100 books like The Eyes of the Skin

By Juhani Pallasmaa,

Here are 100 books that The Eyes of the Skin fans have personally recommended if you like The Eyes of the Skin. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Perfume

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?

A gruesome story of murder and desire that also happens to have the most vivid olfactory descriptions of any genre.

Suskind’s preternatural ability to summon odor from the page makes you feel as if you are there beside him, walking through the flowered hillsides of Provence, or in the back room of a perfume shop on the Pont au Change. His twisted use of classic perfume techniques is as accurate as it is chilling.

By Patrick Suskind,

Why should I read it?

8 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…


Book cover of In Praise of Shadows

Alan Hughes Author Of Interior Design Drawing

From my list on exploring interior design and our understanding.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child my heroes were designers and I thought designers could design across many disciplines, this was what I understood and aspired to. I'm fortunate to have been a designer, illustrator, and design teacher for many years. Passionate about the process I firmly believe if you can design in one area you can design in another. Understanding your material's potential is the key. As a tutor and author my job is to unwrap a student’s talent, support and encourage that unique view through skills building and advice to help them. I believe good design can solve many of the world’s problems and passing on that message is valuable.

Alan's book list on exploring interior design and our understanding

Alan Hughes Why did Alan love this book?

An exploration by this famous novelist contrasts the Japanese and the west’s approach to what it means to dwell and inhabit. Light, texture, and culture are explored from an aesthetic point of view and as a design choice through various explorations of sensory experience be that of food, traditional Japanese toilets, or the impact of electric light. An evocative and practical essay for anyone interested in the way we inhabit our environments. This book was a powerful reminder that cultural differences and the history behind them need to be understood and welcomed for the contrast and the alternative view they reveal.  

By Junichirō Tanizaki,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked In Praise of Shadows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


An essay on aesthetics by the Japanese novelist, this book explores architecture, jade, food, and even toilets, combining an acute sense of the use of space in buildings. The book also includes descriptions of laquerware under candlelight and women in the darkness of the house of pleasure.


Book cover of Eileen Gray: Architect/Designer

Alan Hughes Author Of Interior Design Drawing

From my list on exploring interior design and our understanding.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child my heroes were designers and I thought designers could design across many disciplines, this was what I understood and aspired to. I'm fortunate to have been a designer, illustrator, and design teacher for many years. Passionate about the process I firmly believe if you can design in one area you can design in another. Understanding your material's potential is the key. As a tutor and author my job is to unwrap a student’s talent, support and encourage that unique view through skills building and advice to help them. I believe good design can solve many of the world’s problems and passing on that message is valuable.

Alan's book list on exploring interior design and our understanding

Alan Hughes Why did Alan love this book?

A captivating biography of one of my favourite designers. This book charts the life and experience of Eileen Gray and most importantly her fierce desire to understand the process of design and explore the integrity and flexibility of the material and techniques she used. 

From exquisite lacquer work as surface decoration or tubular steel, leather, and canvas for furniture, to the smooth, modernist concrete for her most famous build, E1027, Gray mastered her materials. In doing so she recognised that when designing space, engineering and theory were not enough, and that instinct and the ‘choreography of the space’ are essential to how we recognise and understand our built environment. A wonderful exploration of a designer’s life, particularly relevant for a student of design to read.

By Peter Adam,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is a biography of Eileen Gray (1878-1976), an Anglo-Irish architect and designer who spent her early life in Paris and opened showrooms in 1922 with a strong Art Deco emphasis. Written by a longstanding friend who draws on his exclusive access to Gray's personal archives, the book aims to re-create her life and architectural projects. Two houses she designed in the south of France are now considered architectural landmarks of the 20th century. In addition to more than 300 photographs, designs and architectural plans, this new edition provides a revised catalogue raisonne of Gray's furniture, architecture and drawings.


Book cover of Geography of Home: Writings on Where We Live

Alan Hughes Author Of Interior Design Drawing

From my list on exploring interior design and our understanding.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child my heroes were designers and I thought designers could design across many disciplines, this was what I understood and aspired to. I'm fortunate to have been a designer, illustrator, and design teacher for many years. Passionate about the process I firmly believe if you can design in one area you can design in another. Understanding your material's potential is the key. As a tutor and author my job is to unwrap a student’s talent, support and encourage that unique view through skills building and advice to help them. I believe good design can solve many of the world’s problems and passing on that message is valuable.

Alan's book list on exploring interior design and our understanding

Alan Hughes Why did Alan love this book?

Recommended to me by one of my students this is a witty exploration of the places in our homes, what we call them, kitchen, bedroom, dining room and how they often don’t live up to or exceed their names. A view of the rituals and complexities of the American home and what it houses as it explores memory, aspirations, and the real meaning of home. This book is a trigger to encourage the reader to look at their own spaces and the pattern of how they use those spaces through habit, muscular memory, and cultural norms, all playing a part in how we define our living spaces.

