do you also like to read books about perfumes?
Filed under Flowers
Yes, I have quite a few books about perfumes and in fact just purchased two new ones (or at least new to me): “Cult Perfumes” and “Scent & Subversion”.
Scent and Subversion I am really enjoying: tell me about the other one, please!
OOOOOH! I received “Cult Perfumes” for Christmas. I’d be interested to see how filomena finds it. I really like it – as a relative newbie to the niche/boutique perfume world, this was a great primer for me. It features names such as Amouage, Annick Goutal, Creed, Diptique, Ormonde Jayne, Serge Lutens, Jo Malone, Carthusia and has a small chapter on each telling about their history and naming some of their perfumes. Pictures are glorious. There’s also mini bios from several people in the business.
Ginza, I love you for your shamelessness, so, uh, what about your actual toilet? I am told that toilets in Japan have an array of functions, all neatly diagrammed, that bewilder and beguile the visiting Yankee.
Sadly we don’t have one of those: the full wash and blow-dry numbers. I want one, but they are so expensive, and D doesn’t think that design-wise it would go with our strange multicultural blood-red kitsch.
(and yes, they are (wonderfully) bewildering)
As my interests in perfumery have grown, I’ve gotten into reading about scents (which is how I came upon your blog). I am always impressed and enthused by your literary sensibilities, so when I saw Ackerman’s “Natural History” I felt moved to comment. I love it when people have good taste in literature (something your bookshelves clearly indicate). think that book is absolutely fantastic and am glad that there’s someone else who appreciates it as well!
I just wrote a really long reply to this but messed it up, sorry, pressing, as I always do, the wrong f….n button. . All about literature and writing and all the rest of it. How frustrating.
You are right about Ackerman, though, and thanks for the compliment.
I think the more ‘literary’ books are upstairs, but I agree that Ackerman’s book is extremely original and beautiful.
These days to be honest I prefer writing to reading, and films to both, in some ways, but there are, definitely, times when you just have to sit, or lie, down somewhere, close yourself off from the ever increasing incessant bullshit, and just open a book.
There was a time when post-university in London it was like a nightmare, with pretentious people pressuring to know what ‘you have read’ and what films ‘you have seen’, and I felt, at that time, that there were so many books that you were meant to have read in order to appear ‘well read’, so many films to have seen to be a ‘film buff’, and if I were a theatre person ( I am not, I despise it ) to also be a convincing theatre buff that there was no possible time to be able to do it all.
To be honest, that was half the reason I ‘escaped’ to Japan, to get away from all these insecure, shallow arseholes who measured their worth by how many books they had read, and what recommended, critically acclaimed films they had seen. It became almost like a bragging post, and I could always see through it – god I how I hated my twenties!
Now, Duncan picks up most of the books, and I just select one once in a while when I am in reading mode. The novelists/writers I have enjoyed most in recent times are Edith Wharton, Margaret Atwood, and J Sebald.
Agree wholeheartedly to the enjoyment of Wharton….
Essence and Alchemy…read by me at least ten times.
and agree with Nina that their needs to be a Mr. Chapman perfume book
Yes I do and your toilet is so full of interesting little things I forget why I am there…..
Feel free to drop by again…
Best Bathroom Ever!!!!
Actually, the dingy old seventies house is a bit of a shithole, but we did our best….
I love seeing where other people transform. I was looking for Patrick Suskind and the other Chandler Burr book on the shelves, and where do you keep your perfumes? I’ll swoon if you tell me there’s a proper vitrine.
The other Burr book is upstairs, and your Morrissey is right in the middle of the perfume.
there is no vitrine.
How fabulous! I’d never leave. :-) I’ve read a few (very few) perfume books. There are a couple I’d like to get my hands on, Roja Dove’s for one. So many books I’d like to read, and so little quiet time! I can’t concentrate with *things* going on around me.
I know the feeling, especially at the moment.
Roja Dove’s book strikes me as a bit ‘fancy’. I reckon you would enjoy Scent And Subversion.
I’ve read Scent and Subversion. What I enjoyed most about it were the old illustrations/ads and the social commentary bites on those. I have Diane Ackerman’s book on my kindle but I haven’t started it yet.
Oops sorry yes I remember you told me that already. Forgive my sieve like brain – it’s been a rather tough seven weeks.
I love your loo! There’s something wonderful about photos of books too. You have a fine selection here. I haven’t read any histories of perfume – your blog is as far as I get on reading round the subject – but it’s such a fascinating area. I know there’ll be a Neil Chapman Perfume Book on some bog shelves before too long and it’ll be well worth the long sit!
BTw – just noticing you’ve a copy of the Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopedia! I love that book!
so do I.
VERY erotic as well, especially for Duncan….
ps. FANTASTIC that you met up with Dominique. Need to hear about it more.
Oh and I do so adore your elephant incense holder…the same type of incense that came my way last year?
It is: just my local inexpensive one, but I do always like it. The elephant holder is a mishmash: a Japanese dish and a little thing from Malaysia that one of my students gave me.
I wrote a really clever reply and then stupidly lost it by attempting to access another page in my bookmarks. Getting a glimpse into your toilet room is really charming (seriously). The little curios you’ve collected are fascinating to me. The book shelves are nicely stocked – I’m impressed. How do you manage to leave your toilet in a timely fashion? When I’m in my bathroom, all I ever notice is the need for dusting and cleaning, and I leave as soon as possible in order to avoid tidying up.
One book that I am very curious to read is Scent & Subversion. The author wrote an article a few years ago about vintage fragrances and upon reading it, I was convinced that I should pursue vintage perfume.
The most recent book that I’ve read is The Perfume Lover. It was O.K., but I was thoroughly tired of all the references to the author’s breasts by the end of it. I suppose I’m just jealous.
God I love your blog. I was living in Japan for many years up until a year ago. I discovered perfume in Japan, at the Mens Hankyu Department store in Yurakucho, at the Tom Ford counter. One whif of Tuscan Leather and there was no turning back. Then, like you, I discovered vintage perfumes in thrift stores(my prized possession being an unopened bottle of Sheherazade by Jean Desprez). I miss Japan desperately sometimes. But so many things got to me after a while. For example, student evaluations. I was also a teacher. I questioned why students would give me 3s and 4s on the end-of-term evaluation forms, yet say they loved my class. My Japanese supervisor told me most Japanese people will never give a top on paper because it might make THEM seem too emotional, too unrestrained. And this could possible make THEM look bad. Lord have mercy. The fear of what others (strangers!) MIGHT think….oh, it drove me mad. (Dont get me started on why Japanese people cover their books). So I got a permanente visa for Brazil to be with my partner and I spray away to my hearts content in Sao Paulo and have discovered that leather scents work so well in this dirty city and I keep all my perfumes out in my bathroom and invite everyone to spray away..but oh, how I miss LIVING (not working) in Japan sometimes….glad my Japanese working visa is still valid until 2016….just in case. Anyway, thanks for being so revealing. You would do well here.
How strange. Brazil was actually where I was going – I had always wanted to go there – but then changed
plans and did the polar opposite: came to Japan.
I share all your frustrations, but I think that I myself am so over the top, unrestrained in my emotional expressions that I almost need the ferocious anality of Japan as a corrective. I lived in Italy, and it was just like being with myself. After a year I was bored and irritated with all the issimo issimos, but as you say, all the convoluted, contorted repressions of feeling here can drive a man INSANE.
I wonder what’s wrong with just living in our own countries?!
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