Lazy weekend poll ~ summer reading list, edition 4

Paulette Goddard reading Balzac, with her knitting

It's time for the annual summer reading poll!

Please recommend a great book to add to our summer reading lists, and tell us what fragrance we should wear while reading it.

Update: and I just realized Angie's book, The Lanvin Murders, is out on Amazon in the Kindle version, for anyone who wants more summer reading! We'll do a proper announcement later.

Note: image of Paulette Goddard reading Balzac found via @robnitm at Twitter.

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  1. solanace says:

    ´What a plant knows: a field guide to the senses´ by Daniel Chamovitz. “Plants may be brainless, eyeless and devoid of senses as we know them, but they have a rudimentary ‘awareness’, says biologist Daniel Chamovitz. In this beautiful reframing of the botanical, he reveals the extent and kind of that awareness through a bumper crop of research.” —Nature

    With Strange Invisible Perfumes Fire and Cream, which totally conveys vegetal intelligence with its lively white lavander.

    • Abyss says:

      Hey, I read that last year and took his Coursera MOOC (which I think he will be running again this year in case anyone might be interested). I agree, it’s pretty good and should be accessible even to non-science-y folks.

      • kindcrow says:

        Oooo, I had never heard of Coursera. Thanks for mentioning it! My husband and I would love that. I see that they offer them during specific weeks of time. Do you also have to show up “on-line” on specific days at specific times during those weeks? I’m just wondering how they would fit into our schedules.

        My husband listened to a Great Course ( by a linguistics professor as he (my husband) bivouacked at 9,000 feet in the Inyo Mountains recently. He didn’t have any cell reception, but he had downloaded the course onto his smart phone. He only had a fleece jacket and a windbreaker, but fortunately, it only got down in to the 40s (Fahrenheit, so pretty cold for sleeping out, but not deadly).

        He made the unwise decision to start a 16-mile round-trip hike up a mountain 1:00 pm, and the wise decision to “sleep out” when it started to get dark and he started to get lost. He never fell asleep for more than 30 minutes. When it got light, he immediately got his bearings and was able to make it back to the car. He called me the next day when he had cell reception. At the end of the story he said something like “I wasn’t going to tell you what happened, but then I figured that I should.”

        He took water and two flashlights and an extra shirt (nice to change into a dry shirt when you are cold and sweaty) and he has a good head on his shoulders. I’m glad that he is the kind of person who can remain calm in these kinds of situations. Of course, he also tries to squeeze a as much into a trip as possible, and is sometimes overly positive about what he can accomplish with limited time! This is the first (and hopefully the last) time that he has had to “sleep out.”

    • sweetgrass says:

      I saw that book in the gift shop at a botanical garden here a couple months ago and just almost bought it. It sounds good. I like a good science book.

    • kindcrow says:

      Sounds like a great book!

  2. perthgirl says:

    The Hotel on Place Vendome: Life, Death and Betrayal at the Hotel Ritz in Paris.
    It’s by Tilar J. Mazzeo, who also wrote The Secret of Chanel No5, and the Widow Clicquot. Fascinating reading! I’ve also read the No5 history one and can recommend both- I’ve not read Widow Clicquot so if anyone has, is it good? :)

    To be read wearing Chanel or Guerlain or any 1940’s French perfume :)

    • Robin says:

      Reminds me I keep meaning to read that Chanel No. 5 book!

    • tomate farcie says:

      I enjoyed the Widow Clicquot, courageous woman for her time

    • annemarie says:

      I’m looking forward to that new Mazzeo book, but I was disappointed with the Chanel No 5. The book had some interesting info in it but the chapters about Chanel’s early life were very speculative, I thought, and by the end the book had turned into one very long and breathless ad for Chanel No 5. I can go to the Chanel website for that!

    • lynne marie says:

      Place Vendome was a good read – name-dropping, delicious fun. I also liked her book about the Widow Clicquot.

  3. Ari says:

    I found The Magician’s Nephew, the first book in the Narnia series, for $3 at the Strand the other day. It’s a nice short read. I’m wearing Frederic Malle En Passant, but maybe I should be wearing ELDO Like This in honor of Tilda Swinton’s White Witch!

    • Robin says:

      Oh, I love those books…loved them as a kid, loved reading them again with my son.

    • AnnieA says:

      Or maybe Rahät loukoum by Serge Lutens…

      • Julia says:

        :) I think The Chronicles of Narnia have inspired decades of Turkish Delight sampling. I like the less sweet version L’Artisan’s Traversee du Bosphore.

    • AnnE says:

      Tilda Swinton was perfect in that role! (well, she’s usually perfect in all of her roles, but I digress…)

      • bookwyrmsmith says:

        Except for the technical point that Queen Jadis was supposed to be a raven brunette.

  4. perthgirl says:

    Ooh and another suggestion! I’m not sure how widely distributed Kate Morton’s books are, but I highly recommend them! (just checked- I think New York Times Bestseller list means they’re available in the U.S… so glad there’re other fans)
    There’s The House at Riverton/The Shifting Fog, The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours, and The Secret Keeper.
    Each one centers on long- held family mysteries that unravel deliciously and thrillingly, and they’re SO hard to put down.

    I’d scent myself with L’ombre dans l’eau or Jardin du Poete, lay on a rug on some shady lawn and disappear for a few hours

    • Aparatchick says:

      Yes, they’re definitely available in the US. Very enjoyable reads! The Distant Hours is my favorite; nicely gothic.

      • perthgirl says:

        Yay! I’m so glad someone else has read and enjoyed them :) I think my favourite is The Forgotten Garden, but I love them all. History is my ‘thing’, (along with perfume), so intriguing, mysterious, gothic type history is just delightful. Lol!
        So if you know of any other books along these lines I’d love to know about them :)

    • nozknoz says:

      I enjoyed The House at Riverton and am planning to read some of her others, so taking note of the ones you and Aparatchick liked best.

  5. PetronellaCJ says:

    I highly recommend Ben Aaronovitch’s crime/fantasy series taking place in London. The books are packed with humour, puzzle-solving, magic and a wonderful London atmosphere (past and present).

    The first book is called Rivers of London in the English edition and Midnight Riot in the US edition.

    If it is a rainy reading day, I’ll pull out my beloved Floris Mahon Leather. For a sunny day I have a few Penhaligon samples to choose from :).

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      Ooh, those sound right up my alley! Will put on my library list. . .

      Have you read any of Jim Butcher’s Dresden books? Dresden is a wizard in modern-day Chicago and has to deal with the integration of the magical world and the regular world and juggle the various pressures therein. Very funny, too!

      • PetronellaCJ says:

        Thanks for the suggestion, sounds great :)!

