23 books like The Emperor of Scent

By Chandler Burr,

Here are 23 books that The Emperor of Scent fans have personally recommended if you like The Emperor of Scent. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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

Stan Hieronymus Author Of For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops

From my list on about aroma and flavor.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I began research on For the Love of Hops about 70 percent of the hops grown worldwide were valued simply for the bitterness they added to beer, but that was about to flip completely. Today, new varieties like Citra and Mosaic are powerful brands, with aromas and flavors that hops never exhibited in the past. That’s why the book begins with a deep dive into how and why we smell and taste what we do, something these books helped me better understand.

Stan's book list on about aroma and flavor

Stan Hieronymus Why did Stan love this book?

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.

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…


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

Stan Hieronymus Author Of For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops

From my list on about aroma and flavor.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I began research on For the Love of Hops about 70 percent of the hops grown worldwide were valued simply for the bitterness they added to beer, but that was about to flip completely. Today, new varieties like Citra and Mosaic are powerful brands, with aromas and flavors that hops never exhibited in the past. That’s why the book begins with a deep dive into how and why we smell and taste what we do, something these books helped me better understand.

Stan's book list on about aroma and flavor

Stan Hieronymus Why did Stan love this book?

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.”

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,…


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

Stan Hieronymus Author Of For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops

From my list on about aroma and flavor.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I began research on For the Love of Hops about 70 percent of the hops grown worldwide were valued simply for the bitterness they added to beer, but that was about to flip completely. Today, new varieties like Citra and Mosaic are powerful brands, with aromas and flavors that hops never exhibited in the past. That’s why the book begins with a deep dive into how and why we smell and taste what we do, something these books helped me better understand.

Stan's book list on about aroma and flavor

Stan Hieronymus Why did Stan love this book?

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.

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…


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

Stan Hieronymus Author Of For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops

From my list on about aroma and flavor.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I began research on For the Love of Hops about 70 percent of the hops grown worldwide were valued simply for the bitterness they added to beer, but that was about to flip completely. Today, new varieties like Citra and Mosaic are powerful brands, with aromas and flavors that hops never exhibited in the past. That’s why the book begins with a deep dive into how and why we smell and taste what we do, something these books helped me better understand.

Stan's book list on about aroma and flavor

Stan Hieronymus Why did Stan love this book?

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.”

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…


Book cover of The Emperor Of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession and the Last Mystery of the Senses

Theresa Levitt Author Of Elixir: A Parisian Perfume House and the Quest for the Secret of Life

From my list on perfume and scent.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of science who just completed a book on the role of perfume in the quest for the secret of life and vitality. While writing it, I became fascinated with the challenge of translating scent into language. While our nose can recognize a virtually infinite number of odors, there are only a few basic categories of description (“floral,” “woody,” “citrus,” etc.). To fully describe them often requires a poet’s touch – invoking a tapestry of memories, associations, and feelings to create the experience in the reader’s mind. These are some of the best books I’ve encountered for talking about the complex world of scent, and the importance of perfume in human history.

Theresa's book list on perfume and scent

Theresa Levitt Why did Theresa love this book?

At the center of this rollicking account is the larger-than-life figure of Luca Turin, a perfume aficionado and renegade biophysicist with an uncannily sensitive nose.

Burr followed him as he traded blows with the scientific establishment over his unorthodox theory of how smell works. What emerges is a profound appreciation of just how little understood this sense still is, and how varied and potent the smells of the world are to someone as attentive to them as Turin.

By Chandler Burr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the tradition of Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief and James Gleick's Genius, The Emperor of Scent tells the story of Luca Turin, an utterly unusual, stubborn scientist, his otherworldly gift for perfume, his brilliant, quixotic theory of how we smell, and his struggle to set before the world the secret of the most enigmatic of our senses.


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

Jim Willis Author Of The Wizard in the Wood: A Tale of Magic, Mystery, and Meaning

From my list on magic, mystery, and meaning in 21st century lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author, theologian, musician, historian, and college professor who has written more than twenty books about ancient and alternative history, religion in modern culture, and long-distance, meditative bicycling. My study of the past convinced me that modern life has, for far too many of us, grown one-dimensional. It lacks the magic and mystery that imbued the ancients with the deep and rich mythology which we inherited from them, but then allowed to grow dormant within our sheltered lives. Remembering their vision and experience is a key to restoring our own sense of self-worth and essence. Maybe we all need to meet a “Wizard in the Wood!”

Jim's book list on magic, mystery, and meaning in 21st century lives

Jim Willis Why did Jim love this book?

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! 

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


Book cover of Three Messages and a Warning: Contemporary Mexican Short Stories of the Fantastic

Kevin J. Fellows Author Of At the End of the World

From my list on fabulist fiction books where the real and unreal collide, leaving us questioning both.

Why am I passionate about this?

