First off, I’ve changed the heading of this section from “The Book” to “The Reading” because there never seems to be one solitary book. So I decided reading was more accurate to my grazing fashion. True to form, I’ve had quite the bookworm week. I finished Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder (which was completely enthralling) then moved on to the ARC of my beautiful friend Sarah Jio’s forthcoming second novel Bungalow—shifting from the terrifying and unknown Amazon to the romantic shores of Bora Bora! And now I’m going even further around my imaginary globe: China. I’ve finally cracked the spine on Lisa See’s gorgeous Dreams of Joy, the sequel to Shanghai Girls, which I read when it first came out and thought superb. I even recommended it to my mom who doesn’t like to waste time on anything too starry-eyed. She’s a career educator so she likes her reading (even fiction) to have enlightening girth. I share her need for illumination, but I treasure stories that shed light on a single character’s heart as much as a civilization. Lisa See is an expert at doing both. So I’m into the second chapter today, already remembering how much I adored these folks from Shanghai Girls.
I’ve also been frequently reading the Washington Post this week. It may be homesick induced, but I’m pleased to find the paper featuring a number of amazing subjects. Seven-year-old author Evan Moss and his children’s book “My Seizure Dog” being one that tops my list. Via a Twitter shout-out, my gracious friend J. Courtney Sullivan (Maine, Commencement) came up with the genius idea to put together a fan-mail package for Mr. Moss. Writers across the country are coming together in support of this young author, and it just shows once again the amazing compassion of the literary community. I encourage everyone to check out Evan’s book and consider purchasing to help him achieve his goal.
I’m drinking a cup of green tea called Emperor’s Clouds & Mist from Teavana. I’ll be honest: I bought this tea off the Internet based on name alone. Anything that calls to mind such dazzling imagery deserves to be brewed and sipped in my book. Here’s the company description, which sounds like a flash-fiction fairytale:
Praised as ‘green gold’ for centuries, this smooth green tea with a lingering sweet aftertaste was a favorite amongst Chinese Emperors for many dynasties. One bud & two leaves are handpicked at 3500 ft elevation where the tea trees are always shrouded in clouds & mist.
Clouds & Mist brewed to a chartreuse color, not as dark as other green teas I’ve sampled. It tastes like the morning air after a summer rainstorm: vegetal like most green teas but with a delicate undertone of floral sweetness. I steeped it for one minute for the first cup but was able to get two more cups from the leaves by adding thirty seconds to each additional steep. (An insider trick given to me by the kind Teavana representative.) I think this is a great option for those who aren’t fanatical about the grassy flavor of traditional green teas. Like its name implies, this brew is light as a cloud.
Sarah’s Sipping Summary:
Of course this is the perfect match: Lisa’s main character Joy has just arrived in Shanghai, China, in search of her biological father. Though, I doubt the members of the book’s communist China would approve of such an indulgent “imperial reserve” tea… at least not publicly. So decades later, I’ll drink an extra cup for all they denied themselves. Poor things. We all deserve to sip from an Emperor’s cup every now and again.
Happy Thursday Tea! Cheers, Sarah