        • Marjorie Rose says:

          The first book is Storm Front, but they really get going around books 4 or 5 (Summer Knight is book 4). I do think it’s worth starting at the beginning, but also want to encourage you to stick with it, if the writing seems a bit simplistic at first. :) Hope you love ’em! I’ve got Midnight Riot on my hold list at the library!

      • CM says:

        I love The Dresden Files! In fact, the latest, Skin Game, was just released a couple weeks ago. I started reading this morning. Great books… paired with Iris Silver Mist.

        • Marjorie Rose says:

          Oooh! Don’t give anything away!!! I’m waiting for my library hold to arrive. :)

      • missionista says:

        The Dresden books are super fun brain candy, but they tend to go just a little too Mary-Sue for my taste.

    • CM says:

      I’m glad you mentioned the US title of book 1! I’m downloading the kindle version now!

  6. Abyss says:

    My book pile has been growing at a faster rate than normal ever since I started volunteering at charity book ‘shop’ and now includes everything from Gone Girl to a collection of Marlowe’s plays so I hardly need more recommendations, but I’m taking notes anyway :D

    I’ll add another non-fiction suggestion –
    The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
    by Siddhartha Mukherjee. As the name suggests, it’s a look at the history of cancer. Well-written and surprisingly pacey, especially considering the subject matter.

    • Robin says:

      I am trying really hard to downsize my ridiculous collection of books, and only partially succeeding — I could never volunteer for a charity book shop, I’m a hopeless addict.

      • Abyss says:

        Of course, I use the word “shop” loosely since the books are free. Plus the volunteers do everything, including unpacking the deliveries so we get first dibs and, unlike the public, there’s no limit on how many we are allowed to take. On top of that, people get to know what everyone is interested in so it’s common to show up for a shift and find a stack of books that others set aside for you. On the plus side, it also provides an easy way to offload the books, although, like you, I’m not very good at that!

        • jen says:

          I’ve always wondered how that works at some places–at our local charity shop, the volunteers are not allowed to even buy things there, so there is no putting things aside.

    • bookgirl says:

      The Emperor of All Maladies is on my TBR (“to be read”) list. It sounds absolutely fascinating.

      Right now I’m reading Emma Straub’s The Vacationers, which is off to a good start. The setting is Mallorca, so I imagine a light, sun-filled, fragrance would be apt: Hermes Eau des Merveilles, L’Artisan The Pour un Ete or Jo Malone Grapefruit.

    • Erin says:

      That Mukherjee is really great, isn’t it? Between him and Gawande, they’ve go the whole modern doctor-author thing wrapped up.

      • Elena says:

        Plus Abraham Verghese!

        • Erin says:

          Unfortunately, despite several tries, I couldn’t get into Cutting for Stone. Not sure why…

  7. Elizabeth says:

    My summer reading list contains no great literature (pure schlock, actually) but it’s fun anyway. First was The Ice Princess by Camilla Laeckberg, a Swedish crime novel about a murder in a seaside village in winter. Perfume: Eau d’Hiver of course! Right now I’m reading The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory, the story of Anne Boleyn’s sister Mary, sometime mistress of Henry VIII. Perfume: Maria Candida Gentile Cinabre, a spicy rose. Next up will be Jennifer Weiner’s new novel All Fall Down, about a mother with a prescription drug addiction. This topic interests me because I am a social worker who sees this addiction every day, and I am interested to see how she portrays it. Perfume? I have no idea.

    • Robin says:

      I don’t know why I mostly leave “great literature” for winter, but I usually mostly do. About 75% of my summer reading is mysteries. Will look up Camilla Laeckberg!

  8. C.H. says:

    On my recent reading list are Americanah and An Untamed State. Both are so absorbing, but nota, the latter includes a great deal of brutal violence. Also, though, many references to perfume! None by name though–very curious to imagine which perfumes they might have been…

    (Actually, Americanah isn’t without trauma. Hm, apparently I’m not choosing cheerful books these days.)

    • bookgirl says:

      I’m reading An Untamed State next! Heard amazing things, including how difficult some of those scenes are to read. Yikes.

      • C.H. says:

        Yeah, the violence is no joke, and I’m glad I knew about that going in (I bought the book a few weeks ago but I need a little time to get in the right headspace for it), but I also didn’t quite realize that that’s definitely not the WHOLE book. It’s also a really tender love story; something of a one-of-a-kind book about fathers and daughters (…really I am not sure I can think of another story that really tackles this dynamic? if anyone knows of one, please let me know!); a really amazing psychological portrait of recovery from trauma; and more. Such a rich book–and riveting. Can’t wait to hear what you think!

    • Holly says:

      I loved Americanah and proceeded to devour the rest of Adichie’s books after I read it.

      • C.H. says:

        Totally–got to the end of 500 pages, and thought, “Well I am going to need a lot more of that!!”

    • missionista says:

      Americanah is great!

  9. Marjorie Rose says:

    Oh I love reading list polls! I always add some new, interesting things to my library holds on these weekends!

    I have finally started Neal Stephenson’s Reamde, which I got signed and listened to Stephenson do an author talk on when it was first released. It is a technological/nerdy thriller (as Stephenson’s books tend to be), with a large cast of characters. I am enjoying it very much–mostly plot-driven, but that makes it an easy, quick read perfect for times like now when I’m busy and can only half-focus!

    I’ve been wearing Nostalgie all week, which does not seem thematically appropriate to Stephenson’s writing at all, but sure smells good!

    For Reamde, which starts in the Washington state mountains and “currently” is in China, seems like it’s calling for a scent with a natural feel or some incense? OJ Woman, for the pine, would be good for the start. Maybe one of the CdG Incenses for where I’m at now. . . no idea where the book will take me next, requiring a new match!

    • nozknoz says:

      I liked some of his early books and this sounds intriguing, so Reamde goes on my list!

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        To me, it has more the feel of Zodiac or Snow Crash, less like Cryptonomicon or the Systems of the World books, which is fine by me. I really enjoyed Cryptonomicon, but couldn’t make it through all the Systems of the World trilogy (but they sit there on my shelf as a maybe-some-day!).

        • nozknoz says:

          I remember liking Snow Crash. I’ve got Cryptonomicon somewhere…

          • Marjorie Rose says:

            Look for it on the bottom shelf. Stephenson can be VERBOSE! :)

          • nozknoz says:

            LOL – well said! I think that’s why I never quite got to it – the hands feel tired just envisioning it.

    • missionista says:

      I loved Snow Crash and Zodiac and The Big U, but really lost patience with him after The Diamond Age.

