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Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses

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New York Times bestselling author of The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende celebrates the pleasures of the sensual life in this rich, joyful and slyly humorous book, a combination of personal narrative and treasury of erotic lore. Under the aegis of the Goddess of Love, Isabel Allende uses her storytelling skills brilliantly in Aphrodite to evoke the delights of food an New York Times bestselling author of The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende celebrates the pleasures of the sensual life in this rich, joyful and slyly humorous book, a combination of personal narrative and treasury of erotic lore. Under the aegis of the Goddess of Love, Isabel Allende uses her storytelling skills brilliantly in Aphrodite to evoke the delights of food and sex. After considerable research and study, she has become an authority on aphrodisiacs, which include everything from food and drink to stories and, of course, love. Readers will find here recipes from Allende's mother, poems, stories from ancient and foreign literatures, paintings, personal anecdotes, fascinating tidbits on the sensual art of foodand its effects on amorous performance, tips on how to attract your mate and revive flagging virility, passages on the effect of smell on libido, a history of alcoholic beverages, and much more. An ode to sensuality that is an irresistible blend of memory, imagination and the senses, Aphrodite is familiar territory for readers who know her fiction.


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New York Times bestselling author of The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende celebrates the pleasures of the sensual life in this rich, joyful and slyly humorous book, a combination of personal narrative and treasury of erotic lore. Under the aegis of the Goddess of Love, Isabel Allende uses her storytelling skills brilliantly in Aphrodite to evoke the delights of food an New York Times bestselling author of The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende celebrates the pleasures of the sensual life in this rich, joyful and slyly humorous book, a combination of personal narrative and treasury of erotic lore. Under the aegis of the Goddess of Love, Isabel Allende uses her storytelling skills brilliantly in Aphrodite to evoke the delights of food and sex. After considerable research and study, she has become an authority on aphrodisiacs, which include everything from food and drink to stories and, of course, love. Readers will find here recipes from Allende's mother, poems, stories from ancient and foreign literatures, paintings, personal anecdotes, fascinating tidbits on the sensual art of foodand its effects on amorous performance, tips on how to attract your mate and revive flagging virility, passages on the effect of smell on libido, a history of alcoholic beverages, and much more. An ode to sensuality that is an irresistible blend of memory, imagination and the senses, Aphrodite is familiar territory for readers who know her fiction.

30 review for Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    If you're looking for an aphrodisiac manual, a Vegas wedding chapel for your inner Britney Spears, look somewhere else. As some reviewers have pointed out, almost every food item on the planet is considered to have erotic connotations to Allende, be they visual, olfactory or legendary, she can make it seem sexy. This is because it's not a serious attempt to prove or disprove aphrodisiac qualities of food, it is, as the title states, a memoir of the senses, a scrapbook of sensuality, and Allende c If you're looking for an aphrodisiac manual, a Vegas wedding chapel for your inner Britney Spears, look somewhere else. As some reviewers have pointed out, almost every food item on the planet is considered to have erotic connotations to Allende, be they visual, olfactory or legendary, she can make it seem sexy. This is because it's not a serious attempt to prove or disprove aphrodisiac qualities of food, it is, as the title states, a memoir of the senses, a scrapbook of sensuality, and Allende considers cooking and eating to be sensual activities. Read this book and its poetery, short stories, anecdotes, legends, and yes, recipes, and you may come to agree, even if you're not a foodie or an honest pig. Frankly, a lot of the recipes are so rich, involved and time-consuming that they could replace actual sex, with all the energy and time spent making and tasting them I'm not sure I could even eat once done, much less do anything else. It's about zest for life, though; read it after Paula to appreciate Allende's correlation between various forms of appetite and life. She says herself in the intro that when she began to dream of food she knew she was healing after her daughter's death, and this scrapbook of tastes and flavors and textures is as close to embracing life as you can get. Plus, there's a freakin' awesome mushroom soup recipe on page 119, and you can read the excerpt including it at: IsabelAllende.Com.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    I tried to read this because it came recommeded from a friend with impeccable taste. Yeah, not so mcuh with this. It tried to hard to be sexy in a Nigella Lawson way, and just came off like a desperate middle aged, sex starved housewife. While this may be the demographic they're going for it just sat all wrong with me. It felt a bit like buying sexy knickers with your mum. I tried to read this because it came recommeded from a friend with impeccable taste. Yeah, not so mcuh with this. It tried to hard to be sexy in a Nigella Lawson way, and just came off like a desperate middle aged, sex starved housewife. While this may be the demographic they're going for it just sat all wrong with me. It felt a bit like buying sexy knickers with your mum.

