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Coming to My Senses: A Story of Perfume, Pleasure, and an Unlikely Bride (Paperback)

Coming to My Senses: A Story of Perfume, Pleasure, and an Unlikely Bride Cover Image
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Description


“It’s been a long while since I’ve read a book so luscious. This memoir about falling in love with perfume made me want to smell everything.” -Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You


“A woman, I think we can all agree, should smell like herself. But which self?” 

Late one night near the middle of her life when all her careful plans have gone awry, Alyssa Harad stumbles across a blog devoted to reviewing perfume. She is not the kind of woman who wears perfume. But she is a reader, and the ability to describe a fragrance unfolding in the air with words seems like a magic trick. In the reviews perfume becomes a place, a person, a moment in history. Perfume becomes a story at a moment when she needs a new one. Harad follows the magical trail of scent from a private museum of rare essences in Austin, Texas, to the glamorous fragrance showrooms of Manhattan, and finally to a homecoming in Boise, Idaho—undoing and expanding her understanding of gender, femininity, pleasure and identity along the way. Candid, elegant, insightful, full of lush description and gentle humor, Coming to My Senses reveals the intimate connections between our senses and our selves.

About the Author


Alyssa Harad holds a PhD in English from the University of Texas, Austin. She has written about perfume for O, The Oprah Magazine and the award-winning perfume blogs Now Smell This and Perfume-Smellin’ Things. She lives with her husband in Austin, Texas.

Praise For…


“It’s been a long while since I’ve read a book so luscious. This memoir about falling in love with perfume made me want to smell everything.”-Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere and Everything I Never Told You
 
“I love Coming To My Senses. I love its quietly revolutionarily gender politics, and its politics of pleasure. Alyssa Harad is thoughtful, expansive, wise and playful, especially on all matters gender.” -Katherine Angel, author of Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again, Daddy Issues, and Unmastered: A Book of Desire Difficult to Tell
 
“Coming to My Senses is a book I think of often, even years after having read it. It’s about perfume, but also about sensuality and self-knowledge and so much more.”-Lauren Elkin, author of Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London
 
“Coming to My Senses is an intoxicating journey of a book, as lush, sensual, and complex as the finest French perfume. A must-read for any fragrance lover.”
-Deanna Raybourn author of the Lady Julia Grey and Veronica Speedwell Mystery Series
 
“Alyssa Harad’s smart and sensuous memoir is not really about perfume; the book cites only a handful by name. Coming to My Senses is a book about perfume lovers—that very special brand of aesthete—and a sly and moving interrogation of the conflict between her identity as a feminist and an intellectual and the popular idea of perfume as something frivolous.”-Elisa Gabbert, author of The Unreality of Memory and The Word Pretty
 
“Alyssa Harad's memoir is a complete delight, not only for the senses, but for the mind. If her sentences had a fragrance, they would smell like the most opulent rose with a squeeze of crisp citrus -- sumptuous, fresh, delicious.” -Rachel Syme, staff writer at The New Yorker and co-author of The Dry Down
 
“Harad recounts her Kate Chopin-like awakening to the sensual joys of perfume and the fulfillment, happiness and fragrant friendships that follow.”— Los Angeles Times
 
“Bursting with sensuous delights .Dallas News

“This is a book that arouses and galvanizes the senses—all of them. . . . The very word puts a lot of us on edge—perfume—but turns out it’s just the elbow crook inching open the door into Harad’s memoir, which is as much about her surprise at delighting in perfume’s history, community, and aromatic allures as it is about her own reckoning with what it means to be a woman. . . . For the reader, her pleasure is catching.”—Austin Chronicle  

“...what makes this memoir so appealing are its deeper notes, the ones that linger on after reading: the story of a how a no-nonsense, underemployed English Ph.D., who usually dresses like 'an unmade bed,' discovers the pleasures of femininity and her own senses through an affair with fragrance.”—Catherine Hollis, BookPage (Top Pick)  

 
“Harad charms everyone—with stories, recommendations, and delight. . . . This memoir is lovely and evocative, as she becomes more comfortable with herself and her open appreciation for things, like perfume, that are about beauty and pleasure.” Publishers Weekly 

 
“... most surprisingly of all, Harad found herself reclaiming a femininity that she had disowned. . . . Like a good perfume, this book is slow to unfold, but the author’s account of her experiences is well worth the wait. A quiet delight.”Kirkus Reviews

“Few delights match the instant, primal gratification given by a beautiful fragrance—yet too often we ignore the power of this sense. Alyssa Harad’s fascinating (and often funny) story of how she became bewitched by the pleasures and culture of perfume will give readers a new appreciation for scent's intimate role in their lives.”—Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

 

“By turns witty, sensuous, and poignant, Coming to My Senses is a book that demands to be savored and shared. And I challenge anyone to read this without ransacking the dark corners of their closets and cosmetics bags for a scent to put on, and then another and then another…”
—Deborah Harkness, author of A Discovery of Witches


Product Details
ISBN: 9780143123385
ISBN-10: 0143123386
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: June 25th, 2013
Pages: 272
Language: English