  10. Aparatchick says:

    The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, by Daniel James Brown. Not a literary masterpiece, but a great story of determination and resilience. Perfume – anything that smells like the Pacific NW, maybe something from Olympic Orchids.

    All That is Solid Melts into Air, by Darragh McKeon. The blurb: “a gripping end-of-empire novel, charting the collapse of the Soviet Union through the focalpoint of the Chernobyl disaster. Part historical epic, part love story, it recalls The English Patient in its mix of emotional intimacy and sweeping landscape.” Beautifully written (some of the images are impossible to forget). Perfume – Demeter Thunderstorm.

    After that, I needed something frothy, so I read Minette, by Melanie Clegg. This is a “if you liked the Tudors, you’ll love …” kind of things – in this case, the Stuarts. Great characters. Perfume – anything light and flirty.

    • floragal says:

      Reading The Boys in the Boat currently, really enjoying it. Agree, “great story of determination and resilience”. Unfortunately its what I read on my subway commute home, so for me its hot, sweaty, nyc bodies and many other not so desirable smells.

      The book I read prior to this was Erik Larson’s In the Garden of the Beasts – fascinating story of the US ambassador and his families time in Germany during Hitler’s rise to power. All of his books are great reads. Historical, but novel-type reading.

      • perthgirl says:

        Thanks Aparatchick and Floragal, adding to my list. :)

      • eswift83 says:

        I second In the Garden of Beasts! Though I didn’t think it was quite as good as Larson’s Devil in the White City…

        • floragal says:

          What fascinated me about In the Garden of the Beasts is all of the letter writing during those days since that was the main way of communicating, especially by distance. I also thought their ability to express their feelings via writing, sometimes multiple times a day, was really interesting. I don’t think we do have as much reflecting on our world and relationships today as they did back then.

      • Elena says:

        I also have really enjoyed Erik Larson’s books. I have Garden of Beasts on my shelf but haven’t gotten to it yet. They’re perfect for me for summer; quick reads, but not TOO fluffy.

    • eswift83 says:

      All That is Solid Melts into Air sounds great… I love anything by Michael Ondaatje, the English Patient author, and it sounds like I need to pick this one up!

  11. AnnieA says:

    Have been reading the series by Maryrose Wood starting with The Mysterious Howling, which is quite Snickety. Thematically, Penhaligon English Fern would be a perfume match. Wearing Lady Levine today, as a snuggly perfume for the rainy day.

  12. jen says:

    “Down the Rabbit Hole.” Told from the point of view of a small boy whose father is a drug lord and he reveals how scary his life is, couldnt put it down. On the movie front, just watched “Side Effect” with Jude Law, great thriller with many twists and turns.

  13. nozknoz says:

    I’ve been reading Russian sci-fi/fantasy novels (in English translation): Roadside Picnic and Hard to Be a God by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, and the Night Watch series by Sergei Lukyanenko. I want to watch Stalker, a film by Andrei Tarkovsky that is loosely based on Roadside Picnic. I loved Tarkovsky’s film Andrei Rublev, and often think of it in June because of the amazing midsummer’s night pagan festival sequence.

    No particular perfume theme for these novels, although I always long for a Russian perfume, Layla, that I had in the 1970s. I found it in an eclectic gift shop in Columbus, Ohio, that also sold Judith Miller’s Bat Sheba. I’ve searched, but have not been able to find any trace of Layla.

    • Good God!! I’ve been cradling my cheap paperbacks of these since the 80s – I had no idea they were out in Kindle editions!!!!! Thanks for posting this – I could teach these now!! (They’ve been so unavailable for so long!!!)

  14. Anna Stromberg says:

    I’m a big fan of dystopic fantasy and have recently finished the silo trio; Wool, Shift and Dust. Fitting would be to wear something like CdG Tar or Byredo M/Mink. Industrial, oily and alien.

    Right now, I’m reading the fantastic book Wolf hall by Hilary Mantel, about Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII. CdG Avignon is good with Wolf hall. Also, a colder scent with rooty iris and wet elements would also do it justice.

    • nebbe says:

      Another satisfied Wool reader. Haven’t gotten farther than 3 chapters into Shift (stupid job interfering with my free time) but excited to pick it up again. Great writing, well developed world.

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      Oh, so glad to get this reminder! I put Wool on my to-read list last summer and never got to it. Back on the library list!

    • eswift83 says:

      Wolf Hall is going on my list, I love well-researched historical fiction.

  15. floragal says:

    Welcome to Saturday! Slept in until 11am — the best! What a week!
    I’m excited to read the next book by Louise Penny, Canadian mystery writer (some would call her books cozy mysteries), and yet the characters she develops are so endearing and enjoyable… highly recommend. This August she releases her next book — can’t wait! I read her stories slowly as I don’t want it to end!

    The main character is Inspector Gamache who wears sandalwood (which is mixed with rosewater – his wife’s perfume), so I need to find me a nice summer sandalwood/rosewater scent — any recs??

    • hajusuuri says:

      Another vote for Louise Penny! I read the books fast because I want to know how it ends but I don’t want it to end because I want to keep reading.

    • Joanne says:

      Count me in as an Inspector Gamache fan, too. I learned of Penny’s series on this site last year and am so grateful to whoever (whomever?) mentioned her–great characters and so captivating. Can’t wait for August!

    • lynne marie says:

      I work part time in a book store in the summer and a few years ago Louise Penny did a reading at our store – she was a completely lovely person and great fun to talk with. I love her stories and want to go live in Three Pines and sit and chat with Ruth!

      • floragal says:

        Jealous!!! I’d absolutely love to meet her.
        Yes, a cafe au lait and croissant at Gabri & Olivier’s Bistro would be so lovely!

    • nozknoz says:

      I like the idea of a summer sandalwood and rosewater scent. Heeley should do that.

  16. Coumarin says:

    I started the Claudine novels by Colette but misplaced my book! I haven’t been reading much more than cookbooks (a steady supply at my work) recently. I don’t usually buy any but I might cave on Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. Serge Lutens’s Jeux de Peau, I think! A jam and over-toasted bread scent, in the typical stained-glass way Serge Lutens does.

  17. cologneluvr says:


    …to be in the experience of riding a motorcycle; the leather of the jacket, the tar of the hot tarmac and the odor of the inside of a helmet…lol. Also, since this is a heavy read, philosophical, wear a scent that is brooding, and thought provoking.

    • Julia says:

      I’m not familiar with the scent but I love rubbery gasoline type scents like Bvlgari Black and Tauer Lonestar Memories so I think I must seek it out.

      • cologneluvr says:

        I think you will like this one…the dry down smells like the inside of a vintage leather purse with used, spilt hand lotion and perfume inside it…a floral, leather.