  3. 5 out of 5

    kate

    i don't think this was the allende book i should have read first when i decided i wanted to explore latin american literature and magical realism in particular. i love the concept of food/sensuality/feminine/spice and enjoy other books on the topic. however, the book did not quite translate into what i expected. for example, there is a description comparing a lover's kiss to a 'mussel inserted in your mouth' which reminded me of the worst kissers in my life (thus far & hopefully ever) - zooming in i don't think this was the allende book i should have read first when i decided i wanted to explore latin american literature and magical realism in particular. i love the concept of food/sensuality/feminine/spice and enjoy other books on the topic. however, the book did not quite translate into what i expected. for example, there is a description comparing a lover's kiss to a 'mussel inserted in your mouth' which reminded me of the worst kissers in my life (thus far & hopefully ever) - zooming in unstoppable and open mouthed before i closed my eyes and braced myself. it did not strike me as a romantic description of a kiss. perhaps it lost something in translation? there are many different recipes included in the book. most of them i would not make because they are time consuming or filled with ingredients i don't use. the aphrodisiac qualities of certain foods and spices are listed in the book and that is something i can reread later. the book is also illustrated throughout with sensual latin american influenced illustrations. i don't know if that makes up for the mussel metaphor. Even though I have forgotten her I continue to eat plum after plum. a haiku by james tipton included in the book. I remember plums I have eaten with more eroticism than I remember the mussel tongued kissers of my life and, unfortunately, most of this book. recipes that include a slice of white bread as thickener (as many of these do) are not recipes i consider part of a sensual meal. i am perhaps suffering from some kind of prejudice here.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joana Augusto

    Isabell Allende is my favorite writer. This is the one book of hers I haven't tried reading because I thought it was just a cookbook. An aphrodisiac cookbook, but still... It's actually a really good essay on what are aphrodisiacs, and how they are viewed in different times, and even in different cultures. Also, her amazing writing is still very obvious, even if it's not in magic realism form. She's as witty and sarcastic as ever. I haven't gone through all the recipes yet, but there's some I want Isabell Allende is my favorite writer. This is the one book of hers I haven't tried reading because I thought it was just a cookbook. An aphrodisiac cookbook, but still... It's actually a really good essay on what are aphrodisiacs, and how they are viewed in different times, and even in different cultures. Also, her amazing writing is still very obvious, even if it's not in magic realism form. She's as witty and sarcastic as ever. I haven't gone through all the recipes yet, but there's some I want to take note of, that's for sure. Really awesome book and lot better than I was expecting =)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Maria Velkova

    Gosh, it is slow to read this book... it definitely requires a particulate mood, which I don't possess at all times. Gosh, it is slow to read this book... it definitely requires a particulate mood, which I don't possess at all times.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    This was a strange book. Fascinating at times, dull at others, and occasionally plain puzzling (as in, where IS she going with this?). The best way to sum it up is a medley of anecdotes, myths, and personal experiences all regarding food and its role in love, romance, and decidedly kinkier ventures. Aphrodisiacs, if you will. I did love Allende's sauciness and odd split personality--very accepting of people's oddities on one hand, and slyly judgmental on the other hand. By the time I got through This was a strange book. Fascinating at times, dull at others, and occasionally plain puzzling (as in, where IS she going with this?). The best way to sum it up is a medley of anecdotes, myths, and personal experiences all regarding food and its role in love, romance, and decidedly kinkier ventures. Aphrodisiacs, if you will. I did love Allende's sauciness and odd split personality--very accepting of people's oddities on one hand, and slyly judgmental on the other hand. By the time I got through the stories and the exhaustive lists of all foods ever possibly considered to be aphrodisiacs (whether by virtue of chemical powers or crude visual insinuations), I must admit that I was too worn out to bother looking through the allegedly rigorously tested recipes at the end of the book, written by Allende's mother. I think the book served more to convince me that the mythical power of aphrodisiacs is a bunch of bunk, rather than a tantalizing possibility.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Honaker

