Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Cups for Tea and a Book meme

I learned about the Hospital-i-Tea-a-Thon from Rosanne at Firefly Nights and since tea is such a big part of my life, I've decided to join in. I'm a little late beginning so have two topics this time.

The Teacup Stories
Assignment: Share a picture of your favorite teacup and explain why it's meaningful.

My favorite teacup came from my Auntie Fay, who isn't really my Auntie at all but a dear family friend who remembered me on all the special occasions of my life and, in practice, was more than any actual extended family to me.

The teacup she gave me is special both for it's beauty and what it represents. The beauty of this teacup speaks for itself. It is fine English bone china manufactured by Shelley China and is light as a feather, very strong, and holds heat well, the hallmarks of good bone china. I do believe a nice teacup does make drinking tea a little more enjoyable and so if you don't have a special teacup I think you ought to consider treating yourself to one!

This teacup is also special to me because of what it represents. My Auntie Fay, you see, is the essence of hospitality and you are never in her home for more than five minutes before she is putting the kettle on. It does not matter the time of day or night a cup of tea in her home means you are in for good conversation and a relaxing interlude. Countless conversations with her family and friends have taken place in her snug kitchen around a teapot covered by a wonky tea cozy and a plate of cookies. The essence of true hospitality to me.

Assignment: Share tea from the perspective of literature.

This second topic is an easy one for me. No question, the literary influence goes to Alexander McCall Smith and his The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series featuring Precious Ramotswe. It is entirely due to the protagonist Precious Ramotswe drinking daily cups of red bush tea while she ponders human nature that I have become a devotee of this tea myself. It is also known as Roobius herbal tea and I like it best in the plain unadulterated version that I buy from The Lavender Tea Company in San Clemente. I understand you can also use it in cooking - something I must look into.

A BOOK meme!
I'm always looking for a good book. I ask friends and strangers alike what they are reading and the all important question - is it a good book? So when Bridget at The Ravell'd Sleave tagged me with a book meme I thought what a great idea! I must confess, it's no longer quite the same meme as I've modified it a little to focus more on sharing favorite books.

1. What book are you currently reading?

I've only just started reading The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler. Unfortunately I'm not far enough along to say much about it other than I would not recommend it to someone unfamiliarity with all of Austen's books.

Next up for me is The Grenadillo Box by Janet Gleeson. It's a mystery set in 18th century England. I've read several Janet Gleeson books including The Serpent in the Garden and The Thief Taker and, having enjoyed both of them, imagine I'll enjoy this one too.

2. When you think of a good story what are the first 3 books that come to mind?

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Such a creative and well written story. Winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards it is a standout in science fiction.

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier. Novel set on the cold British moors with mysterious goings on. Classic.

The Peaceable Kingdom by Jan De Hartog. Historical novel surrounding the Quaker movement. I just find these characters and their story compelling.

Honorable mention: Mr Puffy's favorite is Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls. He tears up just at the mention of the book. Such a beautiful and sad story. If you have a young teenager on your hands this summer give them this book.

3. Which 3 books would you recommend for summer 2008 beach reading?

Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach. Set in 17th century Amsterdam this story brings to life an extraordinary set of circumstances.

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke. An adult fairy tale about English magic.

Any Tea Shop Mystery by Laura Childs. Very light and fun reads.

4. Any knitting book(s) you care to share?

The Knitter's Gift, An Inspirational Bag of Words, Wisdom, and Craft, edited by Bernadette Murphy. I received this book free along with a large purchase of Fleece Artist Yarns that I made several years ago, to knit a blanket. Yes, I have knit a blanket. The book is filled with individual stories of how knitting has impacted various lives. Some of the stories are rather sad and poignant. While I would not run out and buy this book, if you are looking for a gift insert in a basket I think it would serve rather well for that purpose.

I now get to tag three bloggers and I'm tagging Rosanne at Firefly Nights who is a really talented writer, photographer, fiber enthusiast and all round clever blogger who I know will have some good books to share; Hilary at The Yarniad a fantastic knitter and I'm just nosy about what she likes to read; and Denise at The Knitting Den who I share a lot in common with including a British mother and a shared passion for Christmas fruitcake (I'm using her recipe this year) so I'm curious what books she likes. I actually would like to know what everyone reads so if you would like to share please don't wait for a tag.


chanknits said...

Mugsy is mad about Harry Potter, and Sissy has yet to discover that there are "story books" as opposed to the knitting/spinning/crochet books she has seen. Mugsy and I can't do very sad stories...

That's a lovely teacup. I've decided I'm going to buy a matching pair of some sort for a houseguest coming in another week or so. We'll have tea together, and then she can take one home to treasure, and I'll begin my teacup collection.