    • foxbins says:

      I read this a long long time ago and re-read it two or three years ago. Still relevant in today’s world, and he writes beautifully.

    • gatorgirl says:

      Such an interesting read. I read it for a philosophy class and it seemed we talked for days about what is reality. :)

  18. antaeus says:

    ¨The man who invented Rock Hudson: The pretty boys and dirty deals of Henry Wilson¨
    As a big RH fan I am intriged by this book about the golden age of Hollywood and it´s secrets. And I wonder if Rock would have had a favourite perfume. I think he would have loved Habit Rouge by Guerlain. I´m wearing it!

    • chandler_b says:

      That book sounds interesting and ditto on the habit rouge!

  19. chandler_b says:

    The Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St. Aubyn was my summer reading last summer and I thought they were fantastic. Recently read Fortune’sChildren: the rise and fall of the House of Vanderbilt by Arthur Vanderbilt II, which I found fascinating since they basically blew what the worlds largest fortune. Habit Rouge for the Patrick Melrose, not sure what a Vanderbilt would of worn.

    • Aparatchick says:

      Speaking of great fortunes, have you read either Empty Mansions or The Phantom of Fifth Avenue? Both are about the fascinating recluse, Huguette Clark.

    • Squirrely says:

      Did you read the recent New Yorker profile on St. Aubyn? If not, I’m sure they have it online. It was well done.

      • Robin says:

        Just finished that (I am rarely caught up on NYers, but at the moment I’m close) — fascinating. Might take up the novels.

        • chandler_b says:

          I read about one of the two Hugette Clark books in Town and Country article on her and the books ( They also had a long article about Oud in that issue…)but I’m patiently waiting for my local library to get both of them in.

          I missed the St. Aubyn New Yorker article, reading it now! But I do highly recommend the books, I think they have all of them in one volume besides the last one.

        • Elena says:

          I started reading the profile even though I had never heard of him before and was immediately engrossed, it was just brilliantly written. My husband asked me what I was reading, I must have been making little noises and strange faces! And I’m with you on never being caught up… Thank goodness for the two week fiction issue.

  20. chandler_b says:

    SOTD is the Tres Fraiche version of Terre D’Hermes. Got a carded sample of it yesterday and I like it, just not as much as I like the parfum. Travel size bottle would be nice.

    • hajusuuri says:

      I quite like the Tres Fraiche version as well, but perhaps not enough to want a 125mL bottle.

      • chandler_b says:

        Exactly my feelings, however this warm summer weather is making it tempting.

  21. tomate farcie says:

    A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, best book I’ve read in a long time! wear Guerlain Vetiver while reading and enjoy!

    • farouche says:

      Enthusiastically seconding this book!

    • jirish says:

      Loved this book so much that I want to read it a second time!

    • missionista says:

      This has to go on my list. I liked My Year of Meat a lot, and didn’t realize she had written others.

      • Elena says:

        Ha, went to Goodreads to add this to my want to read list, and it was already on there. I need more TIME.

  22. Mary Carol says:

    Right now I am reading Banking Lite by Bert Harris. It’s about the author’s career in the banking industry and focuses on amusing anecdotes gathered from interactions with fellow employees, customers and other folks that he came in contact with on a day-to-day basis. Bert is a friend of mine, so it is interesting to read something by someone a person knows.

    SOTD is MH Geranium Bourbon, which is nice for the rainy day we are having where I am.

    • hajusuuri says:

      Interesting! Will check it out!

    • floragal says:

      Hmm. I need to check this one out as I could use some humor regarding the industry I work in ;)

  23. 50_Roses says:

    The next book I intend to read is Tonbo: Dragonfly by K.R. Couey. I haven’t started it yet, so all I know is that it takes place in modern-day Japan. I am eager to read this because I actually know the author. Her husband is of one of my coworkers, and this is her first novel. I once took a class she taught on Japanese language and culture, and it was quite interesting. She lived and worked in Japan for a number of years, so she is fluent in Japanese and quite familiar with the people and culture. The book is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats.

    To wear while reading it, I suppose something Japanese. I have three Shiseidos–White Rose, Feminite du Bois, and Zen (black)–depending on what sort of mood the book calls for.

  24. hajusuuri says:

    Currently reading Elizabeth George’s Just One Evil Act. It’s a whopping 719 pages and I am mildly annoyed that she had liberally sprinkled it with Italian, as if she wanted to impress readers with her command of Italian (not sure if she really does or if it was courtesy of Google-translate).

    The central mainstay characters, Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers, are as different as night and day. Thomas Lynley is a titled aristrocrat, yet chose to work at Scotland Yard and had risen to Detective Inspector whereas Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers comes from a lower-working class broken family. If I were to be “in-the-moment” and shadowing them while reading, I would smell bergamot and / or fine leather on Lynley (perhaps Creed Royal English Leather or Puredistance M) and Havers would have something cigarette smoky (she smokes so that would come from her cigarettes) and no perfume because she 1) doesn’t have the money to buy it and 2) even if she had a bottle, she’ll forget to wear it.

    • floragal says:

      I’ve read all of George’s books – earlier ones are much better than the more recent, nevertheless she’s an excellent writer and I love her character development.

      I think you nailed Lynley & Havers fragrance-wise!

    • nozknoz says:

      Can’t remember if I’ve actually read the books or just saw the BBC version, but I agree you’ve nailed them. Or he might wear a Heeley.

  25. hajusuuri says:

    SOTD = Frederic Malle Eau de Magnolia

    It was MEH! on paper but wearing it made a world of difference. It is lemon-rind citrusy fresh (in a very good way) and great for a warm summer day. My nose is not sophisticated enough to tease out what flowers scents are included and that is fine by me…I don’t need anything big-white-flowerish.

    • bookgirl says:

      I need to try Eau de Magnolia! Your description sounds fab.

  26. bookgirl says:

    Today I’m wearing Byredo Gypsy Water and reading Emma Straub’s The Vacationers (which I mentioned in a comment above), which is about a family holiday on the island of Mallorca.

    Recent books that I read & loved:
    -Black Lake (Johanna Lane)
    -Dept of Speculation (Jenny Offill)
    -The Martian (Andy Weir)
    -How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer (Sarah Bakewell)

    • nozknoz says:

      I loved The Martian – what a great character!

  27. nebbe says:

    Has anyone suggested the “In Death” series by J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts)? I lurve reading about the smart, take-no-prisoners Lieutenant Eve Dallas solving crime and catching murderers in 2056 NYC. Great characters, absorbing plot pacing – all set in a dynamic futuristic setting. There are about 30 (?) Books in the series.

