In Scent And Subversion, Barbara Herman explains how, at the turn of the 20th century, most perfumes were still just one note, floral. Then along came a fragrance that changed everything. "With Chanel No. 5," Herman says, "Coco Chanel said, 'A woman needs to smell like a woman, and not a rose.'"
The Beat Generation icon was a magnet for artists, musicians and wannabe hipsters. In a 1985 interview, the author credited his most groundbreaking work to the fallout from his wife's accidental death at his own hands, saying, "It was an event that ... made me into a writer." Burroughs died in 1997.
Yale law professor Amy Chua sparked controversy with her first book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, where she touted her strict style of parenting. Now she and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, are out with a new book, The Triple Package. The couple talk about why they believe some cultural groups are better poised for success.
Alena, a reworking of Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca, takes place in the contemporary art world, while The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles is a "delicious French romp." Critic Maureen Corrigan says both novels are "exquisite vehicles of escape fiction."
Southern Russia, the venue for the coming Winter Olympics, is a wild land known for its breathtaking beauty and centuries of conflict. It has long inspired Russian writers; here are three classic books on the region.
Not much happens in An Unnecessary Woman, Lebanese-American author Rabih Alameddine's novel about an elderly recluse who spends her time reading and translating. But what does happen shows a life in all its mundane, unconventional brilliance.
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