Smell and Taste Reading List * Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry

*This is a dynamic, ever-expanding  list of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that engages with smell and taste. In the spirit of mixing disciplines, genres and diverse voices, the list is simply organized in alphabetical order by author. If you don’t see something you think we would like, please let us know in the comments below or by emailing us at*



Abood, Maureen. Rose Water and Orange Blossoms: Fresh and Classic Recipes from my Lebanese Kitchen.

Ackermann, Diane. A Natural History of the Senses.

Aftel, Mandy. Essence and Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume.
—. Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent.
—. Scents & Sensibilities: Creating Solid Perfumes for Well-Being.

Aftel, Mandy and Patterson, Daniel. Aroma: The Magic of Essential Oils in Food & Fragrance.
—. The Art of Flavor: Practices and Principles for Creating Delicious Food.

Appel, Jacob M. The Liars’ Asylum: Stories.
REVIEW: “Some of the flora and fauna in Jacob M. Appel’s The Liars’ Asylum are real and others are made of painted silk and wire…



Baudelaire, Charles. The Flowers of Evil.
POEM: “The Flask/Le Flacon.”

Burr, Chandler. The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession.
—. The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industries of Paris and New York.



Catty, Suzanne. Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy.

Conigliaro, Tony. The Cocktail Lab: Unraveling the Mysteries of Flavor and Aroma in Drink, with Recipes.

Corbin, Alain. The Foul and the Fragrant: Odor and the French Social Imagination.



Diffenbaugh, Vanessa. The Language of Flowers: A Novel.



Ellena, Jean-Claude. The Diary of a Nose: A Year in the Life of a Parfumeur.
—. Perfume: The Alchemy of Scent.

Endersby, Jim. Orchid: A Cultural History.

Epstein, Catherine Haley. Nose Dive: A Book for the Creative Seeking Potential Through Their Noses.
ESSAY: “An Artist’s Introduction to the Fine-Fragrance Landscape of Esxence

Esquivel, Laura. Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies.



Fowles, John. The Tree.



Gilbert, Avery. What the Nose Knows: The Science of Scent in Everyday Life.

Goethe. Johann Wolfgang von. The Metamorphosis of Plants.

Gorrick, Anne. The Olfactions: Poems on Perfume.
POEMS: “Two Poems on Perfume.”



Harman, Ann. Harvest to Hydrosol.

Harris, Thomas. Hannibal.

Harvey, Susan Ashbrook. Scenting Salvation: Ancient Christianity and the Olfactory Imagination.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. Mosses from an Old Manse.

STORY: “Rappaccini’s Daughter.”

Herz, Rachel. The Scent of Desire: Discovering Our Enigmatic Sense of Smell.



Jackson, Shirley. We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

Joyce, James. Ulysses.
EXCERPT: Molly Bloom’s sweets and flowers.



Keller, Helen. The World I Liv In.
EXCERPT: “Smell, the Fallen Angel.”

Keville, Kathi and  Green, Mindy. Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art.


Lyttelton, Celia. The Scent Trail: How One Woman’s Search for the Perfect Perfume Took Her Around the World.



Mazzoni, Christina. Golden Fruit: A Cultural History of Oranges in Italy.

McHugh, James. Sandalwood and Carrion: Smell in Indian Religion and Culture.

Melville, Herman. Moby-Dick.
EXCERPT: “an ambergris digression.”

Miller, Victoria Redhed. Craft Distilling: Making Liquor Legally at Home.



Parker, Amy. Beasts and Children.

Proust, Marcell. In Search of Lost Time (AKA Remembrance of Things Past.
Excerpt: “Proust’s madeleine: The Smell & Taste of Recollection.”

Parsons, Brad Thomas. Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All.

Piesse, G. W. Septimus. The Art of Perfumery.
EXCERPT: “Introduction & History I

Pollan, Michael. The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World.
—. How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.



Robbins, Tom. Jitterbug Perfume.

Rogers, Adam. Proof: The Science of Booze.

Rosenblum, Lawrence. See What I’m Saying: The Extraordinary Powers of Our Five Senses.



Serres, Michel. The Five Senses.

Skipper, Cathy. The Alchemy of Menopause: The Journey of Stepping into Our Power and Becoming Who We Truly Are.
INTERVIEW: “Alchemy, Aromatherapy, and Distillation.”

Stewart, Amy. The Drunken Botanist: The Plants the Create the World’s Great Drinks.

Süskind, Patrick. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.



Tin House. Spring 2018: Candy.
REVIEW: “Tin House Candy is Sweet & Twisted.”

Tompkins, Peter and Bird, Christopher. The Secret Life of Plants: A Fascinating Account of the Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Relations Between Plants and Man.

Turin, Luca and Sanchez, Tania. Perfumes: The Guide 2018.
REVIEW: “From Art to Bats.”

Turner, Jack. Spice: The History of a Temptation.



UsmaniSumayya. Summers Under the Tamarind Tree: Recipes & Memories from Pakistan.



Wells, H. G. The Country of the Blind & Other Stories.

STORY: “The Flowering of the Strange Orchid

Wilde, Oscar. The Picture of Dorian Gray.
EXCERPT: “Dorian Gray’s Psychology of Perfumes.”

*Please tell us about your favorite new or classic book on smell and taste in the comments below or in an email to*