    • hajusuuri says:

      I like the “In Death” series, too. My very first one was Holiday in Death, a Christmas gift from a friend’s teenager and I was hooked and have since read all the books and is on the reserve list at the library whenever a new one is published. I think Nora Roberts cranks them out (plus all the other novels with her authorship) with some kind of computer program because they ARE formulaic.

      • jepster says:

        Having met the very prolific Nora Roberts (we are both members of a national writers association), she just really is that swift and commanding at her craft.

        All genre novels are formulaic to a degree (murders are solved, lovers get married, bad guys are punished), but Nora really has a gift for creating characters that you want to spend time with, people with a clear and direct voice. I think her characters, both recurring and secondary, give the reader a cinematic feel for the action which moves the simplest plot forward–makes you want to stay up all night to finish!

        On top of all that, she is a smart and generous person who gives back to the field.

        I think she should wear some kick ass perfume!!

        • hajusuuri says:

          Jepster! Thanks for that info. Never mind just the JDRobb books…she also has tons of other tome-y novels that come out 2,3, maybe even more than that per year!

        • gatorgirl says:

          Interesting. I think she would be a fascinating person. I love the characters and family she has created in this series.

  28. nebbe says:

    Oh – and Eve would never think of perfume, she hates even having her hair cut. But her right hand, Peabody, would love it all.

    • hajusuuri says:

      I don’t even think she likes to be called Eve and if you as much get near her with a perfume atomizer, she’ll probably arrest you :-)

      • nebbe says:

        Ha ha – agreed. I take it back! Lt. Dallas, Sir!

    • AnnieA says:

      Or at least the all-natural perfumes…

      • nebbe says:

        Right! And maybe synthetic if it were pink and fizzy :)

  29. Merlin says:

    Some months ago I started taking an interest in horror, and after reading some early modern horror, I decided to take it further back and have a look at gothic literature. So I started with The Monk, then went to The House of 7 Gables, The Mysteries of Udolpho and am now reading Melmoth the Wanderer which is probably so far the best. I never actually apply perfume to go with the book I’m reading (do others?) But if I had to theoretically match them I would say The Monk and M the Wanderer would go with incense. The House of 7 Gables would go with something a little musty and which feels steeped in age (like the house in question), so probably a chypre. And, as for the Mysteries of Udolpho – something to support all the lyrical landscape reveries, or else something woody and full of pine for the brooding forests around the castle – perhaps Filles en Aiguilles (and it just so happens that it also contains a reference to a girl – though I doubt the rather prissy heroine ever wears heels!)

    • bookwyrmsmith says:

      I remember reading ( some skimming – Huge amount of landscape described) the Mysteries of Udolpho in the unabridged version which was the size of a huge old dictionary .

      • Merlin says:

        I have to admit to being a little careless about the parts that were in verse! It’s strange reading on the kindle as one doesn’t get the same feel of the physical dimension of a book. M the Wanderer has also taken me a loooooong time to complete!

  30. jirish says:

    Right now I’m reading Neal Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It’s pretty short and I’m tearing through it. I loved his American Gods, but was a bit disappointed with Neverwhere, so I’m happy I’m loving what I’ve read so far. To wear with it – nothing so far, since I’ve been contending with bad sinus headaches, but maybe tomorrow Fleurs de Sel, which has a bit of a hidden, wild and witchy side behind its pretty.

    • Robin says:

      My son loves Neil Gaiman and keeps telling me to read him but have not yet…

      • PetronellaCJ says:

        He is a wonderful writer, crossing all kind of boundaries and genres. “Stardust” is a great start imho, a new take on the classic fairytale.

    • CM says:

      Another “hands up” for The Ocean at the End if the Lane. This story brings alive childhood magic and imagination in a beautifully told story. One of those books that haunts you for days after reading. Loved it!

      I’d pair something like Infanta en fluer or maybe l’eau a la folie with this book.

    • foxbins says:

      This was such a lovely book; I liked it a lot. I wore Eau de Merveilles in its honor today, it seemed to fit the theme of the book and the ocean scent as well.

  31. Kris says:

    I just finished The Perfume Collector and that was wonderful. I am not a big Chanel wearer, but I would think that or some vintage perfume would be the one to wear with it.

    • nozknoz says:

      I really enjoyed the perfume collector! Agree that No. 5 and other vintage perfumes are ideal, although the perfumes described in the book sound even more magical.

  32. sweetgrass says:

    I’m starting Sex with Kings: Five Hundred Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry and Revenge ny Eleanor Herman. It’s a history of royal mistresses, so should be fun. And what perfume would go with such a book, you ask? Why, Putain des Palaces of course!

    • sweetgrass says:

      Also on my to-read list is The Eidolon by Libby McGugan. It’s sci-fi so I don’t know exactly what to pair with it. Maybe Stephen Jones with it’s space-violet vibe.

    • Merlin says:

      Yes, but only because Secretions Magnifique is intolerable ;-)

      • sweetgrass says:

        Oh yeah I can’t believe I didn’t even think of it. And true, it is intolerable. ;p

    • nozknoz says:

      Sounds like a great read – Bal a Versailles would also work nicely!

      • sweetgrass says:

        Oh yeah that would be a good match too!

    • perthgirl says:

      I love those kinds of books- Im such a voyeur when it comes to famous (historical) people’s private lives. I have a ridiculous amount of biographies of royalty, writers, artists etc.
      A few years ago I read a book called Let’s Spend the Night Together- a compilation of groupies accounts of the famous muso’s they’d slept with or dated, from Elvis to Mick Jagger to David Lee Roth to Billy Idol. Now That’s a man with an ‘interesting’ private life :-o

      • Holly says:

        Patti Smith’s “Just Kids” is a good one, too.

        • Elena says:

          Just Kids was WONDERFUL. I absolutely loved it, and found her to be so honest and engaging.

  33. Holly says:

    Working in healthcare, I tend to read books that are calming and reflective. I have a lot of excitement at work. That being said, I also avoid within that genre books that advise, chastise or require any specific activity on my part or anticipate that I should offer that to others. I tend to follow authors, and that’s served me well. Here’s my current short list of authors who are a positive influence for me, and I would recommend all of their works:

    Abraham Verghese. This is the doctor you want to have, and a person you want to know.

    Elizabeth Berg: The friend you don’t have but should.

    Pico Iyer: Invites you to travel with him around the globe and subtly draws you into a different world.

    Jane Urquhart: Quiet and deep.

    Laurie Colwin (deceased): She introduced me to the concept that who you are is okay. Her cookbooks are great, too. She screws up a lot, but everyone is ok with that. So this is the community you aspire to have.

    Maeve Binchy (deceased): She gave me the opportunity to use the word “chuffed.” Simple, kind, sweet stories that give me hope.

