Sunday, July 26, 2009

Join the "T-Club" Now

A couple of years ago a great friend of mine who is an avid book reader gave me an excellent idea- she suggested that I should keep track of all the books that I read by writing them down. What a novel idea! Especially, since I am known to exclaim at dinner parties that I have just read the most amazing book- the guests stop talking, and all turn to look at me- but, then, of course, I can not remember the title or the author of this amazing book. Oh,well.

Today, I pulled out my T-Club book list, and took a trip down memory lane of my favorites. Year to date, I have read some interesting and inspiring books. Almost all of them have had the “content factor”. I tend to look for substance, as opposed to the popcorn read. Funny, because I could use an escape from daily life at times, but instead of the fast read, I crave books that have characters who possess moxie, as my Mom would say.

Here are a few of my recommendations for a great summer read- Don’t forget the tea pairing!

Power of One, Byrce Courtenay
Wholly Cow, pour yourself a strong brew- because you will not be able to put this book down. Prop your eyes open with toothpicks and prepare to read late into the night. This page turner tells the story of a young British boy and his childhood experiences in South Africa during World War II. A smattering of interesting characters weave in and out of this young child’s life, and time and time again young Peekay shows you just how far “positive thinking” can take you in life. The history of Apartheid is obviously in this book and shadows most of his encounters. Throughout Peekay's many adverse challenges and run-ins, you continue to root for him, and find yourself becoming one of his many cheerleaders. A very compelling read- that inspires you to treat everyone equally and give your best at everything you do in life.
Tea Pairing: Citrus Rooibos
Fittingly, this tea is made from the South African red bush. Its caffeine free and it's great served over ice. Don't worry, you will not need the caffeine push- the energy of this book will carry you through to the end.

Book of Negroes, Lawrence Hill
My sister-in-law who lives in Canada gave me this book for my birthday. It’s in the running for my favorite book of 2009. On the cover, it’s noted that this book was written by a highly regarded Canadian author, Lawrence Hill. Trust me; I plan to seek out his other books soon. I absolutely love books that are fictional but based on historical facts, and even better if they are written from a child’s perspective! Children tend to be extremely honest, and bring a certain realism to the story. This book follows a young African girl who was stolen from her village, and sold into slavery. Aminata Diallo is sent to South Carolina. Having been to Charleston many times, I can not help but think of the many who had faced similar experiences as this young girl did. She is a strong willed and determined young woman who learns to read and write, and through various experiences wins back her freedom. This book follows chapters of history that I was not that familiar with –The Book of Negroes, an actual document that recorded freed Loyalist slaves who requested permission to leave the US to resettle in Nova Scotia & the 1,200 former slaves that returned to Sierra Leone to recapture their culture and truly claim freedom. The account of Aminata’s life is a must read for anyone who is interested in history and loves stories that involve characters with TRUE grit.
Tea Pairing: Keemun Hao Ya A- my favorite morning cup- strong, bold and flavorful. You will be ready for anything that comes your way that day!

The Daily Coyote, Shreve Stockton
My Mom recently loaned this book to me. Uplifting, inspiring, fun, and an adventurous read. This book makes you want to quit your current life, jump in the car and drive to Wyoming. Don’t worry Tea Drinker- I will take you with me. Hey, I brought you to Napa! I love animals, and I love stories revolving around people and their pets. They are typically humorous, rewarding, and endearing. Read: Marley & Me. This book is a memoir about a young woman, Shreve Stockton, who leaves her NYC life behind, moves to a small, small town in Wyoming, lives in a cabin, stumbles upon a new boyfriend, and is given a 10 day old Coyote as a gift. Originally, Shreve is on a mission to write a memoir about driving across country on a Vespa, instead she begins chronicling her life with a Coyote. Check out The Daily Coyote Blog. Truly an uplifting memoir- and you find yourself living vicariously through her adventures!
Tea Pairing: Jade Oolong - a tasty brew that can stand up to multiple infusions, perfect for a page turner.

Other great reads: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and Three Cups of Tea. Pour yourself your favorite Drink the Leaf loose leaf tea.

Suggest your favorite Tea and Book pairing here.

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