Tagchina

Book: The Great Teas of China

The book opens thus: “The Chinese have a saying that reading ten thousand books can’t compare to traveling ten thousand miles.” Wow, I just came here to read a good book, and I am feeling so attacked right now.

It reminds me of some words given to me at a teashop to basically the same effect. The truth is, I love to read; I don’t think book knowledge compares to hands-on experience to any extent, but it also doesn’t hinder it (unless you stubbornly choose to let it). I don’t read to the exclusion of tea drinking, but because I enjoy it and because it gives me something just drinking alone can’t. Continue reading

Book: Harvesting Mountains

I have been reading this book for a while.

It’s not a long book, it’s just been an ordeal and a half to finish it. I checked it out at the beginning of the semester, read a chapter, and then got caught up in textbook readings, essays, and term projects. But finally, with the end of term, I’ve gotten to sit down with this book again.

Tragically, someone before me felt the need to write all of their notes in the book rather than on paper. It’s only in pencil, and so I thought of erasing it myself if it weren’t so extensive. I got a few dirty looks while reading on the train from people who no-doubt saw the scribbles and pinned me as the culprit. Continue reading

Book: Puer Tea: Ancient Caravans and Urban Chic

510M7ygFfbL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_In the wake of the current Verdant Tea scandal, this seems like the perfect read. I started this book a little before the VTF, but juggling schoolwork and leisure reading, I haven’t really gotten to finishing it until recently. And I guess it’s perfect timing, because I think it’s a very relevant read to understanding the current drama. I won’t really be touching on that, because there are already half a dozen other tea-blogs that have covered it in depth, plus threads on TeaChat, r/tea, and Steepster to chronolog the drama (here’s Steepster’s to get you started, if you really haven’t been following the drama). Continue reading

Book: Chinese Tea: A Cultural History and Guide

chinesetea

This was an interesting little book I checked out of a local library. By Liu Tong, and translated by Yue Liwen, I found it informative and colourful. It’s not a dry book, and probably my favourite aspect is how often it goes off on tangents concerning tea lore.

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Book: Tea Marketing Systems in Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka

This would be the book I picked up from my university library some time before Christmas. I feel a bit apologetic writing about a book that, as far as I’ve been able to find out, is just about impossible to obtain. There is a short inscription on the back of the book regarding messaging the United Nations for publications, but it seems to imply that if your local bookstore doesn’t carry it, you’re out of luck.

The UN, however, does seem to have a lot of their articles and books published online now. Although this publication isn’t among them (I know, I spent a tireless evening looking for it, because I liked this enough to want a copy on-hand [though it WAS published in 1996]), I wonder if emailing them might prompt them to post this and similar works online.

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Book: For All the Tea in China

alltheteainchinaFor All the Tea in China is a very sprightly, up-beat work of non-fiction detailing Robert Fortune’s botanical espionage, and the racism of the times. It is, at this point, a Reading Requirement for all new Tea Drinking, Book Loving Recruits (or so I suppose, from Steepster’s general consensus). As some people might remember, I picked this book up… oh… two years ago, just a little while after I had returned from working Up North. I was picking up history books left and right at the time, but I force myself to read all my books in order, so as to make sure no book is left collecting dust for long (except for a small clause which allows me to put any owned book on hold in order to read any book from the library–this is due to the two-week limit imposed on most books, which forces me to finish them in a timely manner).

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Tea and Chai: A Brief History

“Tea” as a word of the English language has enjoyed about four hundred years of use. It’s changed in that time, like most words in the English language; it wasn’t always pronounced “tee”. But that’s getting ahead of myself.

Sinitic “Cha” Derivative
Min Nan Chinese “Te” Derivative
Other Derivative
Figure Source

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Book: The Tea Road: Part 2

I concluded The Tea Road by writing out just under half a dozen pages of notes. Mostly items and subjects I’d like to follow up on, if I could, by finding other resources on the subject. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t related enough directly to the Tea Road for me to string into a linear blog post, unless someone wishes for me to list out a series of random facts about tea (I’ll call a vote on it, and get back to you; I’ll most likely make it anyways, if I lose interest in trying to find out more information on each subject). Although that’s seriously what I’m considering doing.

All in all, I quite liked the book, and despite my earlier qualms (brought up in the first post), I’d definitely recommend it. The author’s story becomes easier to follow as the book progresses, and the habit of reciting the endnotes word-for-word in the text become… less frequent, at least. I’m of the opinion the repeated endnotes are simply the result of an editor who failed to proofread the endnotes alongside the actual text. Continue reading

Book: The Tea Road: Part 1

It’s the end of my latest term, and once again time for me to start up in Independent Studies.

I’ve been waiting all term to check out a certain book from my university library, knowing I wouldn’t have time to read it until after exams. One of the best parts of transferring to a new school is perusing their collection of tea-related books. My last school introduced me to The Book of Tea, and Tea in Japan: Essays on the History of Chanoyu (see Bookshelf for more information).

Here, I’ve found The Tea Road: China and Russia Meet Across the Steppe, by Martha Avery, detailing the lesser-known, Northern cousin of the Silk Road and Tea Horse Roads. Best bet is to look up “Siberian Route” on Wikipedia for more information.

The book details the history of its inception and follows its formation, roughly, from China to Russia.

I’ve been taking notes.

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