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Friday, November 30, 2007

Perfume Review: CB I Hate Perfume In The Library and Demeter Paperback...plus a small prize draw and a short poll

Today I salute my fellow bookworms. In search of a perfume that would smell like a just-printed-just-received-from-amazon tome (a little acid, crisp, almost clean in a way), like an old, old book found in an antique bookstore (dump and a little incensey) or as an library in general, preferably The Bodleian Library in particular (a little musty, a little dusty, a little leathery, old-worldly, fairly stuffy and strangely comforting), I tried Demeter's Paperback and Christopher Brosius's In The Library. Neither turned out to be what I wanted, although both were delightful and wearable.

Demeter promises that Paperback would smell like "a dusty old copy of a Barbara Pym novel... sweet and just a touch musty". Brosius promises that In The Library would blend the smell of a Signed First Edition of one of his "very favorite novels, Russian & Moroccan leather bindings, worn cloth and a hint of wood polish". Given both lines' ability to conjure up very true-to-life fragrances, it is surprising that Paperback and In The Library don't really deliver. Both smell "sweet and just a touch musty", and if I try really hard, I do get a hint of leather in In The Library, but neither scent makes me think of books, old or new, or libraries. Truth to be told, the scents are also strikingly similar, which, taking into account the fact that Brosius probably created Paperback in the first place (?), is not that surprising. Like I said, there is a sharper, drier accord, with subtle smoky feel, in In The Library, but it is very delicate, and the rest of the scent is practically identical to the softly-cedarwoody, slightly ambery composition of Paperback. Both also make me think of LesNez's Let Me Play the Lion, without the piquancy of the latter.

And so the search for a new/old book and/or library-like perfume continues. Have you found one? Do tell. And if you would like to try Paperback and In The Library, say so in your comment and your name will be entered into the draw. The randomly chosen winner will receive samples of both along with a sample of The Pink Room's newest release, Pour Toi (which, as you will find out if you read their copy, was actually in a way inspired by a writer and a fictional heroine), the four new Frapins and Domenico Caraceni 1913.

Also how about a short poll?

-What book read in the last couple of months or maybe in whole 2007 left the most lasting, the strongest impression on you?
-What was the last book you read?
-What book do you most want to read?
-Favorite book of all time?

Have a great week, everybody!

Photo by Ellen Von Unwerth

78 Comments:

Blogger Kelley said...

The book that left the strongest impression on me recently would have to be "Lady Chatterley's Lover". It was steamy and shocking and romantic (did I say shocking?!). It's especially interesting knowing that it was written in 1928 and banned in England until 1960!

Last book that I read was "The Good Husband of Zebra Drive" by Alexander McCall Smith. I love Mma Ramotswe and the messes she gets into.

The book I really want to read is the new translation of "War and Peace" by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. Their "Anna Karenina" was breathtaking!

What is my favorite book of all time? That is very difficult. Maybe it is "The Lord of the Rings" or maybe "Mists of Avalon", no, probably "The Quincunx". As I get older, I find that I can re-read a book over and over and it's always fresh and new again (I guess my mind is going!).

10:15 PM EST  
Blogger ReneeM said...

I adore reading, and I have a book with me at all times. God forbid I get stuck at a traffic light without a book! I don't think I have a scent that is bookish or libraryish, but my biggest time for reading is at night in my bed, and it seems I like to wear my comforting scents while reading. Tonight I have on Tea For Two, but I usually wear a nice floral like Vera Wang or sometimes Rose Poiveé (not a nice floral I know). Musk too. Ok...I guess I DON'T have a specific scent while reading. I need one!

Poll: I can't remember all of the questions but....I re-read Anne of Green Gables a few months ago, which inspired me to go out and purchase the sequels which I had NEVER read. Anne of Green Gables is a favorite and always moves me when I read it. Nostalgic over lost simpler and innocent days I guess. There is no way I can pick an all-time favorite book as I love so many. One that stands out is Tears of the Moon, about pearl diving. I thought that was moving. I guess if I had to pick all time favorite books it would have to be Nancy Drew series. They are what started me on devouring books way back when.

Please enter me in the drawing!

10:20 PM EST  
Anonymous annE said...

I've never been to the Bodleian (did I get that spelling right?), but Laurie King has great descriptions of it in some of her novels, and it sounds like my kind of place.
I've always had a soft spot for the library I went to sometimes in my hometown during middle and high school. It was this huge old Victorian pile of brownstone, and the children's & "young adult" room was a large part of the second story. Everything was big - the windows, the old leather chairs, the fireplace - and I used to escape up there with Tolkien and Heinlein. Well, I've outgrown Heinlein, but I would love a perfume that could take me back to that space!

