As autumn arrives, many of us look forward to crisp fall evenings curled up with a steaming mug and a good book. This anthology of essays, stories and poems devoted to the art and comfort of tea is as warm and soothing as that hot cuppa.
A Tea Reader is divided into five "steeps," each illuminating a different aspect of tea: its effect on the individual, its ability to create fellowship, the formal and informal rituals attending it, the joys and hardships of careers in tea, and the travels of tea enthusiasts. Readers will connect with fellow tea lovers throughout history, from ancient Chinese poets to 19th-century authors to modern-day authorities. Rudyard Kipling details his visit to a Japanese teahouse; New Orleans tea seller George Constance rebuilds his shop after Hurricane Katrina tears it down; other writers recount the beginnings of their own love affairs with the leaf.
While the book's topic alone makes it the perfect gift for the tea enthusiast in your life, the selections all are also skillfully written, whether somber, joyful or educational in tone. Most share a contemplative, peaceful sensibility (often achieved over a cup of Earl Grey). So although at least a passing appreciation for tea will further readers' appreciation, any fan of good writing will enjoy sampling the contents... even, dare it be said, those who prefer coffee.
***This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness Readers Edition. Sign up for this free and awesome newsletter at http://www.shelf-awareness.com for the latest news and reviews! This review refers to an ARC provided by Shelf Awareness.***