03 October 2011

My Love Affair with Tea

There are few things I cherish more than a steaming hot cup of tea.  I am actually mildly obsessed with all things tea-related...teapots, cups, mugs, saucers, towels, containers, and all the other accoutrements.  It's a life-long love.  Something about the sound of the kettle, the smell of the tea leaves, and the warmth of the cup when I hold it just soothes my soul.

The bloggers in the From Left to Write book club recently read Carry Yourself Back to Me by Deborah Reed, and I was instantly struck by this sentence in her opening pages:
"Steam rises to her lashes from the coffee stalled at her lips.  She lowers the cup and presses its warmth to her chest, into the pocket of chilled bare skim above the zipper of her fleece."
With that, I was hooked.  It helped that on the same page Reed revealed her main character was a singer-songwriter along the lines of Lucinda Williams and Aimee Mann, who I love (to my husband, who is probably reading this and wondering if I'm going to give him credit for introducing me to their music - YES, sweetie, thank you!).  But I related to those two sentences about the morning drink (although hers is coffee) on such a deep level - I love the feel of the cup (or mug) in my hands, I love the feel of the steam on my face when I'm pausing before a sip to look at my kids, and I love when it's chilly outside (or inside, as my husband likes the house much cooler than I do!) and I can feel the warmth of the tea on my skin.  I have so many friends who are die-hard coffee people, and cannot understand my craving for tea.  Don't get me wrong - I like the way coffee smells. That's pretty much where it ends for me though.  I'll drink it if it's my only option (and I rarely turn down a Soy White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks)  but it doesn't speak to my soul the way tea does.  I'm ritual-oriented, and putting the kettle on, stirring in my honey, and watching the leaves steep just calms me.

The rest of the book was every bit as enthralling as the opening pages, and made me want to curl up on the couch with my hot tea and a blanket while I read.  In fact, that's just what I did, and finished it in one sitting one night.  I stayed up super late to do it; I just couldn't put the book down.  I'll review it and give an overview in an upcoming post, as we don't do reviews in the technical sense for our book club.  It's an excellent read, and you should run and get a copy quickly, so I don't spoil anything for you when I share my thoughts on it!

Deborah Reed's debut novel Carry Yourself Back to Me follows heartbroken singer-songwriter Annie Walsh as she digs into the past to exonerate her brother from murder. As a member of From Left to Write book club, I received a copy of this book for review. You can read other members posts inspired by Carry Yourself Back to Me on book club day, October 4 at From Left to Write.

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