Let's see...

What book read in the last couple of months or maybe in whole 2007 left the most lasting, the strongest impression on you?
"Water for Elephants" by Lisa Gruen

-What was the last book you read?
"Summer" by Edith Wharton

-What book do you most want to read?
I'd like to finish "Meurtre chez tante Lêonie" which I started trying to read a few months ago.

-Favorite book of all time?
Well, I can't really name one favorite, but can I say instead, the book that I'd happily re-read periodically until the day I die?
"Pride and Prejudice"

Have a great weekend!

10:52 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I think the latest Armistead Maupin novel was the best thing I read in 2007, and attention whore that I am I will link to my own blog to let you find out why.

The last book I read was some forgettable mystery that was like one of those movies that you can't remember the minute you get to your car.

There's a new book about Tony Duquette that I am looking forward to getting gander at, but I don't know if that is reading,,

Favorite book of all time? Series of books by E. F. Benson; the Lucia novels. Six volumes (and follow-ups by other novelists) that are absolutely priceless. Seek them out, as well as the brilliant TV version available on DVD. Read it. Netflix it. Love it.

12:52 AM EST  
Blogger Erin said...

What a great post and poll! I love Barbara Pym (but Let Me Play the Lion not so much, so I'll have to keep looking for a Pym-smelling scent...)

Have been reading a really weird amount of non-fiction, so my 2007 pick would probably be "The White Man's Burden: Why the West's efforts to aid the Rest have done so much ill and so little good".

I just finished Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Namesake" for a book club.

The book I most want to read is Luca and Tania's scent guide, of course.

And my favourites - too hard to narrow down, so top 5: "Mating" by Norman Rush, "The House of Mirth" by Edith Wharton, "The World As I Found it" by Bruce Duffy, "Birds of America" by Lorrie Moore and, um, er, "Empire of the Sun" by JG Ballard. Dear heavens, it's hard to get it to five!

1:21 AM EST  
Anonymous lady jane grey said...

I'm madly in love with Farnesiana right now, have no nose for other perfumes at the moment...

I just finished Lionel Shrivers's "We Need to Talk about Kevin", one strangely haunting book, which I can't get out of my head. I'll have to give it to one of my friends - in order to be able to discuss it with somebody. After that one I needed something soothingly spiritual "The Secret Life of the Dalai Lamas" from Alexander Norman. I'd love to read Irvine Welsh's "Train spotting" (just if my soul would be too soothed and badly in a need for some shock again...). My list of "best of" : Camus "The Plague"; A.A.Milne "Winnie the Pooh"; G.G. Marquez "One Hundred Years of Solitude"; Virginia Woolf "Orlando"; Salinger "The Catcher in the Rye". Now it looks that I stopped reading books in my early twenties so I add some which came later on : Rick Moody "Ice Storm", Isabel Hilton "The Search for the Panchen Lama", Siri Hustvedt "What I Loved"

Have a lovely weekend everybody !

2:28 AM EST  
Blogger dinazad said...

I've only tried "Paperback" which doesn't smell of books, but does smell, at least to me, of Sunday afternoon still in pyjamas and warm socks, with a cozy blanket, a nice CD playing, a cup of hot chocolate or tea and a stack of books. Rain, sleet or snow outside are optional. So, all in all, I wasn't THAT disappointed with it.

I was recently impressed by Alice Sebold's "The Lovely Bones", a both tragic and funny view of one of the most terrible subject matters ever, done with incredible insight and understanding.

The book I last read and am still reading and want to read (or rather : to finish reading) is Charles Maturins "Melmoth the Wanderer". Hard going. 1000 pages or thereabouts, and by page 150 you have patricide, shipwreck, demonic protagonists, death, inheritance, children out of wedlock, boys forced to become monks, plague, unexplained, tragic deaths galore, at least two people reduced to insanity, monks beaten to death. By page 300 you can add fratricide, murder, escape from the monastry, more demonic doings and the Holy Inquisition. I need a sweet, fluffy novelette about clothes and make-up (or maybe some witty and cocktail-laden Thorne Smith book) about every 100 pages or so to gather strength to continue. Still, it's compelling, and since Melmoth was a book which (along with Tristram Shandy) strongly influenced the Russian Dandy movement, I do want to finish it.

And there's the book I really want to read: Tristram Shandy.

