In 1939 the British government expected airstrikes from Germany. So they devised a slogan to keep up civilian moral: Keep Calm and Carry On. There were signs and posters designed for the slogan to be hung in shop windows, but they never quite made it to fruition. They survived the Blitz without them, the Brits seen as stalwart in the face of danger, stuck in their routines. I remember the stories of people returning to work in half-destroyed buildings, or setting up just outside. Continue reading
Book: Taxing Heaven’s Storehouse (Part 1)
I’m back. I’ve got a lot to write about, I just have to kick myself back into writing gear again. So I’ve finished classes, and I’m graduating in June; I quit my job so I could take an extra heavy last semester and graduate sooner. I checked this book out two terms ago–normally, as long as there are no holds on a book, you can renew them indefinitely. Unfortunately, since I’m graduating in a month, I was required to return it. I’ve been reading it on and off since Christmas. I barely made it half-way through; it’s a thick book. Thus this’ going to be a two-part review, since once I get my alumni privileges I’ll be checking it out again to finish.
Taxing Heaven’s Storehouse (Horses, Bureaucrats, and the Destruction of the Sichuan Tea Industry, 1074-1224) unofficially belongs to a trilogy of books (that I’ve grouped together) on the evolution of the tea economy in China from about early Tang until at least the end of the ROC. I’ve already reviewed one before (Harvesting Mountains); the other is Green Gold, arguably the most well-known of the three. I intentionally left Green Gold for last; my first intent was to read them roughly ‘in order’, but Taxing Heaven’s Storehouse was such an intimidating book, I went for Harvesting Mountains first. Continue reading
Book: Homegrown Tea
I had an ulterior (well, not that ulterior) motive in picking up this book, and it was mostly just to read the very first section on growing camellia sinensis. To quote the book’s opening paragraph:
“Homegrown Tea is a gardening book for tea lovers. It explains how to grow a large variety of plants from which you can make teas and tisanes. Your own garden, balcony, or even windowsill could become your tea cupboard.”
Book: The Great Tea Venture, by J.M. Scott
Oh hey, I’m actually discussing a book that’s easily available for once.
If you ever wanted a book that focuses exclusively on the history of British involvement in tea (misnomer: there is a bit about Ireland’s involvement), then this is that book. A lot of tea-history books try to cover a bit of everything at once, and that’s nice for a general idea, but a lot of facts get passed over (deja vu, I think I’ve discussed this before). I like picking up books that focus on a particular culture’s tale. I don’t have any preferences (okay, maybe Russia…). Scott does mention the richness and vastness of China’s history in comparison to the UK’s, but establishes that this book will focus on the isles. Continue reading