Happy National Read a Book Day! While we hope you are able to find time to read beyond today, we’re more than happy to put the spotlight on this fantastic unofficial holiday.
You might be wondering, “EG, what do books and essential oils have in common?” To us, the answer is simple: they both make you feel good. Their benefits work on a deeper level than might meet the eye. Diffusing your favorite aromas can soothe your body, ease your mind and uplift your spirit. And books are capable of the same. Which got us thinking:Which books would pair well with which aromas? Needless to say, we had some thoughts on the topic. So crack open your favorite EOs and the spine on these books!
Earthy & Woodsy
You love the earthy aromas ofCedarwood,Pine andDouglas Fir. Or, maybe you fall head-over-heels forAmyris,Sandalwood andEarth & Wood. They’re all easy to fall in love with, and so are complementary books. If your sense of smell is drawn to earthy and camphorous aromas, your brain might be too. Be sure to check out works by Jack Kerouac, Hannah Lillith Assadi, Jack London and Walt Whitman.
Fans (and writers) of poetry should find a cozy spot, diffuse their favored EO and delve into Walt Whitman’s must-have, legendaryLeaves of Grass. You probably encountered Whitman’s poetry in your high-school English class, but experiencing this collection with fresh eyes is something to behold. In that same vein is Kerouac’sBig Sur,The Dharma Bums andOn The Road. These novels delve into the very heart of nature and what it means to be a human that exists in the vast expanse of what we call “Earth.” Jack London’sCall of the Wild is something you may be familiar with, as it’s found its place in the canon of American classics.
A new classic of sorts is Assadi’sSonora. This novel oscillates between the bright lights of the big city and the desolate beauty of the desert, but the sections that occupy the natural space are breathtaking.Sonora — and the other works listed here — are exceptional choices for the fan of earthy and camphorous EOs.
Are you a lover of bright, punchy aromas? Do you love essential oils likeBergamot,Clementine,Citrus Cream andBliss? Do you feel a kindredness with aromas like this? If so, you might love the work of authors like John Fante, M.F.K. Fisher and David Foster Wallace. While each of these authors are wildly different in focus, their tone on the page is always vibrant and lively.
John Fante’s Bandini Quartet (Wait Until Spring, Bandini,The Road to Los Angeles,Ask the Dust andDreams from Bunker Hill) follows the exploits of Arturo Bandini, a young Italian-American figuring out how to live in the U.S. (most of it set in Los Angeles) to wildly hilarious effect. Fisher, on the other hand, writes primarily about food and culture,The Gastronomical Mebeing the most recognizable and, dare we say,digestible of her essay collections. Rounding out this section is the inimitable Foster Wallace. You couldn’t go wrong diving into any of this work, butConsider the Lobster & Other Essays is probably the best place to start, each piece revitalizing experience, just like inhaling a deep breath of freshly slicedLemon.
Nuanced & Complex
Fans of complex aromas likeCognac,Oud,Patchouli and the like might find a common love in books by Amelia Gray, Laura van den Berg, Virginia Woolf and Mark Z. Danielewski, just to name a few. We might call a complex essential oil “layered,” and these books and authors can certainly be tied to the same adjective.
Gray’s collectionThe Museum of the Weird (and, really, all of her work) is a dive into interpersonal relationships devised against off-kilter backdrops, all told in wonderfully evocative prose. Laura van den Berg’s novelThe Third Hotel is about the mystery, duality and ambiguity that we all encounter in life and is set against the beautiful cultural backdrop of Havana. Aside from the Havana aspect, each and every one of Woolf’s novels can be described in the same way as van den Berg’s. Better still, Woolf has a lot to choose from, includingMrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse andThe Voyage Out.
Maybe you’re in the mood for a complex, spooky-but-not-too-spooky novel to pique your sense of intrigue. For you, then, there’s Toni Morrison’s magnum opusBeloved or Danielewski’s cult classicHouse of Leaves. While the former is a meditation on history, memory and family, the latter explores what happens when a family moves into a house that is much larger inside than it looks from the outside (and so, so much more). We’re not spoiling either, so you’ll have to find out for yourself!
Floral & Herbal
Friends of floral aromas (likeClary Sage,Neroli,Bergamot andRose) will likely find a friend in the blooming prose of Herman Melville, William Gay and Nathanial Hawthorne. Each of these authors uses the pen (and in their day it was a pen) like a paintbrush, dreaming up evocative scenes with flowery words. While “purple prose” is something lesser writers should beware of, Hawthorne’sThe House of the Seven Gables, Gay’si hate to see that evening sun go down and Melville’s undeniableMoby-Dick all wildly succeed with craft and a style all their own. Diffuse some Citronella and bask in its aroma and the floral vocabulary of these books.
The warm notes ofCoffee,Cocoa Vanilla,Cinnamon Bark andHope offer you an immense amount of joy. Well, you might get the same sensation when poring over the words of Ray Bradbury’sDandelion Wine andThe Halloween Tree, Ernest Hemingway’sThe Sun Also Rises, Stephanie Danler’sSweetbitter and J.D. Wilkes’ new classicThe Vine that Ate the South. Each novel incorporates a sense of adventure, friendship and connection. Find a cozy corner (or, heck, invite a couple friends over and take turns reading aloud) while you fill up your diffuser with any of your warm-note EOs.
We hope this is a great starter guide in helping you pair your favorite prose and EOs. Let us know your thoughts on book-aroma pairings in the comments section below!