    • Aparatchick says:

      A moment of silence for Laurie Colwin and Maeve Binchy; each was a wonderful writer in her own way.

      • lynne marie says:

        Ditto – both amazing, lovely writers.

      • Robin says:

        Adored Laurie Colwin’s writing.

  34. bellablack says:

    Hi, my first comment here though I check out the reviews regularly and love the comments with their suggestions for new purchases. It is winter here in Australia and I am wearing Musc Nomade with Rose Spledide on my wrists. Both by Annick Goutal. Musc nomad seems to be a lovely base or heart perfume and layers well with light florals. Have to second Anna’s choice of Wolf Hall as a great read and there is a sequel “Bring up The Bodies” as well. I imagine Anne Boleyn’s perfume as a dark, earthy rose with a musk base and great sillage. Another good book that I have just read is “you Should have Known” by Jean Korelitz….about a therapist whose life is unravelling.

    • Robin says:

      Cannot wait for the 3rd Wolf Hall book but I guess it isn’t going to be soon, I think now she’s saying it could take her decades to finish. Ack.

    • Holly says:

      Welcome and second “You Should Have Known”.

  35. bellablack says:

    I meant Rose Splendide…typo

  36. pyramus says:

    I don’t know if it’s summer reading exactly, but I’m reading Sum: Forty Tales of the Afterlives by David Eagleman. It’s a collection of forty short stories, thought-experiments, really, about what an afterlife might be like, and so of course it makes you think about what life is like. It’s haunting; it gets deep into your brain.

    And I suppose you have to wear something brainy and intellectual while you’re reading it (although it’s a much easier read than I’ve made it sound), and for me, that would be Serge Lutens’ Santal Blanc, probably the severest, most rigorous scent I own.

    • Merlin says:

      Just googled this – it sounds fantastic! I’m going to get the kindle edition as soon as I’m done with the book I’m reading.

      For me Santal Blanc is very sweet and so not severe or rigorous at all (shows how subjective these things are :-) )

    • Coumarin says:

      I’ve been recommended this one before, but even at Half-Price books it was something like $8.99! I sat down and read a few, and I really enjoyed it. One day I’ll find it in the clearance section, I hope. ;)

      • Merlin says:

        Yeah, the kindle edition is even a little more than $10. I’ll get the sample and see how much I enjoy…

        • Merlin says:

          By the way, it seems like there may be a PDF download.

  37. lynne marie says:

    For lovers of nonfiction I have to recommend Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink – a story about a hospital in New Orleans during Katrina. Absolutely riveting. During the legislative session I am an health care policy lobbyist so I picked it up out of a sense of obligation and found I could not put it down. It was one of the most clearly written objective pieces of reportage I have ever read. Truly an amazing piece of work. To wear with it? Something boozy and full of joie de vivre, befitting New Orleans in better times. Maybe Volutes or Note Vanillee?

    • galbanumgal says:

      That one’s been on my list for awhile, after having watched Treme on Netflix. Another good scent would be SIP’s Magazine Street.

      • nozknoz says:

        SIP Magazine Street is great!

    • Holly says:

      I agree, this is an incredible book.

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      That sounds like a really interesting book! I have difficulty with images of violence and detailed gruesomeness, though. . . is it visual in that way or would you consider it pretty safe?

      • Holly says:

        Marjorie Rose, I would say that this is a very intense read. The writing is spectacular, and there are no gratuitous images of violence. The writer remains objective throughout the story, but there are many narratives that most readers will find disturbing.

        • Marjorie Rose says:

          Thanks for the reply! Sounds like I may not be up for it, yet. I have learned over the past few years (after a trauma), that it is better to avoid such things! Thankfully, there’s plenty other (less violent) entertainment in the world. :)

          • Holly says:

            I agree. I’m currently trying to read “In the Light of What We Know” and I feel like the theme song from Jaws should be playing.

  38. C.H. says:

    Book query rather than a book rec–has anyone read Truth & Beauty? Or have opinions on not reading it? Seems like this crowd might have given some thought to this matter!

    • Aparatchick says:

      That book has been on my TBR list for a while; I’d also love to hear from anyone who has read it.

      • C.H. says:

        Yeah, I know the family objected, and I feel rather protective of Lucy Grealy (having read Autobiography of a Face much too young), so I have avoided it, but I just heard a really nice interview with Ann Patchett about a different book, so now I’m sort of curious again…

    • Holly says:

      I have read it, and Autobiography of a Face. After the Grealy family voiced their objections, I went back and read them both again. I find each of them beautiful and moving, and I would definitely recommend them.

      At one point in time, I was saddened when two of my favorite authors, Alice Walker and Louise Erdrich, were publicly denounced by members of their families. Ultimately the hoopla hasn’t affected how I feel about their work.

    • gatorgirl says:

      I’ve read it. I love Ann Patchett’s fiction, so I gave it a whirl. Not a fan of Truth & Beauty. I did not know any of the backstory before reading, which was probably good. Just not my cup of tea, I guess.

  39. foxbins says:

    I am a fan of Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon series, so I’m reading the latest, Destroyer Angel. For those of you who don’t know it, Nevada Barr used to be a park ranger in the National Park Service and her heroine, Anna, has the same job. They are easy to read, like Sue Grafton’s books.

    Having no Angel (destroyer or otherwise) on hand, I suggest reading it wearing Slumberhouse Norne (a forest scent).

    • perthgirl says:

      Destroyer sounds like a pretty apt description of Angel to me! ;-)

    • sweetgrass says:

      I also feel compelled to add that Nevada Barr is an awesome name for a park ranger.

  40. elvanui says:

    Hey Everyone,

    such great recommendations! So many books, so little time:)!
    Right now I have a pile of Jodi Picoults, the John Kerr about Freud and Jung (too lazy to lift my butt and check the proper title), and Ian McEwans’s Solar on my nightstand waiting, but guess what I’m reading: the syrupy, easy, lovvvvvely Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I’m getting through the second one now, and I love it to death. I know its trashy and lemonade-ish, but still. Jamie Fraser for all girlz!!!
    I know I should read something serious, I do. But it’s summer, and if I can actually get to read, I wanna be entertained. (This has been my excuse for about six years now, since the kids were born. Hm.)
    I’ll try. I promise:).
    Have a lovely Sunday!

    • elvanui says:

      Oh, sorry: the perfume for the lovely Outlander-minutes: Odin’s absolutely mind-blowing Century. Those woods! That earthy patch! Perfect fit for the rigid castles and mossy woods of 18th century Scotland. And it is still easy enough to wear at hot nights too.

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        Wow–that’s a lovely-sounding scent! Will definitely keep an eye out for it.

