It’s about time one of these was directly about tea, right?
Recently, I joined a new subscription service—this time for a monthly shipment of four carefully curated loose leaf teas. Tea Runners, for those who may not be aware, is the creation of husband and wife team Charlie Ritchie and Jewel Staite. They taste teas and pick their favourites—the best ones—for each shipment. I also know through social media this selection process can include going to tea expos. Frankly, I am jealous about that—I would love that sort of thing.
Anyways, I stumbled across Tea Runners because I happen to be a fan of Jewel’s work as an actress and tea—so naturally this had to pop up on my radar at some point. My ultimate decision to try it largely stemmed from adjusting my tea stash and a desire to try new things. But enough of the background here. Let’s dive in:
“The Force is with me,” he repeated. “And I am with the Force.”
Last year I read all of the novelizations for the original Star Wars movies, the prequels, and for The Force Awakens. I distinctly remember The Revenge of the Sith being my favourite out of those, given the insight into Anakin’s mind and also my enjoyment of the politics in the prequels. It made sense for me to pick up this one, then, and complete my read of the novelizations for all the movies.
For those who may not know, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story takes place just prior to the beginning of A New Hope, and revolves around the team who went on a mission to retrieve the plans for the Death Star. The stakes, as you might expect, are very high.
“… she refused to allow anyone – even Miguel – to refer to Majnoun as ‘her’ dog.
– I’m as much his as he’s mine, she’d insist.
Her friends – and her husband – thought this an annoying eccentricity. Majnoun knew what she meant – that she was not his master – and he was grateful. But in his heart he felt as if he did belong to her, in the sense that he was a part of Nira and she a part of him.”
Winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize.
Winner of Canada Reads 2017.
These are just two of the major competitions and awards Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis has won. However, these are not the reasons why I decided to read this book, though the competitions prior to this book winning, were what brought it to the forefront of my mind on numerous occasions. The primary driver for reading this was, of course, how it was assigned as a book for my monthly library book club. So now that I have covered this, let’s get down to it.
Fifteen Dogs, at first glance, reminds me of Animal Farm by George Orwell, simply as it is a novel told through the perspective of animals, and happens to deal with heavy themes. Both are not for children (though somehow I read Animal Farm at 14). The main basis for Fifteen Dogs is a bet between Hermes and Apollo, in which fifteen dogs staying at a Toronto veterinary clinic are granted human consciousness. Of course, things are not as smooth and happy as we would like them to be, as the dogs struggle with new thoughts and feelings and forge relationships like no other. One dog even becomes a poet!
“Sometimes the right person tells the right story at the right moment, and through a combination of luck and design, a creative expression gains new force.” ― Lin-Manuel Miranda
This is the second time I’ve tried to write a post for this week’s Time For Tea. I’ve had a lot of things swimming around in my brain for the month of September, quite a few of which are tied up into students returning to school, whether it’s to university or to high school. Specifically, my nostalgia over being finished with my education (at least for the foreseeable future).
“In essence, being alive is a bloody long and hard walk to death. Why not make it as pleasant along the way as you can?”
The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley is an interesting novel, to be sure. I read one of her books last year, The Girl on the Cliff, and really enjoyed it so I thought I would give another one of her books a shot. It is similar to The Girl on the Cliff, in that it has flashbacks and interesting connections between characters. At the same time, however, I found this one was entirely different. Now, I know this is a different book, but at the same time…well, let me tell you about it.
The Lavender Garden details the story of a powerful French family, money, espionage, secrets, and the war. We switch from “present” time when Emilie de la Martinières is inheriting her family’s legacy (so to speak), to the past, where we get to read about the story Emilie uncovers for ourselves.