Perfume and Books? Why not.

First, some winners I’m behind on announcing.

From last week’s favorite combination post , winners of the Le Labo Benjoin, Vanille, CB Gathering Apples/Burning Leaves and Guerlain Double Vanille and Le Labo Patchouli samples –  Claudia D, Kandice and Nitasha.

From the post on Rocket Ship perfumes – melissa! (with the exclamation mark). You are going to get a variety pack of Frederic Malles since that’s what you hadn’t smelled yet.

All of you, to claim your prize, just click on the Drop us  a Note at the top or e-mail patty at perfumepossedawtcom, remind me what you’ve won, and get me your address. I’ll e-mail you back to let you know I got your e-mail (this is important, someone got stuck in my spam filter that was a winner a week ago!) and then ship you out your prize!

Not going to review a perfume or talk about perfume this week exactly or at all.  I know you perfume nuts are often book readers, so I  wanted to talk about a couple of books I’ve read recently that I’ve loved for very different reasons. Then you all can share what you have read lately that you love, so we all get some new books to try.

I’ve had two – Red Rising by Pierce Brown and The Martian by Andy Weir.  I go for long periods of time and can’t find a book that captures my interest, but these two just blew me away back to back.  Both are set on Mars, but very different settings, times, characters.

Red Rising is far in the future, when space is conquered and devolved into a caste system of colors of people.  Reds are the lowest, they work the mines of Mars and believe they are preparing Mars for terraforming.  The book starts out with a brutal memory from childhood of our protagonist, Darrow, helping to hang his father by pulling on his feet because of the gravity problem.  It clicks quickly through a sketch of what they know as Reds of the world, then it catalysts with another incident.  The story is off on a rollicking search for revenge by Darrow. I loved it, I think it’s already been optioned for a movie – and it should be – and is the first book in a trilogy.

The Martian is something else entirely.   Watney is stranded on Mars as his crewmates believe him dead and have to abort the mission during a vicious windstorm.  Watney is a botanist and a mechanical engineer. Lucky for him, he’s going to need all those skills to survive until the next mission comes back in four years.  This book is dense with chemistry and engineering, things that truly make me ready for a long nap, but Weir is a genius is pushing it along at a fast clip, only bogging down in detail enough to writer something incredibly clever and laugh out loud funny, and you keep going, relishing the Mcgyvering of Mars and his Habitation unit and Rovers Watney has to do to survive.  I know how great a book is when I’m up late reading it and busting up laughing out loud in a room by myself at 2 a.m.  It is hilarious in parts, touching, and smart.  Not sentimental or cloying, with Watney pondering his navel and the meaning of life. Mostly he’s pondering why his crewmates took such big collections of Disco music and ’70s sitcoms to Mars.

Loved both books, and now I’m off to read Grasshopper Jungle and Pillar to the Sky.  So what have you guys read lately?  None of these books have anything to do with perfume, but I do wind up wondering what perfume I’d like to have on Mars with me if I were stuck there by myself for several years.  I’m almost thinking nothing. the scent could be forever ruined for me.  I did plan on writing about perfume this week, but I’m waiting on somethings special.  And I’ll give two sets of samples for the somethings special due in this week or next to commenters draw at random on this post.  One I can’t talk about yet until it’s officially released, and the other three I just don’t have yet. Probably tomorrow.

Favorite new book?  I’m going to go back and pick up Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto – the guy who wrote True Detective for HBO.  His writing intrigues me, and I think March read that book and loved it.

  • Patty says:

    I know, perfume people love books, and I love getting recommends from them. I hope nobody feels left out, I’m just flitting through on comments where I’ve read the books mentioned or have them ready to read.

    I loved The Fault is in Our Stars, and I’m so worried about the movie. Seeing the trailer, I’m not as worried, and Shallene Woodley is so good as an actress, and not sentimental, I’m thinking it’s going to work. Gah, I’ll be most vexed if they destroy one of my favorite books of all time.

    I think Shallene is also doing Divergent – is that the first one? No, maybe it’s someone else. Another series that i liked, didn’t always love, but think it will make a better movie than a book. 🙂

    • Yeah, Shailene Woodley is doing Divergent. I read the trilogy recently. Picked up the first book on a whim at Target and got sucked in. I’m curious to see how the movie is going to be.

  • tammy says:

    I read far more than my fair share of romance novels in my youth ( Barbara Cartland and Sylvia Thorpe anyone?!) but I was raised in a pack of wolves ( 8 boys) so my taste often veers masculine.

    I just re-read all of Larry Correia’s Monster Internationals, Ben Winters’ The Last Policeman, and The Breach ( Patrick Lee, I think) The Breach is such a good read! Also read Celia Hayes’ newest, (great historical fiction about the settling of the American frontier and very well researched) and have got The Long Man by Amy Greene queued up and ready to roll. I enjoyed Bloodroot and have high hopes for this one.