Favourite book of all time? One? Oh , please! Vercors, "Le Silence de la Mer". Helene Hanff, "84, Charing Cross Road". Jane Austen,"Pride and Prejudice". A.S. Byatt, "Possession". And so on and so forth - I try to streamline my library every month or so and generally wind up reading a book I'd forgotten, buying something new by the same author and, if I'm lucky, finding some slim little brochure I can bring to the second-hand bookshop (where, undoubtedly, I'd find a whole new series of intriguing books). Even streamlining the perfume collection is easier (not much).

Would love to be in the drawing!

(blogger's reference word is ohxcsss. How fitting is that!?)

4:11 AM EST  
Blogger shifts said...

-What book read in the last couple of months or maybe in whole 2007 left the most lasting, the strongest impression on you?

La Sombra Del Viento/ the Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Amazingly good story!


-What was the last book you read?

Michail Bulgakov - The Master and Margarita. Still reading it actually, and have enjoyed it a lot so far.

-What book do you most want to read?

Pretty please, one awesome handbook on typography would be nice.

-Favorite book of all time?

Oh that one is easy. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. Read to me by my father when I was about 9 or 10. Amazing. The perfect book.

Please add me to the poll!

5:14 AM EST  
Blogger Haus von Stone said...

Nice topic! Please enter me in the drawing...

*Strongest impression: "Murder in Amsterdam" by Ian Buruma, read while living in Amsterdam. An excellent look at issues and tensions in the Netherlands around the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh. Powerful and excellently written - a page turner.

*Last book: "The Secret River" by Kate Grenville. A bit grim but intriguing look at life for the "settlers" of Australia (British convicts) and their relationships with the native Australians. Book group choice. Didn't love it.

*Most want to read: "Berlin Noir" by Philip Kerr - a collection of 3 Raymond Chandler-style detective novels set in 1930's Berlin (my home).

*Fave of all time: Gee that's hard. "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine Engle. "The Emperor of Scent" by you-know-who. "The Crying of Lot 49" by Thomas Pynchon. and "The Long-Winded Lady" a collection of New Yorker columns by Maeve Brennan. Whee!

6:30 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Oh, I love/hate these lists. I love reading others, but I never really can decide on mine (except for the last book).

Starting with the easy one: the last book I read was Atonement (after everyone else), and it was very good so I will pick it for strongest recent impression as well.

Book I really want to read when I have the time: Clarissa, by Richardson (I feel lacking not having read this, but it's soooooo long). I also need to read Mating, I guess (another book everyone here but me has read). And since I love Armistead Maupin (loved reading Tales of the City when it appeared in the SF Chronicle, which shows you how old I am:), I must read his new book, too (thanks for reminding me, Tom).

Favorite book: Now this is the really impossible one. I have many, depending on my mood. Today, I will pick Middlemarch (George Eliot), which was the subject of my undergrad. thesis and to which I remain very attached.

7:52 AM EST  
Blogger Aimee said...

Hi there,
I love your blog! And I would also love to hear about perfumes that smell like old books. You know, Miller Harris's L'air de rien isn't far off from an old bookshop smell, I'd say.

The book that left the greatest impression on me the past year was Austen's Persuasion, and that's also the latest book I've read. The next book I want to read is Gaskell's Wives and Daughters, I think.... And my favorite book of all time is so difficult -- it's probably a three-way tie: Moby Dick, Pride and Prejudice, and Dubliners.

8:54 AM EST  
Anonymous Sivia said...

The photo you have chosen is (as usual) so fitting, hehehehe !
Must re-sniff Let me Play the Lion with your comment in mind.

Now to our beloved books:

1. For lasting impression / disturbing books of 2007 I second Lady Jane Grey on Lionel Shriver's "We need to talk about Kevin" (more for the non wanting to have kids bit than for the gore)and add Zoe Heller's "Notes on a scandal" (must be a perv).

2. Last book: Fred Vargas "The 3 Evangelists" (great French crime fiction).

3. Most wanted: Gregory David Robert's "Shantaram" (I need to take a looong holiday for that one)

4. Best ever: impossible to say. A book I have read over and over again is "Nine Stories" by J.D. Salinger. I always find a different angle in one of the stories.

9:00 AM EST  
Anonymous cinny said...

biggest impression: A Sunday in the Park in Kigali -- beautifully rendered depiction of hell.

last book: Riversmeet (Richard Bradbury) -- on Frederick Douglass.

want to read next: the new Michael Ondaatje.

fave of all time: In the Skin of a Lion, Michael Ondaatje.