By Akiko Busch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The house is home to many things. Far more than four walls and a roof, it contains our private and public lives, our families, our memories and aspirations, and it reflects our attitudes toward society, culture, the environment, and our neighbours. In a literary tour of the spaces of our homes, this book reflects on how we define such elusive qualities as privacy, security, and comfort. It uncovers the hidden meanings of seemingly simple domestic spaces, in chapters ranging from "The Front Door" to "The Garage" and many others. These writings about the home touch on our culture's fundamental issues:…


Book cover of Design Drawing

Alan Hughes Author Of Interior Design Drawing

From my list on exploring interior design and our understanding.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child my heroes were designers and I thought designers could design across many disciplines, this was what I understood and aspired to. I'm fortunate to have been a designer, illustrator, and design teacher for many years. Passionate about the process I firmly believe if you can design in one area you can design in another. Understanding your material's potential is the key. As a tutor and author my job is to unwrap a student’s talent, support and encourage that unique view through skills building and advice to help them. I believe good design can solve many of the world’s problems and passing on that message is valuable.

Alan's book list on exploring interior design and our understanding

Alan Hughes Why did Alan love this book?

Ching has a great gift for illustrating with his visuals, and his amazing handwritten text, all manner of information about drawing and designing space. This is a comprehensive and instructional book introducing design drawing from basic principles to the communication of designed space as a structural diagram or atmospheric perspective. A wonderful exploration of sketching and drawing methods to illustrate theory, atmosphere, and the communication of three-dimensional space.  For me, it transcended the textbook approach and provided a clear exploration of the communication of design method and its potential outcomes.

By Francis D. K. Ching, Steven P. Juroszek,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

THE CLASSIC GUIDE TO DRAWING FOR DESIGNERS, REVISED AND UPDATED TO INCLUDE CURRENT DIGITAL-DRAWING TECHNIQUES

Hand drawing is an integral part of the design process and central to the architecture profession. An architect's precise interpretation and freedom of expression are captured through hand drawing, and it is perhaps the most fundamental skill that the designer must develop in order to communicate thoughts and ideas effectively. In his distinctive style, world-renowned author Francis D. K. Ching presents Design Drawing, Third Edition, the classic guide to hand drawing that clearly demonstrates how to use drawing as a practical tool for formulating and…


Book cover of A Sensory History Manifesto

Hannah Platts Author Of Multisensory Living in Ancient Rome: Power and Space in Roman Houses

From my list on multisensory history.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for ancient history and archaeology began in secondary school when I started learning Latin and we were taken on a field trip to Fishbourne Roman Palace. By the time I started my MA at Bristol, my obsession with ancient Roman housing was well and truly established, and it quickly became clear to me that this was the area that I wanted to study for my PhD. Now as an Associate Professor in Ancient History and Archaeology at Royal Holloway, University of London, I have been very lucky to study and teach a range of areas in ancient history and archaeology, including my beloved area of the Roman domestic realm. 

Hannah's book list on multisensory history

Hannah Platts Why did Hannah love this book?

Historian Mark Smith has written widely on the topic of understanding sensory experiences of the past.

At just over 100 pages long, his most recent book is an excellent insight into the field for both those new to it, and those who are already familiar with writing history of the senses.

Starting with an overview of the origins of sensory history and moving through to consider both the strengths and challenges of current research in this area, Smith concludes this book with a clear, accessible, and persuasive argument for future directions of work in the field.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough for anyone interested in exploring sensory history!

By Mark M. Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Sensory History Manifesto as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Sensory History Manifesto is a brief and timely meditation on the state of the field. It invites historians who are unfamiliar with sensory history to adopt some of its insights and practices, and it urges current practitioners to think in new ways about writing histories of the senses.

Starting from the premise that the sensorium is a historical formation, Mark M. Smith traces the origins of historical work on the senses long before the emergence of the field now called "sensory history," interrogating, exploring, and in some cases recovering pioneering work on the topic. Smith argues that we are…


Book cover of Archaeology and the Senses: Human Experience, Memory, and Affect

Hannah Platts Author Of Multisensory Living in Ancient Rome: Power and Space in Roman Houses

From my list on multisensory history.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for ancient history and archaeology began in secondary school when I started learning Latin and we were taken on a field trip to Fishbourne Roman Palace. By the time I started my MA at Bristol, my obsession with ancient Roman housing was well and truly established, and it quickly became clear to me that this was the area that I wanted to study for my PhD. Now as an Associate Professor in Ancient History and Archaeology at Royal Holloway, University of London, I have been very lucky to study and teach a range of areas in ancient history and archaeology, including my beloved area of the Roman domestic realm. 

Hannah's book list on multisensory history

Hannah Platts Why did Hannah love this book?

Hamilakis’s Archaeology and the Senses was one of the first books I read when starting to explore multisensory history, and it totally altered my view of how we study the past.

Focusing on Bronze-Age Crete, Hamilakis examines how archaeology has engaged with the bodily senses thus far and critiques its emphasis on sight and the traditional hierarchy of the five senses in the west.

