Sunday, February 27, 2011

Middle Sis' February Reads

Actually, I think one or two of these may have been read at the end of January, but does it really matter? They got read, and that's what's important. (Can I have 2 contractions in a row?)

  • The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura (1906) Classic early treatise on the Japanese consumption and use of tea and Japanese culture and philosophy in general. Still an interesting read, even if some of the political and social allusions are a bit dated.
  • The Bake Sale Murder by Leslie Meier (2006) Stronger entry in the Lucy Stone mystery series set in Maine. I was disappointed by the St. Patrick's-themed mystery from a few years later in the series, but this one was better. Probably most readers find the intimate details of her family life the appeal of the series, and while I don't, I admit Meier's portrayal of how children and adults interact and speak is quite realistic.
  • Cape Cod and All the Pilgrim Lands by various authors (vol. 16, no. 4, 1922) Digitized version of a local Cape Cod magazine available for the Kindle, so with my secret desire to someday visit Cape Cod in full sway, I read it. Bits of local history and lore, including some less than interesting information on agricultural produce, but still an interesting slice of life in the 1920s in rural America, and Cape Cod before it became inundated with summer tourists. I'm including it here even if it isn't a real book since I read a book version of it.
  • For All the Tea in China by Sarah Rose (2010) Interesting light historical read about the journey of botanist Robert Fortune to China before it was opened to the West with his explicit intent of stealing tea plants and tea seeds and anything he could smuggle out re: tea manufacture and propagation for the East India Company. Could have been improved with photos and maps, and footnotes for the extensive quoted material. A good read nonetheless.
  • A Mysterious Disappearance by Louis Tracy (1905) Edwardian mystery set in London centered on the mysterious disappearance and death of Lady Dyke. Enjoyable historical mystery.
  • Adopting an Abandoned Farm by Kate Sanborn (1891) Think it's a recent phenomenon that ignorant city folk move to the country to buy an old farm and experience the peace and serenity of rural life? And then pen comical stories of their plight? Nope, it's not. Kate Sanborn, early twentieth century writer and lecturer, rented an old farm and then wrote a short reminiscence of everything that went wrong. Amazingly modern in many ways and thoroughly enjoyable.
  • My Trip Around the World by Eleanora Hunt (1906) Privately published in 1906, this account of her journey was written by Mrs. Hunt for her grandchildren. She and family journey from Chicago through the Orient and India, through the Suez Canal, visited Egyptian monuments, and spent some time in Paris and London. Definitely dated re: perceptions of native culture and peoples, but a quick read that offers an interesting perspective on the Edwardian phenomenon of touring the world and some sites, like the Taj Mahal, that were already tourist Meccas.

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