    The Martian is fun! I’ve been avoiding Red Rising because it keeps getting compared to Ender’s Game, which I didn’t care for, but I’ll give it a go on your recommendation. And now I’m in the mood to read Heinlein’s Rolling Stones.

    Violets. I think I’d take my collection of violets to Mars, especially the CdG/Stephen Jones collaboration, because violets can be a little weird and I think they’d suit the overall vibe there. I’d probably also sneak in some Nuit de Noel and Joy, because they’re my comfort scents, some Jubilation 25 for all-around fabulosity, some Mitsy or Femme in case I needed to kick somebody/thing’s ass and some Hiris or Iris Nazerena for when I need to be calm, cool and collected.

    • Patty says:

      Normally I’m just in read mode due to time constraints, but had to chime in! Bloodroot I loved, I had no idea Greene had another book released, I’m off to get that one! You’ve read The Martian? It was such great entertainment for me, and I have a mix of entertaining books and heavier books that I read, reverting to something that is just pure pleasure when life is too dreary sometimes.

      I didn’t think Red rising is at all like Ender’s Game. I’m not sure why that comparison. It’s much darker in some ways and with a protagonist that isn’t as clueless, though he is smart in other ways and much, much, much more proactive about things. I don’t know how the rest of the series will play out, but I very much enjoyed this first book. A motivated, smart protagonist that was in the dark but is figuring stuff out as fast as he can assimilate.

      I’ve heard so much about the Correia Monster Internationals, haven’t read them, but now I think I must. Also need to check out The Breach. I think we have a lot of the same taste in books.

      now that I”ve finally mastered knitting while I read, my reading habits are getting a better workout. I do like books on tape, but the more ponderous books being read aloud make me really, really sleepy!

  • Maren says:

    Oo ooh! Books and perfume, two favorite subjects for this librarian here! I read a lot of teen lit for work, but try to keep up with new adult fiction too. Love classics also, but have to trade off with lighter fare. I just finished a book that I quite enjoyed that surprised me, The Outcasts by Kathleen Kent. Historical fiction western set in post Civil War Texas. Great characters, including some Texas Marshalls riding horses across the country on the trail of some BAD criminals. Seriously, didn’t know if I’d like a “western” but it’s so much more than that. Glad I took a chance based on some good reviews.

    Perfume for Mars? First thing that popped into my head, L’air du desert marocain

  • Mary K says:

    The next book I read will be one by Martha Grimes. I’m in the mood for that kind of mystery.

  • Martha says:

    Yay, books! I recently read The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell. If any of you saw the movie Winter’s Bone, or read the book, he wrote it. Also, I read Roddy Doyle’s latest, The Guts. Two of his books were made into movies – The Commitments and The Snapper. I enjoyed both though they were quite different from one another.

    Perfume on Mars? I’m stumped. I wonder how the Martian atmosphere would affect longevity and sillage?

    • Patty says:

      I have the Maid’s Version in my Kindle, and I really want to get to it. Loved Winter’s Bone, it’s so bleak and spare, which is sometimes just a glorious thing in a book. That’s why I think I liked The Martian so much. It loaded you up with chemistry and botany, but in a way that kept you giggling instead of yawning, but i didn’t add a bunch of frivolous writing. Smart writer. So was the writer on Red Rising. Spare, lean, told the story and didn’t fluff. Sometimes I get tired of fluff.

      • Martha says:

        I hope you enjoy the Woodrell novel. It has a gothic feel, like Carson McCuller’s book The Ballad of the Sad Cafe. Winter’s Bone is a movie that has stuck with me. I loved it. The book was different, and I liked it, but, wow, the movie! Visually it made a huge impact on me.

  • solanace says:

    I’m crazy about a (literally) ancient narrative of a trip to the Moon I just discovered, Lucian’s True Story. Amazing. I’d hate to leave Earth, but if I had to, I’d be wearing Shalimar.

  • Ooh, I love posts like this. Perfume people have excellent recommendations for books, and I’ve been in a dry spell. Nothing has appealed. I read voraciously, and sometimes it’s all junk. I just convinced my mom and brother to read The Fault is in Our Stars, which is lovely, sad, and funny, but I need something new. The Martian sounds perfect.

    As for a perfume to wear while on Mars, that’s a tough one. I’d probably take as many tiny decants as they’d let me and use them till they ran out. If I could only take one FB? Wow. Probably the most ginourmous bottle of No. 5 vintage extrait I could find. It would bring smells of comfort, my mom, abstract florals in an arid land. Be well!

  • eldarwen22 says:

    Last week, I finished up Jane Eyre and While Oleander (perfume references abound it White Oleander) and now I’ve started reading a book on no. 5. After that, I’ll start reading about the Bronte family and something on Mary Boleyn.