    Hot. That is the only word I can think of to describe this novel. It defintely has the Allende flavor of magical realism and picturesque description. I picked it up thinking it was a food memoir, but it is more of an exploration of the connection between food, sex and love. The recipes are her grandmothers'and you can feel the familial connection in the pages. The chapter describing the advice to her stepson on dating was downright funny and quite erotic. I liked the book, but it is not my favor Hot. That is the only word I can think of to describe this novel. It defintely has the Allende flavor of magical realism and picturesque description. I picked it up thinking it was a food memoir, but it is more of an exploration of the connection between food, sex and love. The recipes are her grandmothers'and you can feel the familial connection in the pages. The chapter describing the advice to her stepson on dating was downright funny and quite erotic. I liked the book, but it is not my favorite Allende novel. It moves a little slow in parts. It is provocative and entertaining for a fun read, it just takes a little while to get through.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ver

    If you don't want to get horny - read this book. Especially the parts about aphrodisiac cruelty. Why would someone put it in such a book? Also the tale about parents' orgy I found distasteful. My parent would definitely be displeased if I wrote something like that about them. Generally, I felt like reading about a woman who is chasing something she doesn't have. If it weren't for funny anecdotes, I could never finish this book. If you don't want to get horny - read this book. Especially the parts about aphrodisiac cruelty. Why would someone put it in such a book? Also the tale about parents' orgy I found distasteful. My parent would definitely be displeased if I wrote something like that about them. Generally, I felt like reading about a woman who is chasing something she doesn't have. If it weren't for funny anecdotes, I could never finish this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Helms

    Isabel Allende is a deliciously entertaining, no-bullshit writer and cook. After reading this memoir, I want not only to read her other works, but to cook a 5-course dinner with her (aphrodisiac-centered, of course).

  10. 4 out of 5

    Valentina

    I read this book in Spanish. Allende says in the intro that she began to dream of food as a healing process after her daughter's death. The book is like reading essays on food and its relation to love, romance, and passion. It is beautifully illustrated, witty, and very sensual. At the end of the book, I imagine one would be tempted to try some of her recipes in a sexy atmosphere, rich in flavors, aromas, and sensual seduction. I highly recommend this book only to people who like spicy food and I read this book in Spanish. Allende says in the intro that she began to dream of food as a healing process after her daughter's death. The book is like reading essays on food and its relation to love, romance, and passion. It is beautifully illustrated, witty, and very sensual. At the end of the book, I imagine one would be tempted to try some of her recipes in a sexy atmosphere, rich in flavors, aromas, and sensual seduction. I highly recommend this book only to people who like spicy food and spicy love.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Vicky

    Not for me. Read this as part of my reading women challenge - book about food and a book by Isabel Allende - but kind of thought it wouldn’t be my scene then was pleasantly surprised at how easy a read it was for first 50 or so pages. After that I found the repetitive, listed tongue in cheek jokes about orgies got really tiresome and I had to force myself to read to the recipe section (about 220 pages in)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ismaa Khan

    Isabel Allende is one of my most favorite writers. She is witty, sarcastic, wise and funny, her words are eloquent, her stories memorable. Aphrodite was the first book I ever read by her and it was bought as a special treat for me many years ago, and now re-reading it I feel vilified that it was money well spent. After this book I was determined to find her other books and have become a great fan of her novels. This particular book is nonfiction, a memoir of aphrodisiac foods, or the connection Isabel Allende is one of my most favorite writers. She is witty, sarcastic, wise and funny, her words are eloquent, her stories memorable. Aphrodite was the first book I ever read by her and it was bought as a special treat for me many years ago, and now re-reading it I feel vilified that it was money well spent. After this book I was determined to find her other books and have become a great fan of her novels. This particular book is nonfiction, a memoir of aphrodisiac foods, or the connection between food love and sex but it is so well written in her characteristic style that it emerges as more than just a manual on these foods and instead is a book to read and enjoy just for the sheer witticism and lyrically descriptive writing. I loved the funny little drawings of satyrs, nymphs and witches given in the book, they were totally adorable.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Derek