9:18 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Kelley,
Aww, TLOFTR! You are my fellow nerd! :-)

9:26 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Renee,
I am the ame way. The other day I finished my book on the way to work. Coming back from work, I didn't know what to do with myself :-)
You are in the draw.

9:27 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

A,
But you didn't outgrow Tolkine? :-) Me neither.

9:28 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Tom,
Would you believe I've not read anything by E. F. Benson? Oy!

9:28 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Erin,
I can't wait to read the Guide too!

9:29 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Melinda,
I love that you love Camus :-)

9:30 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Dinazad,
Possession went to the top of my favorite books list a couple of pages into it. Amazing.
You are in the draw.

9:32 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Shifts,
the Shadow of the Wind - such an evocative name. I must read this.
You are in the draw.

9:33 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

S,
I bet you, my husband would love "Berlin Noir". One Xmas present sorted then.

9:34 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

J,
I haven't read Atonement yet, believe it or not. Now that I've seen who plays whom in the movie, I don't think I want to :-(

9:35 AM EST  
Anonymous denise l. said...

Best of 2007: Portrait of a Lady. Beautiful, heartbreaking, I've been returning to it regularly.

Last book I read: The Lover by Marguerite Duras.

Most want to read: The Golden Compass, before I see the movie. I loved Pullman's Ruby series as a child, and I can't believe I missed this one.

Favorite book of all time: hard to decide, but I must say Pride and Prejudice, since my paperback version eventually fell apart!

I would like to be entered in the drawing, please!

9:35 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Aimee,
Thank you!
I agree about L'Air de Rien. I forgot about it!

9:35 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Sivia,
"The 3 Evangelists" sounds like something I'd love!

9:36 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Cinny,
A Sunday in the Park in Kigali sounds intriguing.

9:37 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Denise,
I want to read AND watch The Golden Compass :-)

9:37 AM EST  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

Best book of 2007: Alex Espinoza's "Still Water Saints," about a largely Latino community living on the fringes of Los Angeles. Each character's story is told through one chapter of the novel, so the chapters can be read separately like short stories, but they are linked together by the fact that the characters are all customers of one Perla Portillo, the owner of the town's botanica shop, who sells them charms, herbs, love potions, and religious totems, and who listens to their stories of love and loss.

Last book I read: "Lolita"

Favorite book of all time: "Cider House Rules" by John Irving. Or Charles Frazier's "Cold Mountain."

9:54 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Suzanne,
I want to read Still Water Saints!

9:59 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Agree w/ you about CB's Library and Demeter's Paperback - neither reminded me particularly of books or libraries. :-( CB apparently used headspace technology to capture the scent of a book he had...obviously not similar to one I've ever smelled.
Strongest impression recently? I'd have to say Rory Stewart's The Places in Between and Alaa Al Aswany's The Yacoubian Building. Both brilliant and I'm completely in love w/ Rory Stewart.
Last book I finished was Peter Hoeg's The Quiet Girl - bizarre, but still a good read.
Most want to read Noel Coward's Letters and Natalie Danford's Inheritance.
Favorite of all time? Slapping my hands back from typing in a list of a hundred. Will go w/ what is always my first thought w/ this question - Master and Margarita.

10:15 AM EST  
Anonymous j said...

Oh Boy, my favorite subject:

The latest book is the relentlessly suspenseful New England White by Stephen L Carter. The strongest impression is the 1972 Pulitzer Prize winner Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. Most want to read in the future.. Chandler Burr's new book The Pefect Scent that I have on preorder at Amazon. My favorite, the beautifully elegant and magic Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.
I also read at night when the house gets quiet and peaceful and I put on my comfort scent -Musc Ravageur.
My two obsessions books and perfume... can't ever have enough of either.
Thank you for entering me in the drawing - am enjoying all your posts today!!

10:18 AM EST  
Anonymous Divalano said...

My job used to be near the library & for a long time I was able to gobble 2 books a week. Alas, we moved 3 yrs ago & somehow I got busier & my reading habits shifted. This yr has been a bad one for good books.
- Strongest impression: American Gods, Neil Gaiman because it's so vivid & engaging. And fun. But I've also been gobbling up Sue Grafton mysteries, also because they're fun & well crafted. And a couple of memoirs have really struck me, too: Molly O'Neil's Mostly True & Anthony Bourdain's A Cook's Tour.
- Last book read; Possible Side Effects, Augusten Burrows. Currently reading, Carried Away, Alice Munro
- Dunno what I want to read next. I have a couple of Neil Gaiman's here waiting for ages for me to pick them up, and my stepmom just lent me The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. Maybe those?
- All time favorite would be impossible to say. I've gone back many times over the years to Dorothy Allison's Two or Three Things I Know For Sure. It always moves me. And I love love love Luc Sante's Low Life so much that when my copy disappeared I bought another. So, I'll say those. Ask me next month, you may get a different answer ;)

Yes, drawing please (even tho I said cranky things about the Frapins)

11:15 AM EST  
Anonymous greeneyes said...