  • Aaaaaaaaaah thank you so much! I am all exclamation marks right now!!! I will email you shortly!

    I don’t know if I’m much help with this question, though. My new year’s resolution was to start Remembrance of Things Past so I am still going strong on that. That’s a great perfume book of course — so many smells! But also, you know, a little overwhelming. And then I’ve been taking breaks with whatever sci-fi or romance novels are $2 on the Amazon daily deal.

  • Irina says:

    Just finished the 4 volumes of ” Game of Thrones” and on my way to re-read Borges’ “The Book of Imaginary Beings”- dragons brought me back to it..

    • Patty says:

      Lucky you. I’m so envious of people reading all of Martin’s GoThrone books at one time, even though now you get to wait with the rest of us. I read the first one when it was originally released in hardback, and the wait between books has been really, really long. 🙂 At least the HBO series is entertaining me while I wait, though the torture of poor Reek is just about over the limit. I mean, I hated Theon, but his torture made me not hate him so much.

  • Sherri says:

    Like Dina, I am on the second book Louise Penny book (thanks to Musette & Ann). I love reading, but unfortunately fall asleep every night quickly, so it takes me a long time to finish a book. I do read with my youngest child, who is autistic, quite a bit for school.. We just finished “Out of the Dust”, a story about a young girl coming of age in Texas in the 1930’s drought and dust storms.

    • Dina C. says:

      My DD had to read that, “Out of the Dust,” last year in seventh grade and just loved it. She went on and on about it. I think it will be one of those works that stays with her for the rest of her life. 🙂

  • Ooooh, some interesting books mentioned here! Thanks, DinaC and SweetHarmony, for your comments. @Tiara: Thanks, Help, Wow… is going right onto my Amazon Wish List. And, @Carol, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies are both on my to-read list (which is getting longer all the time!).
    Sweet readings, everyone!

  • Carol says:

    Interesting comments so far. I’ve read the Mary Stewart a long time ago and she’s a good writer. I read her Merlin trilogy many years ago and enjoyed it. I’m an English Literature graduate and classic books are my first love above everything (Middlemarch, Great Expectations and all of Austen are some of my favourites but the list is very long) but I’m willing to try any well written work. I have just finished reading the sequel to Wolf Hall by Mantel (Bring up the bodies) and I would recommend it. I also tend to have a play or poetry on the go as well and I am currently reading a lot of 16th & 17th century drama.
    I love curling up and reading whilst wearing one of my favourite perfumes. Last weekend it was Shalimar.

    • Patty says:

      You know, I always think of Austen as a romance novelist! she’s such a fun, light read. Dickens, too, at least some of his lighter fare, is a romp. I still can’t get through Great Expectations. I keep yearning for Pip or even Uriah Heep to pop in, and it’s just not like that.

      The novel I regret the most not getting through is Les Miserable. It’s such a great book, but I could never make it through the 1700 pages he devoted to the French street urchin. I mean, dude, I get it, please stop, get an editor and cut this into something digestible and/or interesting.

  • Tiara says:

    I recently zipped through Thanks, Help, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott. Small book but an interesting way of thinking about prayer. I just picked up Unwritten by Charles Martin based on a friend’s recommendation it but can’t say I like it because I really just picked up it at the library! By the time I read the blogs I enjoy and comment when I can, there isn’t much time for other reading these days.

  • sweetharmony8 says:

    Haha, Elizabeth, I totally feel you! I’m finishing up my Eng Lit degree, and my professor often scoffs at my novel choices. He only likes to read books that challenge him, and I like a mix, and since he assigns all the challenging books, I find the fun ones! Right now my absolute favorite comes from an ‘indie’ author, which I totally thought it would mean that it is rife with spelling and grammar errors, which it is not. It’s called Taking on the Dead. I absolutely love zombies. My next favorite would be Arcadium, also a zombie novel.

  • Dina C. says:

    IIRC, Musette and Ann both recommended a mystery writer named Louise Penny to me. This was just a short while ago. I’m reading the fifth book in the series now. She is an amazing writer. Like Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, P.D. James and Martha Grimes all rolled up into one. I get completely wrapped up in these books and have a hard time putting them down. They’re set in a mythical village in Canada, so I smell pine trees in my imagination as I’m reading them.

