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The Book of Tea,
by Kakuzo Okakura
Narrated by Mike Rosenlof
Originally written in English in 1906
44 pages / Audio: 2:05 hours
Wow, I’m thrilled to start my Japanese Literature Challenge with this wonderful little classic.
I also listened to it for The Classics Club
I learned a lot about tea, its origin, the three major eras and ways of enjoying it – boiled, whipped, and finally steeped. Only recently have we been steeping it. And did you know it used to be drunk with salt in it?
The book also shows the tea journey from China to Japan and beyond.
But the book is so much more. It’s about Teaism, about its philosophy, its culture, and its association with so many art domains though the great tea masters. Actually originally, it was drunk in monasteries, like a sacrament.
The book also highlights some sad differences between Eastern and Western cultures in our ways of receiving and respecting the world around us, especially in the time the book was written (1906). What would he say now!!
There are some beautiful sentences.
And now I have another author to try as there’s a reference to “Chikamatsu, our Japanese Shakespeare”.
You can read the book for free here.
ADDITION on 1/16.
I was curious, so I read another introduction to the book. Kakuzo Okakura is a very interesting person, bridging East and West. In the Penguin Classics edition, it is said that it is in this book that “Frank Lloyd Wright first came across the idea of interior space that inspired his own ‘architecture of within'”.
Kakuzo Okakura had also connections with Isabella Gardner.
(Alex Rider #4)
by Anthony Horowitz
I enjoy these thrillers by Anthony Horowitz. Just as smart and suspenseful as his adult books. This time, young Alex is in vacation in France when all hell breaks loose.
Don’t read the Goodreads synopsis, which takes away all the suspense by the way. On the beach, Alex sees a dangerous man who almost killed him in one of his previous adventures. Alex is curious and wonder if they are looking for him. Then, his girlfriend’s house is bombed in front of his eyes, and Alex wants really to know what’s going on, who is after whom, and why. He’s making very dangerous choices to figure it out.
I liked the tough part where he has to survive in a computer game environment, though it was for real, based on the design of a game.
There were some fascinating descriptions of factory and planes – I can’t tell you more, because of spoilers.
It got totally insane near the end, but I guess you need that type of things to keep young boys interested.
Actually, my library has this series in the children department. That might work for book 1 in the series, but I think this is really YA. I was actually debating if I wanted to keep reading (there are 12 total), but then Alex and the reader got very stunning revelations at the very end of the book. It totally changes the perspective of the series, and now I absolutely need to know what’s going to happen next, so I will definitely read volume 5!!
This was a fast read, perfect for bout of books week!!
I also finished Perfect Little Children, by Sophie Hannah.
I’ll post my review on January 15
Theological Territories: A David Bentley Hart Digest
Received for review through Edelweiss
Release date April 15
Orthodox theology book on Edelweiss! By an author I like! It’s actually a collection of 26 essays.
See details below in the Book Journal section.
Sanshiro, by Natsume Soseki (1908)
Reading for the Japanese Literature Challenge 13 and for The Classics Club (spin).
“Sōseki’s work of gentle humour and doomed innocence depicts twenty-three-year-old Sanshirō, a recent graduate from a provincial college, as he begins university life in the big city of Tokyo. Baffled and excited by the traffic, the academics and – most of all – the women, Sanshirō must find his way amongst the sophisticates that fill his new life. An incisive social and cultural commentary, Sanshirō is also a subtle study of first love, tradition and modernization, and the idealism of youth against the cynicism of middle age.”
The Haunted Bookshop (1918), by Christopher Morley
I was going to listen to another audiobook, and suddenly I remembered I so enjoyed Parnassus on Wheels recently, that I might as well listen to its sequel right away.
BOOK UP NEXT
Received in 2019 through Edelweiss
Will be reading for Japanese Literature Challenge 13
“Minami is the daughter of Mr Nishino’s true love.
Bereaved Shiori is tempted by his unscrupulous advances.
His colleague Manami should know better.
His conquest Reiko treasures her independence above all else.
Friends Tama and Subaru find themselves playing Nishino’s game, but Eriko loves her cat more.
Sayuri is older, Aichan is much younger, and Misono has her own conquests to make.”
LAST 2 BOOKS ADDED TO MY GOODREADS TBR
Siri, who am I?
Release date 5/5/2020
It may be out of my comfort zone, but I’m intrigued by the geeky and social media based mystery.
“Memento gets a Millennial makeover by debut author Sam Tschida in this smart and edgy comedy about a Kardashians-obsessed woman who wakes up in an LA hospital with amnesia, a torn party dress, and a broken iPhone and must work backward, using her Instagram account, to piece together her identity, only to discover that her life is a perfect lie.”
Scorpia (Alex Rider #5)
As explained above, at the end of volume 4, Alex Rider receives stunning revelations, and he knows they are connected with something called Scorpia. I absolutely need to know what this is all about!!