    Under the aegis of the Goddess of Love, Isabel Allende uses her storytelling skills brilliantly in Aphrodite to evoke the delights of food and sex. After considerable research and study, she has become an authority on aphrodisiacs, which include everything from food and drink to stories and, of course, love. Readers will find here recipes from Allende's mother, poems, stories from ancient and foreign literatures, paintings, personal anecdotes, fascinating tidbits on the sensual art of food and i Under the aegis of the Goddess of Love, Isabel Allende uses her storytelling skills brilliantly in Aphrodite to evoke the delights of food and sex. After considerable research and study, she has become an authority on aphrodisiacs, which include everything from food and drink to stories and, of course, love. Readers will find here recipes from Allende's mother, poems, stories from ancient and foreign literatures, paintings, personal anecdotes, fascinating tidbits on the sensual art of food and its effects on amorous performance, tips on how to attract your mate and revive flagging virility, passages on the effect of smell on libido, a history of alcoholic beverages, and much more. An ode to sensuality that is an irresistible blend of memory, imagination and the senses, Aphrodite is familiar territory for readers who know her fiction.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Should be read in bed aloud to one's lover as s/he applies the whipped cream. Allende brings her own special brand of magical realism to this catalogue of aphrodisiacs and erotic lore, interspersing recipes and historical trivia with stories of love and sex from her life and the lives of the famous lovers of the past. Less prurient than passionate, even the book itself is a sensuous experience, printed as it is on heavy paper and lushly illustrated. To be sampled, savored, or devoured, as the m Should be read in bed aloud to one's lover as s/he applies the whipped cream. Allende brings her own special brand of magical realism to this catalogue of aphrodisiacs and erotic lore, interspersing recipes and historical trivia with stories of love and sex from her life and the lives of the famous lovers of the past. Less prurient than passionate, even the book itself is a sensuous experience, printed as it is on heavy paper and lushly illustrated. To be sampled, savored, or devoured, as the mood strikes.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Emily Peck

    This is a very seductive book. As a combintion of cook book, food history book, and dictionary of adphrodisiacs; this book serves as a very informative and useful tool in many areas of our lives ( if you catch my drift). It is also very beautifully written and has lovely artwork within it. I have used this book as research for school as well as for my personal ventures and have never regretted purchasing it. If the sensualty of food is important to your pallete then this book is a must.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Delicious, sensual, funny and well researched read! One to dip in every now and then just for fun and inspiration to concoct that special meal to seduce an object of desire... :-) Great cookbook too!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Karen Wellsbury

    A combination of an essay on the eroticism of food, and a cookery book. The essay is beautifully written and the writing sensual, reflecting both Allende's style and the subject matter. The recipes are a bit hit and miss frankly. A combination of an essay on the eroticism of food, and a cookery book. The essay is beautifully written and the writing sensual, reflecting both Allende's style and the subject matter. The recipes are a bit hit and miss frankly.

  18. 5 out of 5

    BellaGBear

    What an awesome woman is Isabel Allende: witty, sensual and she takes live not too seriously and is not affraid to admit it. This book reads as a warm bath and gives a lot of good ideas if I ever want to seduce someone again.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bobbi Miller

    Interesting compilation of stories about aphrodisiacs and related topics.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kira McGann

    Very sensual reading.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Suanne Laqueur

    I loved every delicious word. A real treat.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Marieke