M,
I love polls!

I don't thin you asked this, but L'Air de Rien is probably the most book store type fragrance I can think of...and also Etro Heliotrope for some reason, but I know you do not fancy heliotrope! ;)

Book that left an impression: The Journey by Antonia Fraser (not just an interesting story of Marie Antoinette, but really of civilization)...and also A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel (one of the best voices; clear, pure writing)

Last book read: Run, by Ann Patchett

Book I most want to read: Conversations with Woody Allen and The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perotta

Favorite Book: I can't pick just one...
Nostalgic favorite: Franny and Zooey
Books I return to again and again: The Bright Forever by Lee Martin, Two Girls Fat and Thin by Mary Gaitskill, anything by Flannery O'Connor, Alice Munro, or Lorrie Moore...I am an obsessive re-reader!
Funniest: Genius, by Patrick Dennis
I know I've left something off!

11:17 AM EST  
Blogger IrisLA said...

...the strongest impression on you?
Geography of Thought by Richard Nisbett. It's about the different cognitive styles between Asians and Westerners.

What was the last book you read?
Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. A science writer examines the research on nutrition and diet.

What book do you most want to read?
Serious-A heavyweight history book like Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. Fun-The newest Michael Connolly book.

Favorite book of all time?
Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davis.

12:12 PM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Because of KK? If it's any comfort, her character is much less important than, first of all, the young girl (who grows up in the course of the thing), played by actresses I don't know, and, second of all, the man (MacAvoy?). In any event, none of those actors is in the novel, so you should read it anyway (certainly before you see the movie, if you do). I am myself having a difficult time believing that the movie is as good as the book, because there are important aspects of the latter that are distinctly literary, but Lee, while having the same doubts before he saw the movie, ended up loving it, so I will certainly give it a chance. Read the book sometime, in any case.:)

12:22 PM EST  
Anonymous JenniferR said...

Oh, I so love these posts!
Among other things, I'm reminded by others of things that I love and have forgotten and must read again, and also of things that have fallen off my to-read list and must return, promptly!
In the interest of returning the favor, I'll try to keep to things other folks haven't mentioned. And I'll confine myself (mostly) to fiction. I read more non-fiction, but it's sufficiently obscure to be of relatively little general interest.
Strongest impression, recently read: Hard to say, but I'll pick Tango: The Art History of Love, by Robert Farris Thompson. (I must add that the impression was not much favorable, but the book gave me plenty to think about, of a sort that I doubt Thompson intended ;)).
The last book I read: I wanted to put Atonement, which is the last book that I finished, but I'll include Summer Will Show, by Sylvia Townsend Warner, which I'm currently reading.
Book I most want to read: toss-up right now between Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Weight by Jeanette Winterson, Hugh Johnson's wine memoir, and (hangs head in shame) anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Jorge Luis Borges.
Favorite book of all time: so very very hard. But I shall give to readers of the blog the two books by Jeanette Winterson that I most adore, Art and Lies, and The Passion. Winterson thinks much too highly of herself, but I'll forgive her anything for the intoxicating delights of her deep obsession with the English language. Sigh.
Oh, and please enter me in the draw! Although I think I'll go try all of these (including L'air de rien) anyway. Even getting close to smelling like books and libraries is a little bit of heaven. So far the closest I've gotten is SMN's Nostalgia. I know, that's not what it's supposed to evoke. But by the time it gets to the drydown on my skin, it's the softest comfiest whiff of leather and incense you could imagine. More sigh!

12:25 PM EST  
Blogger Noy said...

Ooh, such a fun topic.

Lasting impression: Going Sane, by Adam Phillips. A fascinating examination of the concept of mental health and the examined life.

-What was the last book you read?
Um, the last Harry Potter, which I read in maybe eight hours. Devoured it whole.

-What book do you most want to read?
I wish I could upload my Norton Anthology of Criticism directly into my brain, instead of working my way through it so slowly. But for kicks, maybe Master and Margarita. The whole Tale of Genji. Something large and delicious.

