unreasonable.
In my second wearing of Lubin Anna this morning, and getting more rose from it than on first testing it. It needs a tiny bit more of something to be the beach rose I’ve been searching for — more salty driftwood or dried grasses maybe — but it is a beautifully complex rose perfume nonetheless. It could easily join my little collection, which has a rose-shaped hole at the moment.
I’ve yet to find a perfect rose perfume, though I’ve not tried much at all. Anna sounds very pretty after reading the notes.
I love the scent of roses in nature. Heady and deeply rose-y with a bit of citrus up top is my favorite.
Fille de Berlin gave roses a new angle for me. Also love Aramis Calligraphy Rose.
SotD = Seville a l’aube
Hi fragrance friends, it’s lovely to read what you’re reading and smelling this weekend.
My current book is RED: A History of the Redhead written by Jacky Colliss Harvey. I chose Seville a l’aube because my bottle has beautiful orangey-red juice. This scent wasn’t a real love when it was first shared with me, but I enjoy it more deeply each time I wear it. Either my nose or the perfume are changing, hopefully for the better.
The book is a deep look at red hair around the world through lenses of art, religion, culture, history. I’m blonde-ish, my father has strawberry blond hair, and his three brothers had varying shades of red hair from carroty orange to auburn. His parents were surprised to have four red-headed sons. My grandmother was blonde and my grandfather had black hair.
(More red-ness, yesterday I stumbled on Red Joan on Netflix. Judi Dench and Sophie Cookson were wonderful.)
I’m holed up at home doing nothing much at all as I (finally!) had minor eye surgery on Friday. I was delayed by a year due to the pandemic. In a few weeks, when I’ve healed, I hope my eyes will be ready for more books and lots more time here at NST. My screentime has been limited for a couple years now.
I vote keep the reading polls quarterly. Love the art up top today, Robin. She is beautiful.
Best of luck with your recovery! I hope it is easy and fast.
No sudden moves ?. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!
Glad you were finally able to have your delayed surgery, and more good wishes for your recovery!
I really enjoyed Red Joan. Hope you are recovering well!
Just a shout out from the re-reader of classics: this time, it’s Oliver Twist. Is Fagin’s portrayal anti-semitic? Does Nancy have to die, because she is a fallen women? Does giving “outsiders” moral complexity and agency empower them? Hmmm…. Don’t know if this is really from last time’s reading poll, but I was smitten by Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi. I’ve read it three times; will be sharing it with everyone I like. SotD: Narciso White Cube. Oh, and I have a new kitten! Total heart-throb tabby boy, and Mr. Mossy picked him. Muffin is a little sulky, but no fireworks; they’ve touch noses, but Muffs just prefers to ignore him. Name TBD.
Congrats on the new member of the family!
Thanks – so much cuteness!
What fun, and can’t wait to hear his name!
Another shout-out to Hajusuuri and also everyone who loves MCM: https://retrorenovation.com/2021/07/10/erica-wilson-a-life-in-stitches-winterthur-online-exhibition/
Look at them owls ? ??!
Testing OJ Damask today. I bought the silk route test kit. It is sooooooooooooo lovley. Sheer almost like a sip of champage to the nose. I can see a bottle of this in my future but the other five samples await testing first.
Chiming in very late, but I wanted to participate. I’m reading a bunch of things right now: Consent by Vanessa Springora (sad and infuriating, but gripping), The Ugly Cry by Danielle Henderson (funny and also sad/infuriating), and the Crime of Father Amaro, which is fantastic! If you like 19th century novels that absolutely skewer religion and hypocricy, give it a try. I’m currently wearing Carthusia Mediterraneo, which is too sunny for all these books!
Consent is on my to-read list, but I’ve been putting it off. If you can stomach a similar story, but in the fiction realm, I can recommend My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell.
Thanks for the recommendation! The other memoir I’m reading, The Ugly Cry, also has similar themes of an unknown father, a neglectful mother, abuse, deprivation, but also moments of joy and the freedom of being a latchkey kid :). So I seem to be fine in that realm!
Very late to the party, very enjoyable catching up tho.
Robin, I absolutely love Ellie Griffiths! She has quite a back catalogue, so you have lots to look forward too ?
Oh I have been reading the Ruth Galloway series all along! Did not love the Magician series, which might be partly why I bought Stranger Diaries but then never read it.
Oh I see! I haven’t read the Magician series, maybe won’t bother then. Ruth Galloway is one of my favourite fictional characters.
Have you read the Strike series by Robert Galbraith?, retired soldier turned private investigator set in London? , very good Bbc series as well of that with Tom Burke and Holiday Granger.
I do not think the Magician series found friends here, but I might be forgetting — don’t skip on my account! But they are definitely very different from the Ruth Galloway series.
I will look at Strike, have not read!
Ooh, I think you’ll like them! ..the series is excellent too!- it’s on BBC I player in the Uk.
Thanks — think they are on HBO Max here, I will try!
I don’t remember if I recommended this in the last poll, but I thought Max Brook’s Devolution was great. As with his World War Z, I think listening to it as an audiobook is even better than reading it, because of the oral history format.
Robin – I hope you keep these as quarterly polls. And thanks for your recommendation on Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls. I thought it was excellent.