    • hajusuuri says:

      I’ve read all the Jodi Picoult books! Another author you may want to check out is Anne Tyler – great writing on everyday things that happen and matter to American families.

      • Holly says:

        Love these authors too!

    • Aparatchick says:

      Nothing wrong with reading a highly entertaining book! Enjoy the Outlander series.

  41. poodle says:

    I don’t read I just look at the pictures. ;)

    No, I do read when I can find the time. I’m still trying to get through the books I wanted to read last summer! Now you guys are giving me another list of interesting books. I just read Lessons of a Lipstick Queen hoping to find some entrepreneurial inspiration I guess. I have a ton of books on my kindle that I need to get to. Most were freebies so they may or may not be any good. I also came across a box of advance reader copies of books in the basement I forgot I had. There’s actually a few good ones in there I should read. The Distant Hours is one of them. I really need to make time to sit outside and enjoy some good books this summer.

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      Any good picture books to recommend? ;)

      How often have I drooled over a beautiful coffee table book, only to realize I have no coffee table in which to display it?! It is a difficult and cruel life I lead!

      • poodle says:

        The only ones I’ve gotten recently have been some Harry Potter books on the making of the films. I’m not sure if you’re into HP or not.

    • nozknoz says:

      I used to love graphic novels, but have gotten out of the habit of buying them. The problem is that it doesn’t take very long to read one and they are more expensive to print, which makes them relatively expensive, and they tend to take up relatively more space, too. Some of my favs are Moebius, the Love and Rockets series, and Akira. There are some styles and genres that I really dislike, too, of course.

      • gatorgirl says:

        I recently got a graphic novel of one of my beloved childhood books – Madeline L’Engle’s A Winkle in Time. Such an interesting way to re-read it after all this time as I’ve not read a graphic novel previously.

  42. Marjorie Rose says:

    Ok. So, totally OT, but I woke up this morning out of a pretty funny/ frustrating perfume “nightmare!”

    I was walking through a crowded store–maybe a large drug store, but with all sorts of other merchandise, too? And there was a shelf of perfume bottles with testers. So, naturally, I went about sniffing the atomizers, if it wasn’t insipid, I’d give it a tentative spray into the air, etc. And I found one that smelled quite nice! So, I gave myself a spritz on the chest, where I’d be sure to smell it and give it a proper try, and I went about my poking through the store.

    Pretty soon, though, store security came swooping in! The guard grabbed my arm and marched me away from the shopping area and began a litany of questions about what did I think I was doing, etc.! He was accusing me of *stealing* perfume!!!

    I tried to explain to him that there was a tester on the shelf *precisely* for the purpose to which I’d put it–it’s there so that I can TEST the scent–and his conclusion was the baffling dream-real answer of “Well, perhaps you should just avoid being tempted if you’re going to behave that way,” etc.

    In the dream, I could not get out of this ridiculous debate–I’d explain myself, explain what the testers were there for, etc., he’d accuse me of stealing. At some point in the pointless, emotionally fraught scene, my dream-self became aware that part of the problem was that the scent had such big sillage, he just didn’t believe that all I did was test it!

    Anyway, no good resolution for my dream-self. I woke up frustrated that he didn’t understand and angry that I was being unfairly accused and embarrassed in a business–and one that had this amazing deal on a really great drugstore scent, that probably they wouldn’t let me buy!!!

    I’m all better now, though! :D

    • CM says:

      Do you remember what you tested?

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        Pretty sure it was an imaginary scent, unfortunately! I have been wearing Nostalgie all week, including a fair dousing at night, and that deep, heady rose may have permeated my sleeping senses!

    • CM says:

      Do you remember what you tested?

    • nozknoz says:

      I had a dream that involved smelling something a few months ago, but that’s the only time I can ever remember.

      You are certainly among friends here when it comes to perfume shopping anxiety!

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        I can’t imagine this sort of argument ensuing at an actual store, thank goodness! No idea why my brain decided to process it this morning, though.

        • Merlin says:

          MR, it would never be quite so overt, but there is the simple fact that when we test from a shop’s fragrance we are in fact using it up. I tend to feel quite awkward if I apply more than one or two sprays – and especially since I never intend to buy anything then and there.

          I’m totally lame at dream interpretation but maybe this is an argument you are having with yourself? Personally I decided I have more important things to feel guilty about, lol!

    • C.H. says:

      So I’m not the only one who has perfume anxiety dreams?? Recently I dreamed I had started dating someone new, who immediately declared my perfume preferences “too intellectual” and insisted he was going to cure me of that by buying me a large bottle of Acqua di Gioia to wear from now on, so that I could smell “pretty” instead. And for some reason instead of telling him where he could stick his bottle, I was desperately trying to find a way to say diplomatically that while I think Acqua di Gioia is perfectly nice, it really wasn’t me…

      Still not sure why my subconscious didn’t tell him to stuff it!

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        Hahaha! I guess you should be grateful it wasn’t something from a Kardashian. :D

      • Merlin says:

        Wear Aqua di Gio for an instant lobotomy! Guess we don’t need to ask what you think of that frag…

  43. nozknoz says:

    FYI, the Smithsonian Magazine website has a news item entitled, “You Could Smell Like a Viking,” about a Viking body spray created for the 30th anniversary of York’s JORVIK Viking Centre. “Norse Power” notes include fresh pine, seawater, fruits and nuts, blood and gore, mud, and smoke from burning settlements.

    • kindcrow says:

      I read about that a few weeks ago. They were describing it as “a new deodorant for men that attempts to capture the aromas of Viking-era York and the fierce raiders that conquered the city.” It seemed strange to me that a community (York) would be so silly about a time when their ancestors were terrified and slaughtered.

      • kindcrow says:
        • nozknoz says:

          Well, it’s easier to be tongue-in-cheek about things that happened a thousand years ago. The site sounds like an amazing archeological reconstruction of what was then a thriving seaport.

          I love that they invite couples to try the body spray and decide if they like it better than typical modern “fresh” scents. It’s not clear to me whether it really is an attempt to recreate an authentic Viking aroma (they do have an authentic smelly latrine at the JORVIK Centre), or a cologne that riffs on some of these notes.

    • perthgirl says:

      There was also an article in our paper a couple of months ago about some scientist creating a cadaver ‘perfume’. Wish I’d kept it, but I remember it included the cadaver ‘extract’ used for training cadaver dogs, plus other scents of decomposition and decay.

  44. poodle says:

    Has anyone read the Game of Thrones books? Any good? I tried watching the show but I wasn’t mentally prepared for it I guess. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I guess I wasn’t expecting decapitation, evisceration, disembowelment, beheading, rotting corpses, and more, all within the first hour or so. I may attempt it again now that I know what I’m in for but maybe I’d like the books better.

