Perfume

Have you ever smelt a book?
And I don’t mean walking into your local book store and cunningly sniffing the books; don’t judge, I’ve seen it happen.

It sounds like a peculiar question but in Süskind’s first novel; the classic ‘Perfume’, that’s exactly what you will do.
The book made me feel slightly uneasy, in the same way as a portrait staring straight at you sends shivers down your back. There is something quite disconcerting about having mundane everyday smells picked apart and described to you; the human for instance is comprised of, amongst other things: Cat faeces, cheese and vinegar… just delightful, thanks Pat (I can call you Pat yeah?). It is in descriptions such as that, that you understand the hatred and at the same time longing Grenouille has for normality.
But really, why would not having a scent throw you off-course in life so badly? Well I think the book describes it perfectly here:
“Odours have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odour cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.”

This book has two core levels that you could follow, there is the foremost level of a deranged man who lacks any emotion for anything other than scent, who wants only what is in his interest and cares very little for life. And then there is the underlying journey of self-discovery that Grenouille is on throughout the book, from unknown misfit child to his somewhat humbling end. If you so choose the first you may be pleasantly let down by everything but the wonderful language. However I chose the latter, because everybody deserves a chance.
Despite the feeling of unease and hate that are laced through the text, this book does not fail to live up to it reputation as a classic. It is beautifully written, and you finish with a feeling of understanding; understanding Grenouille in a way that many have not, as a person. Despite this book being a story of murder, the one memory I will carry away with me, is not of those scenes but of the scents, from the putrid 18th century France to the sweet girls, the scents that Grenouille covets above all else.

You can buy this book at most bookshops:
Come see me at QBD and I will hook you up
Mary Martin Bookshop
Imprints (on hindley)
This post is also very helpful from the guys at Already Home from the City Council

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Top 5? High 5!

Hey did you guys see my new header? And new site name? WordPress finally let me change it, YAY!

I haven’t written much about books on here, which is silly, because it’s supposed to be about baking and books (sometimes always together). Before I get down to bagging your fave book or something; I’ll tell you my top 5 so you can get your insults ready for when I call your favourite book badly written and yuck (if your favourite book is Twilight we totes aren’t friends).

None of these are food related books, that is a whole other kettle of fish!

5. It new, and it’s a bio. I generally don’t read bios, but…

This book literally made me laugh out loud and giggle like a lunatic in the most awkward of places (economics lecture, bus). A random selection of stories from Marieke Hardy’s life; a few prostitutes, an art exhibition for the bubble and a rather angry letters to white wings. If you have read her stuff from Frankie you have had a taste, but you need to take a bite. Honest.

4. Scottish Author Iain Banks

I actually had to read a book of his in the last year of high school, and then got bored about a year later and actually read it.Turns out he was actually good, props Mr Patterson.

The Bridge. The imagery in this book is insane, I don’t want to give too much away but basically you are in the mind of a man who is in a coma, a kind of limbo. The limbo is the bridge. Another world of class levels and limited freedom, the books gets a bit dream within a dream, but hang in there; if you like 1984 and Brave New World this is right up your alley. If you don’t well read this anyway, even for the imagery.

3. I was going to put Perfume by Patrick Süskind here; but I lost the book (I’ve also got a good review I did a few months ago that I intend to upload pretty soon). Instead I’ve got this book. Cliché? Maybe.

It truly is one of my all time favourite books, I know this one isn’t particularly literary. But it takes you straight into this other world, of wizards and witches, goblins and ghosts. Let’s be honest even if you say you hate it, you’ve at least seen the films (something I do not condone at all, read the books!). You all know the story so I really don’t need to elaborate.

It’s one of the modern children’s classics, an engaging fight between good and evil; the importance of truth and friendship against all odds. To be honest if the world was more like Harry’s it would be a better place.

2. Audrey NiffeneggerA love story, but with two characters who aren’t dumb dopey eyed lovers. They are real believable characters. It’s the gritty edge of Chicago and the imperfect characters that make this a good novel. Oh and there’s time travel. And I love books told from multiple points of view and this ticks that box in oh so many ways.

1. Lewis Carroll

Leaving aside the fact that this was written by a drug taking mathematician that hung out with young girls, it is amazing. And my all time favourite book. Yes it’s a children’s book. But to this day I still laugh at the same bits I have always laughed at, and I still get creeped out by tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee. It never gets old; and it’s the book that started my whole love of reading. You can’t top that.

What are your top 5? Childrens books totes count!

What is on your bedside table at the moment? Keep it clean people!