10 books like The Emperor of Scent

By Chandler Burr,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Emperor of Scent. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Neurogastronomy

By Gordon M. Shepherd,

Book cover of Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters

Gordon Shepherd gave the developing science of neurogastronomy – which studies how the human brain perceives food from the information processed through smell, taste, sight, touch, and hearing – its name. A leading expert on olfaction, he is perfectly qualified to draw the link between aroma and flavor, and why Luca Turin would claim that smell provides 90 percent of what we taste. His description of the importance of retronasal smell, and the mechanics involved, turned a term that was fun to toss around tasting beer with friends into a revelation.

Neurogastronomy

By Gordon M. Shepherd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Neurogastronomy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Leading neuroscientist Gordon M. Shepherd embarks on a paradigm-shifting trip through the "human brain flavor system," laying the foundations for a new scientific field: neurogastronomy. Challenging the belief that the sense of smell diminished during human evolution, Shepherd argues that this sense, which constitutes the main component of flavor, is far more powerful and essential than previously believed. Shepherd begins Neurogastronomy with the mechanics of smell, particularly the way it stimulates the nose from the back of the mouth. As we eat, the brain conceptualizes smells as spatial patterns, and from these and the other senses it constructs the perception…


What the Nose Knows

By Avery Gilbert,

Book cover of What the Nose Knows: The Science of Scent in Everyday Life

This is also a book about what the nose doesn’t know, dispelling myths as well as digging into what scientists actually know in words non-scientists can understand. It is interesting to learn that blind people do not have enhanced powers of smell. It is positively illuminating to read, “Odors are perceptions, not things in the world. The fact that a molecule of phenylethyl alcohol smells like a rose is a function of our brain, not a property of the molecule.”

What the Nose Knows

By Avery Gilbert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What the Nose Knows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Everything about the sense of smell fascinates us, from its power to evoke memories to its ability to change our moods and influence our behavior. Yet because it is the least understood of the senses, myths abound. For example, contrary to popular belief, the human nose is almost as sensitive as the noses of many animals, including dogs; blind people do not have enhanced powers of smell; and perfumers excel at their jobs not because they have superior noses, but because they have perfected the art of thinking about scents.In this entertaining and enlightening journey through the world of aroma,…


Nose Dive

By Harold McGee,

Book cover of Nose Dive: A Field Guide to the World's Smells

Harold McGee, known for his books on cooking, brings molecules to life in Nose Dive. The book truly is a field guide, with tables throughout listing the source of aroma compounds, the components smell, and the responsible molecules. For instance, looking at molecules explains why Europeans might think American garden strawberries smell more like pineapple than strawberry. Nose Dive is also inspiring. “When we nose an intriguing flower or finger a leaf or sip a cola, and take the time to sniff repeatedly and searchingly for component smells, we experience their qualities more fully than when we smell with brain on autopilot,” McGee writes.

Nose Dive

By Harold McGee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nose Dive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The ultimate guide to the smells of the universe - the ambrosial to the malodorous, and everything in between - from the author of the acclaimed culinary guides On Food and Cooking and Keys to Good Cooking

From Harold McGee, James Beard Award-winning author and leading expert on the science of food and cooking, comes an extensive exploration of the long-overlooked world of smell. In Nose Dive, McGee takes us on a sensory adventure, from the sulfurous nascent earth more than four billion years ago, to the fruit-filled Tian Shan mountain range north of the Himalayas, to the keyboard of…


Flavor

By Bob Holmes,

Book cover of Flavor: The Science of Our Most Neglected Sense

In Neurogastronomy, Gordon Shepherd likens smells to human faces, writing that they are easy to recognize but hard to describe. In Flavor, Bob Holmes introduces readers to a small tribe of nomadic hunter-gatherers in Malaysia, the Jahai, who have more than a dozen words to describe smells, none of which relate to the smell of any particular object. Vocabulary, he writes, is something we can learn with little effort. His experiences with chefs, gastronomy experts, and food scientists may inspire readers to find personal vocabularies. In the end, he writes, “What’s important is that coming up with a description forces me to pay attention and paying attention enriches my flavor experience.”