NO BOOK RECEIVED THIS PAST WEEK
📚 Wow, am really loving The Book of Tea (1906) (apart from the fact that I’m listening to a free audiobook, and alas this time the Librivox narrator is rather boring), I’m learning all kinds of fascinating information on “tea-ism“, its philosophy, its evolution in history – I had no idea there were three different eras, with different ways to drink it. Originally, it was even drunk with salt!
So proud of me I managed to review 2 books today!
1/6 – #boutofbooks week
📚 Nativity Eve. I was shocked by all I managed to pack today. Thanks to all the latest preparations needed for Church (food, gifts -besides the spiritual preparation!!), I managed to read a lot for Bout of Books 27.
📚 Theological territories: the first essay is more about literary criticism, though there are some theological elements. It’s about Tragedy and more specifically a reaction to Rowan Williams‘ The Tragic Imagination. Alas, I haven’t read this text by Williams, and shame on me, I haven’t read Medea (by Euripides) either (now added to my TBR!!) But I have read and studied closely Antigone, by Sophocles. So it’s hard to follow some arguments. I actually tend to disagree with some I can follow, and I’ll present that in my review.
📚 Eagle Strike: It’s definitely by the great Anthony Horowitz, with the same tension and suspense than his adult books, like for instance The Sentence is Death.
While on vacation on a French beach, the teen Alex recognizes the guy who almost killed him in a previous adventure (this is book 4 of the series, which I’m determined to read completely). As he follows him to see what he is up to now, he witnesses the bombing of his friend’s house, and from there, gets more and more involved and dangerous territories.
📚 Sanshiro: I’m actually still reading the introduction, which is a chronological survey of Soseki’s very depressing life. I had no idea! I keep reading the intro, because I think it will now give me a very different POV on his books.
And I finished listening to The Book of Tea, reviewed above.
1/7 – #boutofbooks week
📚 Nativity, so time in Church again, with such a powerful celebration. I actually love it that my Church follows the Julian calendar (that is, 13 days behind the Gregorian or civil calendar). So December 25 is more family time, with alas no religious element at all. But then, January 7 is really focusing on what happened when God came to live With Us on earth.
📚 With the little time for reading left, because I was so exhausted, I just read from Eagle Strike. Super easy read. I like how Alex has now to go through what’s the 3D reality of a virtual game.
At the beginning of this series, it was pretty mild, but plots have been getting fairly violent. I’m surprised my library has this series in the children section. Should definitely be YA.
1/8 – #boutofbooks week
📚 I keep listening to the Book of Genesis. I’m in chapter 24. Interesting how the format changes the way of reading: when I read it in print, it becomes meditation, prayer, or study. Listening to it makes me more attentive to the literary and story telling aspects.
📚 I finished Eagle Strike, see review above
1/9 – #boutofbooks week
📚 I decided to stop publishing my Read or Skip posts on Saturday for a while. Most of the books I have added on my TBR are unknown to most bloggers, so I’ll find other ideas to clean up as necessary.
📚 I wrote the above review for Eagle Strike
1/10 – #boutofbooks week
📚 With Nativity and its various celebrations, I’m almost as exhausted as after Pascha – sorry, only my Eastern Orthodox friends will understand this!
I was hesitating to participate in #boutofbooks this week, I should have chosen the way of wisdom, lol.
📚 So, I am not reading much (translate: I have to be super super exhausted then!!), BUT I’m thoroughly enjoying Sanshiro.
The ebook I’m reading is The Penguin Classics edition (ISBN13: 9780140455625), which is really cool: besides the very enlightening chronology of Soseki’s life (see above at 1/6), there’s a fantastic introduction by my dear Haruki Murakami. Sublime, a real piece of literary criticism, plus containing elements about Muramaki’s own life, and why this book is one of his favorites.
So far, I really enjoy the writing, with its great flow, nice images. But I’m not sure I like Sanshiro’s character and his lack of determination.
1/11 – #boutofbooks week
📚 So glad I had to do ironing. I finished listening to the Book of Genesis.
And I started The Haunted Bookshop (see above). Loving it! Available here.
We think we recently invented the concept of bibliotherapy. Well, it’s right there in this book written in 1918, even with this name!
It was unreal to hear the author mention The Book of Tea, that I just finished reading myself!!
“People need books, but they don’t know they need them” – Chapter 1
THIS PAST WEEK ON WORDS AND PEACE/FRANCE BOOK TOURS
COMING UP ON WORDS AND PEACE
January 6-12 was: Bout of Books 27
1/13: Final Bout of Books recap
and Book review: The Fascinating Animal Book for Kids
1/14: Book review: Essential Keto Bread
1/15: Book review: Perfect Little Chidlren
1/16: Book review: Minimalism Room by Room
1/17: Book review: Breakfast Cookbook
January-March: Japanese Literature Challenge 13
HOW WAS YOUR WEEK?