    • nozknoz says:

      I haven’t, but I have a friend who did and does not recommend them. She commented that the author periodically resorts to killing off many of the characters in a way that seems pointless and sadistic.

      • poodle says:

        Thanks. That’s what I thought. Someone else raved about them but I really don’t value her opinion so I figured someone on here would know.

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        I didn’t feel like he was killing off characters gratuitously, although he certainly has no problem killing off his characters! It is an enormous cast to keep track of, and without ending some of the story-lines, I think it would be even more difficult to keep track of what is going on.

      • nozknoz says:

        I guess there’s really only one way to find out. BTW, somewhere on the web I saw a huge chart of the characters and their interrelationships.

        • Marjorie Rose says:

          YMMV, naturally! I don’t mind a character being bumped off from time to time to keep the feeling of true threats present, but I can easily imagine it annoying people to repeatedly become attached to a character and then lose them.

          • perthgirl says:

            And really, it is a game of thrones ultimately. As Cersei put it: “you either win or you die”.

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      I “read” all of them on audiobook as I painted my house last year. I enjoyed them, although I think the audiobook-while-doing-chores route is what allowed me to finish them (or the 5 available at the time). The characters and politics are really interesting to me, the war and battle stuff not so much.

      • poodle says:

        Maybe I’ll try the audiobooks. I was somewhat interested in the emerging plot lines but I could do without some of the other stuff.

      • poodle says:

        Not to mention I could also do other stuff while listening.

        • Elena says:

          My brother (who loves fantasy and sci-fi) heartily recommended them, and I read the first pretty happily. The second one got awfully rape-y, and I only got partway through the third before getting sick of the repetitive nature of his writing and the lack of progress of the characters/plot. I then read the wikipedia synopses. I guess they’re better written than many other fantasy novels, but I found the writing pretty mediocre, and once the plot line stalled, I was quite bored. There’s also no end in sight so if you do get hooked… well, you may be waiting for many years.

    • CM says:

      I’ve read all of them and recommend them wholeheartedly. While characters get killed, it does seem to be purposeful and, well, realistic (for fantasy, that is). These books are not light; they are rich with intrigue and character development.

  45. VeraJayne says:

    Happy weekend everyone! Summer to me is all about the trashy novel, and none tops Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls! As a kid I found a copy hidden in my mom’s laundry room with her Miss Clairol hair dye lol. The dames in this book surely wore LOTS of perfume! Scent to wear while reading…Norell!

    • Julia says:

      I also read my mother’s hidden copy of this when I was a kid!

      • VeraJayne says:

        Too funny! My father called it “A dirty book!” lol

  46. Julia says:

    My “to read” list is endless. The current non-fiction books on my nightstand are Lizzie Siddal- The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel by Lucinda Hawksley and Stunner- The Fall and Rise of Fanny Cornforth by Kirsty Stonell Walker. As for perfumes to go with them I think something pale and delicate for Lizzie like Après L’Ondee and something more robust and sexy for Fanny like Jicky or Shalimar.
    The novels next in line are Into the Woods by Tana French and A Good and Happy Child by Justin Evans. I haven’t really started either of them yet but I think Wild Hunt by CB IHP might be a good choice for Into the Woods. A Good and Happy Child makes me think of Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett which is hilarious and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Good Omens inspired a line of fragrances by Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs and my favorites are Crowley and War.

    • Merlin says:

      I absolutely adored Good Omens – from the first sentence to the last! I certainly preferred it to anything I have read from Terry Pratchett (admittedly not that much) and certainly to Coraline (a Gamain fairy-tale).

      If I remember correctly it begins with Crowley and an angel squabbling in the Garden of Eden before the first rains!

    • floragal says:

      Tana French is an excellent read. Good scent choice too!

  47. missionista says:

    The best book I read recently was Devils on the Deep Blue Sea by Kristoffer A. Garin. It’s about the rise of the American (and esp. Carribbean) cruise ship industry. It’s the cruise equivalent of Liar’s Poker, part tell-all, part business journalism, part history. I couldn’t put it down, although, having once worked as a cruise director, it may speak to me more than to many other people.

    For those who like mystery novels in summer, I recommend Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann. It’s a mystery told from the perspective of a flock of sheep. Sounds corny, but it really works.

    On a completely different note, I DRAINED A FULL BOTTLE TODAY! This is the first time I’ve ever done that. It was 100 mL of Vivid by Liz Claiborne. It used to be my signature scent, but I hadn’t worn it that way in ages, so it took years to empty this bottle. I have great memories associated with it, but a 5mL on ebay will be more than enough if I ever get a craving for it again. Hooray!

    • Aparatchick says:

      I have a friend who used to work for a cruise line; I’ll have to tell her about that book. Goodness, she had some stories!

  48. Merlin says:


    At first I thought you meant you used the whole bottle in one day. I was going to bemoan how weak today’s scents are! ;-)

  49. Merlin says:

    So excited Angela’s book is out! That’s exactly the motivation I need to get through the last part of Melmoth (a book I’m nearly finished) so I can dive straight into it.

    I dipped into the first chapter on Amazon and was totally hooked by the first paragraph…

    Congratulations, Angela!

  50. Erin says:

    Other than huge biographies, like the Ray Monk Oppenheimer one, which are not very summery and hard to scent, the best I’ve read in the last couple months have been: “Splendor in the Short Grass: a Grover Lewis reader” (to be read wearing something very, very bitter); Sylvia Townsend Warner’s “Summer will Show”(Jicky), Norman Lewis’ “Naples 44” (Carthusia Aria di Capri or some as-yet developed Dominique Dubrana Naples scent), Dorothy Baker’s “Cassandra at the Wedding” (something big and crazy and classic/elegant and dramatic, like l’Heure Bleue, or Amouage Ubar or 24 Faubourg) and Karen Joy Fowler’s “We are completely besides ourselves” (definitely Muscs Koublai Khan).

    • Erin says:

      Also currently reading three very enjoyable ones simultaneously: Marco Roth’s memoir “The Scientists: A love story”, Glenway Wescott’s “Apartment in Athens” and the Wilder classic “The Bridge San Luis Rey” — not finished, so hard to scent those ones yet.

    • Erin says:

      Somehow missed the update on Angie’s book! So excited for you, Angela. Really looking forward to reading it….

  51. caffeinequeen says:

    I just finished Young God by Katherine Faw Morris and really enjoyed it. It’s about a 13-year-old girl named Nikki who takes over her family’s drug trade. It can be rather disturbing, but it’s well written and can easily be read in a couple of hours. Recommended scent: Encens et Bubblegum by L’Etat de Libre.

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