Moreover, he proposes an innovative and exciting means by which archaeology can move beyond its focus on visual experiences of artefacts, environments, and materials to bring in lost and neglected, yet just as important, bodily senses such as sound, smell, taste, and touch.

Through this approach to archaeology he seeks to evoke a deeper, richer insight into the breadth of human experience in past societies.

By Yannis Hamilakis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book is an exciting new look at how archaeology has dealt with the bodily senses and offers an argument for how the discipline can offer a richer glimpse into the human sensory experience. Yannis Hamilakis shows how, despite its intensely physical engagement with the material traces of the past, archaeology has mostly neglected multi-sensory experience, instead prioritising isolated vision and relying on the Western hierarchy of the five senses. In place of this limited view of experience, Hamilakis proposes a sensorial archaeology that can unearth the lost, suppressed, and forgotten sensory and affective modalities of humans. Using Bronze Age…


Book cover of The Foul & the Fragrant: Odor & the French Social Imagination

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?

A classic of cultural history that shows how thoroughly smell shapes our lived experience.

Corbin details how different (and generally worse) France smelled in the past, and how this world of miasmas and insalubrious airs dictated hygiene practices and social interactions. More recent works, like Jonathan Reinarz’ Past Scents: Historical Perspectives on Smell have further built on the treatment of odor as a powerful cultural force.

By Alain Corbin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Foul & the Fragrant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a book whose insight and originality have already had a dazzling impact in France, Alain Corbin has put the sense of smell on the historical map. He conjures up the dominion that the combined forces of smells--from the seductress's civet to the ubiquitous excremental odors of city cesspools--exercised over the lives (and deaths) of the French in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


Book cover of What is Architecture? And 100 Other Questions

Stephanie Travis Author Of Sketching for Architecture + Interior Design: A Practical Guide on Sketching for Architecture and Interior Design Students

From my list on introducing architecture and interior design to everyone.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a design-obsessed George Washington University (Washington, DC) professor, author, architect, interior designer, sketcher, modernist, city lover, traveler, and University of Michigan alumni who writes about topics on architecture and interior design for people of all ages and backgrounds. Everyone lives in the built environment, but not everyone understands it. For example, sketching is one of the best ways to understand a piece of furniture, interior, or building. You will never see the object the same way after you draw it! All of the books on this list are approachable, interesting, fun, and most importantly inspiring. Enjoy!

Stephanie's book list on introducing architecture and interior design to everyone

Stephanie Travis Why did Stephanie love this book?

This small format hardback is a really enjoyable read, as it asks a lot of good questions about architecture that will really get you thinking and curious about the topics. Each question is answered quickly (in a sentence), and then in a longer format, but still very digestible. It’s a great gift for any architecture lover.

By Rasmus Wærn, Gert Windgardh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What is Architecture? And 100 Other Questions as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This entertaining and informative book explores the world of architecture through a series of 101 questions and answers that cover a wide range of issues on its practice and theory. There are historical questions, such as "Who was the first architect?" and "Are all churches architecture?" as well as ones that relate to contemporary activity, such as "Have computers changed architecture?" and "How small can a home get?." There are also many that are intriguing and irreverent, such as "Why do architects want to paint the world white?" and "Is Dubai a city?". For each of the questions there is…


Book cover of Architecture: An Introduction

Stephanie Travis Author Of Sketching for Architecture + Interior Design: A Practical Guide on Sketching for Architecture and Interior Design Students

From my list on introducing architecture and interior design to everyone.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a design-obsessed George Washington University (Washington, DC) professor, author, architect, interior designer, sketcher, modernist, city lover, traveler, and University of Michigan alumni who writes about topics on architecture and interior design for people of all ages and backgrounds. Everyone lives in the built environment, but not everyone understands it. For example, sketching is one of the best ways to understand a piece of furniture, interior, or building. You will never see the object the same way after you draw it! All of the books on this list are approachable, interesting, fun, and most importantly inspiring. Enjoy!

Stephanie's book list on introducing architecture and interior design to everyone

Stephanie Travis Why did Stephanie love this book?

This is one of the best introductions to architecture out there. It talks about buildings and the profession, and introduces users to key ideas and concepts in architecture history and theory. It’s an overall primer for anyone interested in discipline. Oh, and it’s a beautiful book, too, with stunning examples of projects that will hook any novice on the architecture field at large.

By Geoffrey Makstutis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book offers a thorough introduction to the entire field of architecture, outlining the steps that are normally taken in becoming a qualified architect, from initial education right through to professional practice, as well as how to apply this architectural training in other fields.

Complete with feature spreads on individual projects, Architecture: An Introduction's broad, up-to-date approach unites history, theory and practice. Subjects covered include how to develop a brief with a client; taking an idea from brief to project; types of visual presentation including drawings, models and computer renderings; project planning and management; the diverse roles within a company;…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in interior design, architecture, and perception?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about interior design, architecture, and perception.

Interior Design Explore 32 books about interior design
Architecture Explore 82 books about architecture
Perception Explore 31 books about perception