In its sixth printing, Encyclopedia of the Exquisite (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday) takes its cues from the exotic encyclopedias of the 16th century, which brimmed with mysterious artifacts, focusing on the elegant, the rare, the commonplace and the delightful. A compendium of luxury that merges whimsy and practicality, the book traipses through all the fine arts, showcasing every sphere of style: fashion, food, travel, home, garden and beauty.
The New York Times Book Review called Encyclopedia of the Exquisite, “sensual and dainty,” “wittily curated,” and “perfect for a style maven or foodie.” The Wall Street Journal claimed the book contained “plenty to enlighten even the most world-weary terrestrial,” and deemed it “a select showcase of the unusual, the piquant, and the frankly bizarre, enthusiastically researched and displayed with élan.”
In the spirit of renewing old sources of beauty, each encyclopedic entry proffers an array of engaging stories. Among them: the explosive history of champagne; the art of lounging on a divan; the emergence of “frillies,” the first lacy, racy lingerie; the luxe legend of sweet-smelling saffron; the riot incited by the appearance of London’s first top hat; Julia Child’s tip for cooking the perfect omelet; the polarizing practice of wearing red lipstick during WWII; Louis XIV’s fondness for the luscious Bartlett pear; the Indian origin of badminton; Europe’s 17th century false beauty mark fad; the evolution of the Japanese kimono; the pilgrimage of Central Park’s Egyptian obelisk; and the thrill of dining alfresco.
Encyclopedia of the Exquisite has appeared in Vogue, Vanity Fair, InStyle and Entertainment Weekly, among many other publications. NPR’s “Morning Edition” reported on the book, and it was selected as one of the top 100 books published in 2010 by the editors at Barnes & Noble, and also by the editors at amazon.com.
Click HERE to read about Encyclopedia of the Exquisite in the New York Times Book Review.