Denise said...

Well I think this meme might be a little easier for me, so I'll play along later today when I get more time on the computer :-) I've actually got The Jane Austen Book Club on my shelf waiting to be read ;) I didn't want to start it yet cos I'm waiting on a book for this months book club read (I'm in a neighborhood book club) and didn't want to have two books going at once. The one we'll be reading this month is Beach Road by James Patterson. I'll write more about them all on my blog later.

Denise said...

Oh, and my hubby has just read Enders Game and the two sequels after that. They don't really seem my cup of tea though (or should I say coffee cos I don't like tea, LOL) :)

Hilary said...

Aw, you're so sweet! I'm very excited to answer this meme. :) Thanks for tagging me!

Marie said...

Your teacup is very pretty. I just use plain ole coffee cups when drinking tea. I thought a cup was a cup. I'll have to splurge and find myself a good teacup. Thanks.

And I love Jane Austen. She's a fantastic author. I don't think I realized it the first time I read her, but when I went back and reread her stories I picked up on the nuances. She has a great sense of humor.

Bridget said...

Well, I've been sucked in to the tea blogging group, as a result of your post. It just seems like such a neat idea!

I like the way you have adjusted the meme, and will have to take a look at some of the books you mention.

Please don't make Mr Puffy cry ...

Linda said...

Your Shelley teacup is beautiful!!

Denise said...

I also wanted to mention that I found your tea info very interesting. I really do wish I liked it, it's rather decadent I think to take tea in the afternoon with mini sandwiches and petit fours, but I just don't like the taste.
Funny thing is when I first vacationed in the states many years ago, we tried iced tea and it was AWFUL!!!! I still felt that way about it when I moved to the US 10 years ago, but when I got pregnant 7 years ago, I had a taste one day when I was really very thirsty.... and I've been drinking it ever since :-)

Grace Yaskovic said...

I think that tea cup is just beautiful!!!

Monika said...

What an interesting post! I haven't read as much as I'd like to lately, so I'm happy to see if our Library has some of those books you mentioned.

Hilary said...

P.S. Your teacup is absolutely gorgeous and I loved the description of your Auntie Fay. I agree with you that tea tastes better from a nice teacup -- and it's even better when you have a nice reminder of special memories!

Silvia said...

Great post- my mom is a serious tea drinker(I'm still a coffee gal, but I love my mugs), and I have a stash of Red Bush Tea in my house for when she comes. On our last long drive, we listened to the Kalahari Typing school for Men- I love those books. I'm reading a JA knock-off right now (a modernize, role reversal of P&P) I'll let you kow if it's worth the time!

Miss Sandy said...

Tea and books a wonderful combination! I'll have to check out some of the great reads you have mentioned. Your cup is darling and so is your story of your aunt.

ellen b said...

Your tea cup is so dainty and sweet. Enjoy sipping from it. Oh and I just read Chanknits comment. What a lovely idea to buy a pair of tea cups to share one with a friend. I like that idea...

knitting dragonfly said...

Lovely tea cup, and good blog links. Thanks

fireflynights said...

So much to comment on.

My mother's friends all carried the title "Aunt" although it seems to have fallen out of favor in lieu of just letting everyone's kids address adults by their first names. And they, like your Auntie, also remembered me for birthdays and Christmas. I think hospitality was more important to the ladies of that era than it is to many people now. My mother always welcomed people into her home and fed them whatever she had, even if she hadn't expected them, and sometimes when she didn't even want company.

I've never been a Rooibos fan but would like to start reading some of the tea mysteries. And, I'll work on the meme as soon as I get caught up with reading the blogs I'm behind on.

I'll e-mail comments about the Red Fern book.

Sweet Necessi-Teas said...

Lovely tea cup! Thanks for sharing it's story!

As for good reads, I love Jane Austen. I have read all of her books over and over...

Sherry said...

You inspired me to post one of my favorite tea cups along with the book I'm currently reading and my current knitting project to Flickr.

I love the teacup from your Auntie. It's very special. I have friends who I've known for 20+ years. Their kids call me Aunt.

Reading about the books you've enjoyed, makes me want to read more Classics. I haven't read any in years.

La Tea Dah said...

Thank you for a great post and for joining in on the Gracious Hospitality tea blog-a-thon. I enjoyed your post very much. Your aunt did have the essence of hospitality down to a loving science! And your Shelley teacup is beautiful (and valuable --- I only have one Shelley in my collection and it isn't nearly as pretty as yours). Thank you for the book referral as well. I will check into it. I'm glad you joined in the Gracious Hospitalit-i-Tea fun!