Monday, 23 November 2009
Library tea book haul
The other day I collected a bumper stash of tea books from my local library - I was most impressed with the selection that a search for 'tea' on the catalogue brought up. I'm working my way through them gradually. I read some of Tea: East and West, which was published as a follow up to an exhibition of tea art and wares at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2000, to Pippin (he slept through it, but I found it all very interesting; and it's full of beautiful images, I wish I could have seen the original exhibition).
I'm currently part-way through The Chinese Art of Tea by John Blofeld, which is more irritating than anything else, particularly for the author's chronic overuse of exclamation marks (never a signifier of scholarly merit) and (to my mind anyway) many patronising references to 'simple peasants'. I'm also not well-versed enough in Chinese history of any sort to be able to judge for myself whether the representation of Chinese tea cultures throughout the ages is historically accurate, and have no idea whether the translations offered by the author of various classic Chinese tea texts are good ones. Some footnotes would be reassuring; alas, there are none. Still I will persevere.
I was also pleased to find a copy of The Tea Ceremony at the library - I saw it for sale in the cookbook section of a large gourmet foods store a few months ago, but it was relatively expensive and I didn't have the time to peruse it properly to determine if it were worth the investment. I'll be able to make a decision about that shortly, though.