Lapsang Souchong

Inspired by Sky

Lapsang Souchong and I go way back, well, twenty years back, anyway. I first discovered it on a family trip to Carmel, when I discovered the coolest little tea shop. In my head I refer to it as the magic tea shop because I've been there twice but no one else ever knows what store I mean, or is able to find it. It's like a personal Brigadoon.

The tea itself is sort of the unofficial tea of the beatnik generation, which gives it a poetic and literary reputation that I quite like. Also, in my mental picture dictionary beatniks are always wearing black turtlenecks and berets, even if they don't always look like a very young Bob Denver, and as I'm partial to black turtlenecks and berets you can see the obvious attraction.

The tea itself is dark and smokey, sort of fire roasted. It makes me think of dark cafes with plate glass windows shielding diners from sleet and grey skies, and a crackling fire, with tables circled round it, and open mic nights, with poetry slams. It's great with milk, not so great with sugar, and unlike Earl Grey, better without coming near a lemon. It reminds me a little of Russian blend, which can smell almost like bacon, it's so smokey.

To read more about the tea itself, go here.

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Reading Report – Sept/Oct 2005

As predicted, it's been a lazy day here. Neither of us are feeling great, and Fuzzy's been in an antihistamine haze. We ventured out, in fact, only to feed my addiction to frou-frou coffee.

I have, finally, updated my book blog at, with nine of the eleven books I've read since my last update, on September 11th. (Two were Silhouette novels read strictly for research purposes, and I haven't listed them.)

Also, only the last three were allowed to filter to LiveJournal.

Here's the list, in roughly chronological order.
For my comments, please see the book blog:

  1. Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss
  2. Star Trek Titan: Taking Wing, Michael A. Martin & Andy Mangels
  3. Forgiveness: Wisdom from Around the World, Gillian Stokes
  4. Egalia's Daughters, Gerd Brantenberg
  5. Kushiel's Avatar, Jacqueline Carey
  6. Miracle, Danielle Steel
  7. The Cat Who Could Read Backwards, Lilian Jackson Braun
  8. The Cat Who Went Bananas, Lilian Jackson Braun
  9. Atlantis Found, Clive Cussler

And to answer the question asked by Mr. Parallelogram at Open Diary, I'm currently reading The Baker's Apprentice, by Judith Ryan Hendricks – it's the sequel to an old favorite of mine, Bread Alone.

The rest of the books on my nightstand are listed in the sidebar at the bookblog.

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Atlantis Found

Atlantis Found (A Dirk Pitt Novel)

Clive Cussler

My friend Rana mentioned the movie Sahara, and Clive Cussler books as a guilty pleasure in one of her blog entries, so when I saw several of his books on the library shelf, I picked one at random.

Atlantis Found reimagines the typical lost society of Atlantis and ties them together with a group of Nazi survivors hiding in South America and plotting to take over the world – on the surface not terribly original, except that it's a Dirk Pitt novel which means there are exotic locations and cool gadgets and a sort of Indiana Jones / James Bond sense of fun.

I enjoyed the book a lot, but couldn't talk about it because I knew it would be the type of thing Fuzzy would enjoy, and, indeed, he's been reading it all weekend. I'm not sure I could read Cussler in large doses, but every so often, a visit with Mr. Pitt might not be ill-advised.

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The Cat Who Went Bananas

The Cat Who Went Bananas

Lilian Jackson Braun

From the first Cat Who… book, I jumped to one of the more recent, as I'd lost track of the series several years ago, and felt the need to catch up. Qwilleran and the cats (KoKo aquired a female partner a few books into the series) are in the tiny town of Pickax now, and the characters woven through this story are mostly old friends.

It involves a local production of The Importance of Being Earnest, bananas, bookstores, and real estate.

Enough said.

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The Cat Who Could Read Backwards

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards (Cat Who...)

Lilian Jackson Braun

I read this book years ago – decades even – when my mother still lived in the US, and we used to hit the library together every weekend, sometimes with my grandmother, sometimes not, and take home as many books as we could carry. Together, we worked through all of this series, as well as many others.

In any case, this book was originally published in 1966, but it manages to hold up pretty well, considering, and it's the first in a long series of cozy mysteries about reporter Jim Qwilleran and his crime-solving Siamese cat KoKo.

These books aren't intellectual in the slightest, but they're full of great characters, gastronomic and architectural delights, and mild mysteries that are completely lacking in horror and gore.

Perfect for afternoon tea.
Or for sharing with your mother.

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