Flavor

By Bob Holmes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Flavor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Can you describe how the flavor of halibut differs from that of red snapper? How the taste of a Fuji apple differs from a Spartan? For most of us, this is a difficult task: flavor remains a vague, undeveloped concept that we don't know enough about to describe-or appreciate-fully. In this delightful and compelling exploration of our most neglected sense, veteran science reporter Bob Holmes shows us just how much we're missing.

Considering every angle of flavor from our neurobiology to the science and practice of modern food production, Holmes takes readers on a journey to uncover the broad range…


The Second Messiah

By Christopher Knight, Robert Lomas,

Book cover of The Second Messiah: Templars, the Turin Shroud and the Great Secret of Freemasonry

Combining some of the greatest conspiracy subjects ever put forth, this book offers a fresh take on the familiar, compelling secret history of what might have been, rivaling even Dan Brown in the process. How might the Templars have interacted with the Shroud? What might they have done with it? What are the secrets of Freemasonry that were known to so many of America’s Founding Fathers, and why is the world still interested? This is a book that made me think. And, more importantly, wonder! 

The Second Messiah

By Christopher Knight, Robert Lomas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Second Messiah as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2000 Barnes Noble hardcover, Knight, Christopher; Lomas, Robert (Uriel's Machine). Is the Shroud of Turin genuine? That is the question that Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas set out to answer in the follow-up to their ground-breaking first book, The Hiram Key. For over 700 years the world thought the shroud bore the image of the crucified Christ, but results of carbon dating have shown that the fabric could not have predated 1260. The authors have produced new evidence that conclusively proves that it is not a fake-yet neither is it the image of Jesus Christ. - Amazon


Family Lexicon

By Natalia Ginzburg, Jenny McPhee (translator),

Book cover of Family Lexicon

Among the greatest family memoirs of all time. Novelist, Natalia Ginzburg (née Levi) grew up in a big family in Turin between the wars. Her Jewish father was a famous and famously irascible scientist, her mother a charmer from the well-to-do bourgeoisie. The last of five, Natalia gives a sparkling picture of the loves, friendships and conflicts between her older brothers and sisters as Fascist Italy drifted toward war. Impossible not to laugh and cry, while at the same time getting a sense of the deeper forces driving Italian life.

Family Lexicon

By Natalia Ginzburg, Jenny McPhee (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Family Lexicon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A masterpiece of European literature that blends family memoir and fiction

An Italian family, sizable, with its routines and rituals, crazes, pet phrases, and stories, doubtful, comical, indispensable, comes to life in the pages of Natalia Ginzburg’s Family Lexicon. Giuseppe Levi, the father, is a scientist, consumed by his work and a mania for hiking—when he isn’t provoked into angry remonstration by someone misspeaking or misbehaving or wearing the wrong thing. Giuseppe is Jewish, married to Lidia, a Catholic, though neither is religious; they live in the industrial city of Turin where, as the years pass, their children find ways…


A House in the Mountains

By Caroline Moorehead,

Book cover of A House in the Mountains: The Women Who Liberated Italy from Fascism

I could have broken the rules and just listed five books by Caroline Moorehead here. I love her writing; her highly-researched biographies are a joy to read and utterly immersive. I chose A House in the Mountains because it shows me what it’s like to survive the hardscrabble blow-by-blow of daily life under an occupying army, and how you can defeat it. The five women whose lives in the Italian Resistance during WWII she chronicles here are models of courage and creative resistance to tyranny.