-Favorite book of all time?
Super tough. Loved Endo Shusaku's Silence. I regularly go on a tear and read all of an author's work -- Joyce, Kafka. Just started The Rebel and enjoying it quite a lot. So enjoyed Going Sane and am now working through the rest of Phillips' work...

12:26 PM EST  
Anonymous JenniferR said...

Sorry, must correct my previous post. The two Jeanette Winterson books that I love most are Art and Lies (got that one right), and Written on the Body. The Passion is lovely, too, but not quite up there for me.

12:28 PM EST  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

For some reason, LV Patchouli reminds me of the stacks of a number of college libraries I visited as a youngster.

Now for my list!

Books that left an impression: Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth Hardwick, The Master by Colm Toibin

Last book read: Burr by Gore Vidal

Book I most want to read: Don Quixote

Favorite Book: Essais, Montaigne

1:08 PM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Most lasting impression on you? Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard.

Last book -- Chandler Burr's new thing.

Most want to read: want to finally finish In Search of Lost Time.
Stuck in vol. 5 at the moment.

Can't pick a favorite, but the ones I re-read most often are P&P by Jane Austen, Collected Stories of Eudora Welty & Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. And everything by Wodehouse. And everything by Trollope. Ok, I'll stop.

1:11 PM EST  
Blogger Patty said...

In the Library I totally don't get, one of the few CBs that do absolutely nothing for me or I can't smell, not sure which.

Books, last one I read was Atonement, which was just excellent.

Want to read, yikes, anything. I have short attention span these days and for the last couple of years.

Favorite of all time is really hard. Gone with the Wind for sheer escapist entertainment. 100 Days of Solitude for beautiful, aching melancholy. Angle of Repose for capturing beautifully what it is to come to a place of rest in your life.

Let's see. The early books of Richard Russo. He's very entertaining now, but his first couple of books were pretty profound on capturing the broken human condition.

George R.R. Martin's whole series for just detail and depth and breadth of what a great yarn can be

1:26 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, please enter me in the drawing!

Does not Paul Smith's Story have a bookish air as well?

For the poll:
*Strongest impression: This is a tie between The Portable Jung (it depathologized me, and helped me realize I wanted to become an analyst) and Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, which made many things fall into place for me.

*Last book: The Complete Walker IV ( a compendium of useful information about backpacking that is very witty and well-written)

*Most want to read: I'm working my way through The Collected Works of C.G. Jung , and I would like to complete that in the next few years.

*Fave of all time: The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton.

-Existentialist

2:20 PM EST  
Anonymous sweetlife said...

Oh, dear. Such important questions! I had to go get a snack before I could read all the responses, let alone write one of my own...

Before I forget -- please put me in the draw!

Now down to business. Biggest impression of 2007 -- hands down and forever, Anna Karenina. How stupid I was to wait so long to read it. Never think you know about a book before you try it!

Last book read, "Yo!" by Julia Alvarez. I had it in my bag to take to the used bookstore and couldn't remember why I wanted to give it away. Now I do. (But I did finish it all over again...)

Book I want to read/am trying to read - War and Peace. Maybe I'll try the new translation...or get a map of old Europe.

Favorite Book(s): An impossible question. I had my sense of what was possible as a writer split open by Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon--stole it off a roommate's shelf and stayed up all night to finish it. Was totally clueless (and 18) when I started reading it--I thought TM was a man!

My life and my understanding of who I am would be much, much, poorer without Grace Paley's short stories. That woman knew how to look life straight in the eye without flinching, and without ever giving in to despair.

Likewise, M.F.K. Fisher, all of it, but particularly the essays collected in The Gastronomical Me. Terrible title, but there's not another word out of place in the whole book.

I'll stop before I go on for hours... So enjoyed reading everyone's recs!

P.S. So pleased to see Stillwater Saints getting some love--Alex Espinoza is a lovely, lovely person and entirely deserving of his hard won success. And its a delightful book.

6:04 PM EST  
Anonymous Mrs. Honey said...

Probably Two Old Women, which is not a new book but I did read for the first time this year, was the most memorable. The last book I read was a mystery by Vargas that had been translated into English. I would like to read the next Sharon McCrumb novel. My favorite novel is probably Pride and Prejudice.

8:49 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

L,
Master and Margarita is my 1st thought too, always.

9:24 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

J,
Thank you! You are in the draw!

9:26 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Divalano,
I have a bit of a crush on Bourdain :-)
You are in the draw!

9:27 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

P,
I love polls too, am thinking of having one every Friday :-) And I am obsessive re-reader too. Sometimes I re-read the book as soon as I finish it the 1st time :-)

9:28 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Iris,
Geography of Thought intrigues me...

