I’ve been traveling over the last couple of weeks and one theme that keeps coming up is sense- mostly in the form of smell. When I arrive at the bottom of my parents’ road, I always roll down my windows and inhale. Nothing smells quite like the woods of New England. When I exited the airport in Boston on Tuesday, I caught a whiff of the ocean and was immediately happier. Walking through a bar in Santa Fe I was moved to remark to my friend (who went to the same college as I), “smells like First Burton”. And pulling off my sweater I caught the whiff of perfume left over from a hug. Warm, cozy memories of people and places I love.
Maybe I noticed these because one of the books I read right before this extended vacation was What Matters Most by Georgia Beers. I wanted to go visit Kelsey’s shop, and every time a specific scent was mentioned I wanted to try it out. I loved the way the author used scent to heighten the experience of the book. True to character, Kelsey notices the scents about her, drawing the reader further into the book. Ms. Beers is excellent at drawing the reader into a book and What Matters Most is no exception.
Speaking of sensory experience enriching the reader’s experience, Chef’s Special by Susan X Meagher makes me want to eat every time I read it. The food descriptions are sublime. Both taste and smell play an important role in the life of a chef and we see exactly how important they are as the plot evolves. I love the chemistry of these main characters, both in and outside the kitchen. A gorgeous book, and gloriously long without any wasted pages. For another deliciously taste-full read, try Rachel Spangler’s Perfect Pairing. The characters and story are awesome and I also want to eat fancy grilled cheese the whole time I am reading it.
One of my all time favorite books deals with, but does not center on, the loss of a sense. In Love’s Melody Lost by Radclyffe, Graham is blind. We see her life through her other senses- walking the path by the sea, listening to Anna move around the house, feeling plants with her fingers. The romance is in the gothic style, giving it a weight and darkness that slowly diminishes as Anna brings Graham out of her personal darkness.
Picture Perfect by Lisa Moreau takes the reader into the world of photography meaning much of the sensory pleasure of the book is about what the characters see. The descriptions in the book are gorgeous. I could see them in my minds’ eye and wanted to be there for real. The characters are so much fun I was sorry to see the book end. The setting in this book deserves special mention and had me Googling Catalina Island. Now I want to go there.
I can’t write a blog about sensory books without mentioning Kris Bryant’s sensory series. Taste is a fabulous read all about being in the kitchen. That book makes me hungry. I really enjoyed the chemistry between the main characters. A delight to read. Touch I have mentioned before, another excellent book. I hope the next one comes out soon.
What are your favorite smells- the ones that take you back in time or place to fond memories?
What books transport you, making you see, hear, taste, feel or smell more than usual when reading?