A House in the Mountains

By Caroline Moorehead,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A House in the Mountains as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Moorehead paints a wonderfully vivid and moving portrait of the women of the Italian Resistance...an excellent book... She depicts a tragic fate that is timeless, of dreams forged in adversity, shattered by collisions with practical politics' MAX HASTINGS, SUNDAY TIMES

A Spectator Book of the Year

The extraordinary story of the courageous women who spearheaded the Italian Resistance during the Second World War

In the late summer of 1943, when Italy changed sides in the War and the Germans - now their enemies - occupied the north of the country, an Italian Resistance was born. Ada, Frida, Silvia and Bianca…


Perfume

By Patrick Suskind,

Book cover of Perfume

It comes out of a Germanic tradition, including Hoffmann’s dark, supernatural tales, but Perfume seemed wonderfully original, freshly foul, and captivatingly disgusting. It’s a book that makes its own universe and sets its own rules. It’ll ask you to lend your sympathy to a demented serial killer. And you may well consent.

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born amongst the discarded fish guts, in the gutter in an Eighteenth century, Parisian market. In a world that stinks, he lacks a body odour himself, but grows up obsessed with the aroma of things becoming a genius perfumier. But his obsession carries terrible costs for those he meets, and finally for himself.

An oddball book about an oddball character.

Perfume

By Patrick Suskind,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Perfume as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An erotic masterpiece of twentieth century fiction - a tale of sensual obsession and bloodlust in eighteenth century Paris

'An astonishing tour de force both in concept and execution' Guardian

In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, and if his name has been forgotten today.

It is certainly not because Grenouille fell short of those more famous blackguards when it came to arrogance, misanthropy, immorality, or, more succinctly, wickedness, but because his gifts…


Smell Detectives

By Melanie A. Kiechle,

Book cover of Smell Detectives: An Olfactory History of Nineteenth-Century Urban America

Kiechle’s Smell Detective shows how smell, the mute sense, has been in fact quite “talkative.” By going back to the nineteenth-century United States, the book discusses how cities back then smelled and how people living there reacted to it. Olfaction is actually a critical source of knowledge. Smell can tell you a lot about your surrounding environment and other people. It also gives historians clues to understand how people lived in the past. Moreover, smell, like other senses, is not a simply subjective, biological phenomenon. Sensations we experience change over time—imagine smell and sounds on the street today and hundred years ago. It is also cultural and political, too. How people understand certain sensations is a historical product—a certain “bad” small was racialized and associated with a lower class, for example. This book is an excellent way to “sniff” out the history of the senses.

Smell Detectives

By Melanie A. Kiechle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Smell Detectives as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What did nineteenth-century cities smell like? And how did odors matter in the formation of a modern environmental consciousness? Smell Detectives follows the nineteenth-century Americans who used their noses to make sense of the sanitary challenges caused by rapid urban and industrial growth. Melanie Kiechle examines nuisance complaints, medical writings, domestic advice, and myriad discussions of what constituted fresh air, and argues that nineteenth-century city dwellers, anxious about the air they breathed, attempted to create healthier cities by detecting and then mitigating the most menacing odors.

Medical theories in the nineteenth century assumed that foul odors caused disease and that…


The Crimson Petal and the White

By Michel Faber,

Book cover of The Crimson Petal and the White

Recommended by a book-loving friend in Tai Chi class (Thanks, Shirley) The Crimson Petal and the White is a lengthy yet riveting journey into Dickensian London. The writer invites the reader into the streets at the outset, breaking the veil between narrator and reader, warning the reader “watch your step.” I couldn’t help but accept this invitation and, once there, I couldn’t leave. I followed the narrator through poverty-stricken alleys where I met the Crimson Petal (Sugar, the prostitute) and from there into the world of the White (Agnes, the innocent), two women connected by business magnate William Rackam. A delicious read.

The Crimson Petal and the White

By Michel Faber,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Crimson Petal and the White as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Watch your step. Keep your wits about you; you will need them . . .'

So begins this irresistible voyage into the dark side of Victorian London. Amongst an unforgettable cast of low-lifes, physicians, businessmen and prostitutes, meet our heroine Sugar, a young woman trying to drag herself up from the gutter any way she can. Be prepared for a mesmerising tale of passion, intrigue, ambition and revenge.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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