After reading The Enormous Egg as a child, I’ve been devoted to stories where the strange, the uncanny, and the magical are all elements of the worlds characters must negotiate. I’m most drawn to fiction containing seemingly unreal elements because, in my experience, that is reality. Those moments when the past suddenly feels present, or when you glimpse something at the edge of your vision that feels significant, but you can’t quite catch it. Moments when anything is possible. No surprise that I write fiction that explores those moments of uncertainty and leaves the reader unmoored, thinking about the people and their experiences long after they’ve left the book.

Kevin's book list on fabulist fiction books where the real and unreal collide, leaving us questioning both

Kevin J. Fellows Why did Kevin love this book?

I wish publishers translated more fantastical fiction from around the world. This collection by Mexican authors offers a buffet of the weird, fabulist, and otherworldly.

The translated prose is masterful. Many stories draw the distant, decaying realm lying between life and death, directly and viscerally, into the homes and lives of the characters.

Anthologies can often suffer from an unevenness between authors, but this collection is consistently surprising and offers something for any reader of fabulist fiction.

By Eduardo Jimenez Mayo (editor), Chris N. Brown (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Three Messages and a Warning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A huge, energetic, and ambitious groundbreaking anthology from emerging and established Mexican authors which showcases all-new supernatural folktales, alien incursions, ghost stories, apocalyptic narratives, and more. Stereotypes of Mexican identities and fictions are identified and transcended. Traditional tales rub shoulders with mindbending new worlds. Welcome to the new Mexican fantastic. Eduardo Jimenez Mayo's translations include books by Bruno Estanol, Rafael Perez Gay, and Jose Maria Perez Gay. Chris N. Brown lives in Austin, Texas. He is a contributor to the blog No Fear of the Future. Bruce Sterling lives in Turin, Italy, and blogs at Wired's Beyond the Beyond.


Book cover of The New Knighthood: A History of the Order of the Temple

Helen Nicholson Author Of A Brief History of the Knights Templar

From my list on the real history of the Knights Templar.

Why am I passionate about this?

As my father was a keen amateur historian, family holidays always involved visits to medieval castles, abbeys, and Roman antiquities, but it wasn’t until I’d finished a University history degree and started training as an accountant that I encountered the Templars. Reading a primary source from the Third Crusade, I found the medieval author praised the Templars – yet few modern histories mentioned them, or, if they did mention the Templars, they claimed they were unpopular. My curiosity led me to undertake a PhD on medieval attitudes towards the Templars, Hospitallers, and Teutonic Knights, and eventually to a university post and a professional career in medieval history, writing history books focused on primary sources.

Helen's book list on the real history of the Knights Templar

Helen Nicholson Why did Helen love this book?

This is a detailed, reliable account of the Templars’ history from their beginning to their end.

There’s no imaginative speculation or flights of fancy: it’s all based on written and archaeological evidence from the time of the events described. Barber drew on a vast range of primary sources from across medieval Christendom and the Middle East, his own lifetime’s research into the Templars, and the work of other expert historians to produce this comprehensive history.

When it was first published, back in 1994, this was the first comprehensive, authoritative, up-to-date history of the Templars available in English. Many researchers have since written good shorter studies of various aspects of Templar history, but this remains the best all-encompassing scholarly study.

It’s a must-read for all serious scholars of the Templars. 

By Malcolm Barber,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Order of the Temple, founded in 1119 to protect pilgrims around Jerusalem, developed into one of the most influential corporations in the medieval world. It has retained its hold on the modern imagination thanks to the dramatic events of the Templars' trial and abolition two hundred years later, and has been invoked in historical mysteries from Masonic conspiracy to the survival of the Turin shroud. Malcolm Barber's lucid narrative separates myth from history in this full and detailed account of the Order, from its origins, flourishing and suppression to the Templars' historic afterlife.


Book cover of Family Lexicon

Tim Parks Author Of An Italian Education: The Further Adventures of an Expatriate in Verona

From my list on understanding the Italian mindset.

Why am I passionate about this?

Tim Parks moved to Italy in 1981 and is still there today. He has written five bestselling books about the country, brought up three splendid Italian children and translated some of the country’s best-loved authors. There cannot be many foreigners more familiar with the country, its literature, its history and its people.

Tim's book list on understanding the Italian mindset

Tim Parks Why did Tim love this book?

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.

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…


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

Christina Lynch Author Of The Italian Party

From my list on women in wartime.

Why am I passionate about this?

Doing the research for The Italian Party meant submerging myself in the Cold War Italy of the 1950s. But I found I couldn't understand that period without a better understanding of World War II and Italian Fascism. Cue an avalanche of books from which this list is culled, and the new novel I have just finished. I am drawn to first-hand accounts of women’s lives in wartime because I wonder how I would react and survive such challenges. Recent events in Europe have revived the nightmare of life under an occupying army. These stories are back at my bedside right now because I need their humor and wisdom.

Christina's book list on women in wartime

Christina Lynch Why did Christina love this book?

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.

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…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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