Friday, May 23, 2008

The Emperor of Scent

One of the unexpected, random pleasures of the internet world we live in is the occasional connections, however tenuous, that are formed. Regular readers of this blog will recall that I have, on occasion, amused myself by mocking the perfume reviews of the New York Times resident perfume critic, Chandler Burr. That is not the full story, however, and it would be reprehensible of me not to set the record straight here. You see, a few months ago I read Burr's book "The Emperor of Scent" (an account of the scientific work of maverick scientist, Luca Turin, on the biochemistry of smell) and was amazed and delighted to find the book an extraordinarily brilliant, awesomely written accomplishment of the highest order. I have written a more complete review of the book over on the goodreads site, here (be sure to read all the way down - the review actually appears in comment #4 on the thread):

Why bring this up now? Well, first of all, it seems inexcusable not to set the record straight. But also - in a message that made my day - yesterday I received an extraordinarily charming e-mail from Chandler himself, thanking me for all my comments on his writing, both negative and positive.

I don't know. It was just really sweet. Now, go out there and buy yourself a copy of "The Emperor of Scent". It could be a handbook for excellent science writing for the non-scientist. As I wrote in my review, it left me slackjawed in admiration.

All of which makes me hope I never hear from this guy

Or this guy

Actually I did receive an e-mail from Seth Godin, in response to my review on Amazon, offering to refund me the cost of the book. Though I suppose it is to his credit, I found it more creepy than anything else.

And if anyone wants to excoriate my own literary efforts, you know where to find it:

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