9:29 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

J,
All right, I'll give it a chance *said she grumpily* :-)

9:30 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Jennifer,
I know! I am so glad I asked the questions! When I have a day off, I'm going to sit and google and amazon (what, it can be a verb! :-) everything.

9:31 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Noy,
I still haven't read the last Potter. Nor have I read the one before that. I have a feeling I never will, somehow. I couldn't forgive Dumbledore's death :-)

9:32 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Jennifer,
My favorite Winterson book is Gut Symmetries. I think I've reread it 10 times. At least. :-)

9:35 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Vetivresse,
All patchoulis kind of do that to me. To some people patchouli is hippieish, to me, it's bookish :-)

9:36 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

R,
I've never finished that one :-) And I must be completely honest with myself: I never will finish it.

9:37 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Et tu, Patty? I guess I really should read Atonement...

9:38 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Existentialist,
Oh yeah...Story!
The Portable Jung...is it something like Jung for Dummies? because I'd love that.

9:39 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

A,
"All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Aww, makes me want to re-read it right this minute. War and Peace us a piece of cake, if you skip all the War. :-)

9:41 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Mrs Honey,
All of the ones you named are new to me, so on to my list they go! Thank you!

9:42 PM EST  
Anonymous cynthia said...

Let's see if I remember these questions. Favorite book of the year would be "Shantaram". Movie coming, but don't wait, read the book. No way will the movie be as good, even with Johnny Depp! Just finished reading "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" by Lisa See. I would recommend. The book I want to read is "Eat, Love, Pray" (I think that's right!). Favorite book...too many to list. I remember when I read "Dragonfly in Amber" many years ago loving it, and really immersing myself into that fictional world. Haven't liked the follow-ups to it as well. Classic favorites would have to be Jane Austen. I admire how they've stood the test of modern times.

Please enter me in your give away draw, if this is where I say that!
Thanks, I always enjoy your blog.

11:26 PM EST  
Anonymous Lavanya said...

Hmm.. I haven't really read anything worthwhile in the last couple of months- have been re-reading childhood favourites like Pride & Prejudice, books by L.M Montgomery (of Anne of Green Gables fame).Aah also the latest Harry Potter which I thoroughly enjoyed.(Something tells me that I have to catch up on my reading-I am doing more escapist reading nowadays-thats all I seem to have the energy for).Oh wait! i read Mandy Aftel's Essence and Alchemy this year which was fun and quite an instructive read. The last couple of books I read that actually made it to my list of favorites was Possession(over a year ago) and the half of Middlemarch that I read!

The books I most want to read (or rather finish) are Middlemarch and Brothers Karamazov.


Favorite book of all time- very difficult to pick one - unbearable lightness of being,Little Prince, The Madman,P&P,Moon and sixpence,Daddy Long legs (I could go on and on..:))
During winter I think Tam Dao might be a good 'reading' fragrance maybe layered with a jasmine fragrance(or not)

please enter me in the draw.

12:22 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

cynthia,
I wanted to read See's book for ages.
You are in the draw.

6:56 AM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Lavanya,
I know all about escapist reading. I practically invented it :-D
I loved Essence and Alchemy too. And of course Unbearable Lightness is an absolute favorite.

6:57 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! Ok, so, I'm going to sound insane here but, at one of the later stages of Terre d'Hermes, I get the smell of sticking your nose in the fold of a brand new paperback, or the sour smell of some text books. I know this is out there but this association lights up without the slightest bit of effort on my part. So what I assume is that at one very specific moment Terre d'Hermes's molecules are all in the right place to give me this impression. And to make this more interesting, others have noted this association as well.

Ok, so, favorite book I've read in the last year is "The Corrections" by Jonathan Franzen. It is a must read. FOR SURE! Everyone I know who has read it does that "gasp for breath" thing whenever it's mentioned. :)

I'd love to be entered in the drawing :)

-Anthony

2:10 PM EST  
Blogger Therese said...

Hello everyone! Could it be true that all perfume lovers are so literate?
Most recent read: Learning to Drive, a collection of essays by Katha Pollitt
Best read of the year: The Lombardy translation of the Odyssey
Best reads of all time: Well, this is of course harder. I reread all of Jane Austen every five years. The poetry of Galway Kinnell, which I reread all the time. Dylan Thomas. Pablo Neruda. Mysteries--I have so many loves.
My best intention for the new year: to read the Iliad, Lombardy translation. My immediate reads: William Boyd, Robert Wilson.