    I didn't really store much of this in my memory, as is occasionally the case with an audiobook. But also the main purpose of especially the audio version for me was to just let it wash over me in the moments I was listening to it, as a series of individual menus and anecdotes. Two things I've learned: aphrodisiac effect of food is mostly due to its external features (its look, texture, colour, scent, etc), more so than any effect it may cause after ingesting it (again, beyond leaving a scent on I didn't really store much of this in my memory, as is occasionally the case with an audiobook. But also the main purpose of especially the audio version for me was to just let it wash over me in the moments I was listening to it, as a series of individual menus and anecdotes. Two things I've learned: aphrodisiac effect of food is mostly due to its external features (its look, texture, colour, scent, etc), more so than any effect it may cause after ingesting it (again, beyond leaving a scent on the eater, as with garlic or onion). Secondly, the aphrodisiac effect of any food can be increased by cooking together and playing up the sensual factors of every action. All in all, great for short burst of listening.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Aphrodite is the bible of all things aphrodisiac. Focused on good food and good sex, Allende's prose is equal parts mouthwatering and titillating. Allende is proof that women over 50 are not dried-up sexless creatures, and a life spent denying oneself physical pleasure (be it sex or rich chocolate cake) isn't worth living. This book made me throw on a négligé and cook one of its sinful recipes, which my lover and I would proceed to hand-feed to each other while lounging on a dark red velvet chai Aphrodite is the bible of all things aphrodisiac. Focused on good food and good sex, Allende's prose is equal parts mouthwatering and titillating. Allende is proof that women over 50 are not dried-up sexless creatures, and a life spent denying oneself physical pleasure (be it sex or rich chocolate cake) isn't worth living. This book made me throw on a négligé and cook one of its sinful recipes, which my lover and I would proceed to hand-feed to each other while lounging on a dark red velvet chaise.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    A book about sensuality really shouldn't be this dull, but it is (sorry Isabel). Ostensibly, the book is about romance, atmosphere and food as preludes to love-making but human beings know this stuff, unless stymied by an unusual sensory deprivation, and this book adds little to the canon. I get the impression Allende realised her material for the book was a bit thin and has used her considerable skill as a writer to pad it out but it hasn't been enough to rescue the book. And the recipes aren't A book about sensuality really shouldn't be this dull, but it is (sorry Isabel). Ostensibly, the book is about romance, atmosphere and food as preludes to love-making but human beings know this stuff, unless stymied by an unusual sensory deprivation, and this book adds little to the canon. I get the impression Allende realised her material for the book was a bit thin and has used her considerable skill as a writer to pad it out but it hasn't been enough to rescue the book. And the recipes aren't even that great.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Laura Alice Watt

    this voluptuous book I've been reading in little bites, as it's much too rich to read all in one sitting. Allende explores the age-old connections between food and sensuality, including many recipes (I haven't tried any yet, but will if a good opportunity arises!). The best part of this volume is the illustrations, especially the numerous paintings by Martin Maddox and George Tooker, which add a kind of glow to the delicious pages. (1/00) this voluptuous book I've been reading in little bites, as it's much too rich to read all in one sitting. Allende explores the age-old connections between food and sensuality, including many recipes (I haven't tried any yet, but will if a good opportunity arises!). The best part of this volume is the illustrations, especially the numerous paintings by Martin Maddox and George Tooker, which add a kind of glow to the delicious pages. (1/00)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emilia Sur

    A book where you are are just as right in recommending with "bon appetit!" as you would with "enjoy the read!" A fun and light book to read from an author that just seems to love to sink her teeth in delicacies as much as she loves to create stories. Her joy of palate is infectious and she has a knack to dress her stories with the same zest she puts into dressing her dishes her own way. Very relaxing and certain recipes I will certainly try out! A book where you are are just as right in recommending with "bon appetit!" as you would with "enjoy the read!" A fun and light book to read from an author that just seems to love to sink her teeth in delicacies as much as she loves to create stories. Her joy of palate is infectious and she has a knack to dress her stories with the same zest she puts into dressing her dishes her own way. Very relaxing and certain recipes I will certainly try out!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    This book is so fun and creative. It is a combination cook-book and story telling of seduction and how to achieve it. Allende does not shy away at all from talking about how to indulge in the sensuality/sexuality of food, drink and one's partner with the result that it certainly revs the imagination. This book is so fun and creative. It is a combination cook-book and story telling of seduction and how to achieve it. Allende does not shy away at all from talking about how to indulge in the sensuality/sexuality of food, drink and one's partner with the result that it certainly revs the imagination.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mar Kibreet

    Rituals of intimacy, and erotism, mixed with food and surviving instincts. An abysm grows in my heart full of desire for the sensual seduction added with the dreams and spells caused by love. Touch, taste. Wonderful book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Zalorén Za

    Should be read by all those that love and enjoy life to the fullest, and those who are searching to enjoy life to the fullest should read it as well. I have read this book over and over and still find joy in every word.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Raimonda | knygoms

    A witty read on aphrodisiacs combined with family stories, recipes and historical background. It was the first book I read by Isabel Allende, but the sense of humour, captivating storytelling sure did ignite an interest to read some of her fiction in the near future.

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