    @ Elizabeth Watson: I’ve read “Touch Not the Cat” and it was great. Mary Stewart is a wonderfully entertaining writer of romantic suspense novels. Some good healthy escapism is necessary in this life. I’m a huge fan of Shakespeare, Jane Austen and lots of classics, but I don’t want to read them every day. I totally get you. Especially right before bed, I don’t want to be reading some gritty, heavy non-fiction or fiction — it would give me nightmares. 🙂

  • Last night, my husband chided me for my bedtime reading choice: Touch Not the Cat by Mary Stewart. It is a “romantic suspense” novel, published in 1976. It isn’t my usual kind of read, but I picked up at the used book store and was curious. He wanted to know why I would waste my time with it, when I could be reading Tolstoy or Balzac instead! My DH is usually fair and open-minded but, as a writer who majored in Philosophy and Creative Writing in college, he sometimes chooses to be insufferable on certain topics. (Why at bedtime, you may ask? I don’t know!) Ironically, I never see him reading a novel, only poetry and non-fiction. I tried to explain that I was just reading it for pleasure, but I guess his idea of reading for pleasure is quite different than mine… Oof, glad I could get that off my chest–and sorry for the rant! Wearing vintage Patou Divine Folie today, and hang those who don’t approve.

    • Bastet says:

      I love Mary Stewart, her books are old favorites of mine and so charming. I particularly like the novels set in Greece – The Moon Spinners, My Brother Michael, and This Rough Magic. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with the occasional light reading!

    • macflora says:

      Oh, I read that and loved it years ago and I am a writer with degrees in English and Creative Writing who has also read Tolstoy and Balzac. I still love the name Bryony.

      • Musette says:

        Tell your husband to get over himself. Life is uncertain. Read what you want. I’m Adv Degreed (Lit) and read – and re-read – Georgette Heyer , Mary Stewart, Agatha Christie….they’re beautifully written, charming novels. If I want to be miserable I have only to get yelled at by my customers – or by Life.

        I loved the Moon Spinners!


  • molly l says:

    I just finished a bio of Alice Roosevelt Longworth, president Teddy Roosevelt’s eldest daughter. She was quite a character. I just started ‘The Roosevelt Women’ by Betty Boyd Caroli. It’s about all the Roosevelt wives, daughters, aunts, sisters, mothers from both sides of that famous family: the TR side and the FDR side.
    I love love love reading, especially history and biographies. I only occasionally read fiction, which I usually save for when I’m on the treadmill.
    In my opinion, the best things in the world are animals, perfume, baseball, books, and kombucha. And babies!

  • Elia says:

    No new favourite. Have to make my way through Wuthering Heights.
    True Detective is interesting. I need to catch up on a couple of episodes. The writer does sound intriguing.

  • Jackie b says:

    I recently found The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon in the library, and remembered recommendations about it here,( I think,) it was such a lovely read.
    Now I am in the middle of Dark Angel by Sally Beauman. It is set in England during WW1, and the villainess/heroine smells of the freshness of ferns, with a darker undercurrent of civet. I wonder what that would have been?

  • Laurels says:

    I finally got a copy of Wolf Hall and am really enjoying it. I think religious history is usually more interesting than political history, and while the two are pretty well intertwined, the religion gives it an edge, or elevates it (in an artistic way, not necessarily a moral one), and I am rambling. Sorry.

    My uncle and I have been watching True Detective and loving it. I started watching it mostly to keep him company, because as soon as I hear the words “serial killer” I immediately think “No, thank you,” but it is not what you’d expect. We were talking just yesterday about tracking down one of the writer’s books, and now we have a recommendation, so thank you!

    As for the perfume on Mars, I vote yes, something beautiful and comforting for a lonely and alien world (and aren’t they all?) I started listening to baroque music a lot during a period when I was sick and miserable, because I found it soothing, and while it was a few years before I could listen to those particular albums again, I still love the music, and I wouldn’t have wanted to go through that patch without it.

    • Patty says:

      It is an interesting series, no? I’m loving it and hoping they don’t screw up the ending somehow and make me hate the time I’ve spent on it. I re-watch episodes looking for clues or to digest some conversation again, which is so not me. I don’t like mysteries. Life is enough like that, and I don’t want more pretend mysterious complications. 🙂 But this is so entwined with who these people are which is where my real interest lies. Rust and Marty are great character studies, and the actors are both doing a great job of getting out of the way so we can see them. That’s a tough thing for big-name actor to do, but Harrelson and Mcconauhey have done it. I don’t see either of them the actor anymore. They both have impressed me. Let me know what you think of Galveston if you get it read before I do. I’ve heard great things about it.

      • Laurels says:

        You’re not alone–my uncle’s watched them all three times. I think that because the show’s so character-driven, the resolution of the mystery can’t hurt it, unless it completely contradicts what we know about the characters.

  • zazie says:

    Perfume and books are a combination made in heaven for me.
    I do not have TV, so books have always been a huge part of my “home entertainment”… however it seems that in the last few months I have hard time really committing to a book… I even leave books unfinished, which never ever happened before.
    Only a selection of tried and true classics seem to work, for the moment. I’m enjoying the letters of madame de Sevigné in the evenings – I never get tired of them. Plus, they go so well with bedtime scents like ninfeo mio, a la nuit and chanel n°5… the combination has immediate soothing powers, Makes me feel better with myself and the world – no small feat! 😉