And I would be delighted to enter the draw.

3:34 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Anthony,
I want to do the gasp for breath thing too, so this is a must read for me then :)
And thank you for the tip about Terre d'Hermes!
You are in the draw.

9:10 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Therese,
Yes.Pablo Neruda. My love for ever. :-)
You are in the draw.

9:10 PM EST  
Anonymous maitreyi1978@yahoo.com said...

Enter me please.
Last book: The Ghost Stories of M. R. James.
I really want to read Gone With The Wind.
My favorite books of all time: The Lord of the Rings and The Wind in the Willows.

1:08 PM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

maitreyi1978...You have excellent taste in books!

3:55 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

maitreyi1978@yahoo.co,
Kelley is right- excellent taste!

7:48 PM EST  
Blogger muse said...

I actually think L'Artisan's Passage d'Enfer reminds me of the Bod, sitting at night in Duke Humpfrey, looking out at the Sheldonian when the rehearsal is in full swing and the ceiling murals are all lit up, on a misty, smoky december evening, thinking about heading over to the Turf afterwards to roast chestnuts and drink mulled wine, the scent of incense from the churches in the air.

8:07 PM EST  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Muse,
i want to cry.

9:18 PM EST  
Anonymous Teri said...

A great big virtual hug for thinking of doing this poll. I've busily scribbled down at least a dozen titles for my 'have to read' list.

The recent book leaving the greatest impression is "The Second Civil War" by Ronald Brownstein. It is a thoughtful and well-researched theory that as our two major political parties become ever more partisan in nature, they become less responsive to, and less able to govern, a population that is largely centrist.

Last book I read was "The Millionaires" by Brad Metzer. Not great literature, but a great commuter train read Think a grown-up Hardy Boys novel.

The book I most want to read right now is "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini, because I so very much enjoyed the prior novel "The Kite Runner".

Favorite book. I'm not sure that is even possible to single out just one. One favorite of mine that hasn't yet been mentioned is "The Source" by James Michener.

11:47 AM EST  
Blogger Solander said...

I completely agree with you, I've tried both scents and Brosius' idea of a book clearly doesn't correspond to mine! I think they smell more mushroomy. A bit similar to the downright bad smell of certain well-used library books, perhaps...

1. Different books for different reasons, but I think it must be "Hard Road, Easy Riding. Lesbian Biker Erotica" despite the diverse quality of the stories...

2. Ann Bannon's "Beebo Brinker", a real lesbian pulp fiction novel and surprisingly good (I thought they would be more plainly thrashy)

3. A yet to be released lesbian pirate novel in the pulp fiction tradition, among the upcoming books at Sweden's only queer press.

4. Oh dear, one? If I have to pick one it'll have to be "Missne och Robin" by Inger Edelfeldt, an illustrated children's book which made a huge impression on me when I was twelve-ish (and later when I reread it too). It's about a girl who wishes she was Robin Hood and meets this really seductive, but also comical and mischievous and grumpy, androgynous elf who tries to drown her despite liking her because it's his/her "instinct". It's magical. I bloody well wished to be drowned by him/her!

8:51 PM EST  
Blogger Janet said...

There's a scent from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab called The Lurid Library, which smells like dusty parchment and old books. I quite like it!

As to your questions:

- That, of course, would be the last Harry Potter book :-)
- I just finished Wonderful Tonight by Pattie Boyd
- I'm looking forward to reading The Good Fairies of New York by Martin Millar
- The Hobbit :-)

10:27 AM EST  
Blogger Janet said...

Oh, and I forgot to say, I'd like to try Paperback and In The Library :-)

10:35 AM EST  
Anonymous Portland Kait said...

I think my answer has to be the same to every question. War and Peace.
Now some might call this daunting but it this book is too gorgeous to be denied! The version I read was an abridged 696 page translation from 1949 by Princess Alexandra Kropotkin.

Now there is a version out by husband and wife team, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky that is suposed to surpass all translations that have come out. I now have to go read it!
The weather being horrible is perfect to snuggle in for this kind of treat.

You can't cheat with War and Peace. These shorter versions that are translated cut out so much sweeping, beautiful poetic detail.
Speaking of perfume. By page 2 they already bring it up!..
"He spoke in that elegant French in which Russians formerly not only talked but also thought. He went up to Anna Pavlovna, kissed her hand, bending down to it his perfumed and polished bald head, and then he seated himself comfortably on the divan."



Happy holidays!
Portland Kait
I am going to stop at the Perfume House first.

3:57 PM EST  

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