Writing a bunch of monthly columns about tea books, as well as some miscellaneous articles about tea books, I assumed that I was aware of absolutely every tea book that’s been loosed on the world in recent years. But that’s not quite true, as I realized when I was contacted recently by a company that has published a number of tea-related titles. While I wait for the supply of recent and upcoming books to replenish itself a bit I thought I’d take a look at a few volumes I’ve managed to overlook.
Judging from the title there’s no doubt about what The Japanese Tea Ceremony, from a few years ago, is all about. It’s actually a reissue of a 1933 volume by A. L. Sadler, an Australian professor of oriental studies. The publisher claims that “this classic remains the gold standard for books on the five-centuries-old tea ceremony.”
For another variation on the same theme, but one well over a century older, you can try Stories from a Tearoom Window, by Shigenori Chikamatsu. An eighteenth century warrior, Chikamatsu “set down scores of legends, anecdotes and bits of lore to express the essence of the tea ceremony for the edification of tea connoisseurs.” It was first translated into English in 1982 and reissued a few decades later.
While we’re on the topic of Japanese tea it’s a good time to mention The Book of Tea Classic Edition, a deluxe edition of Okakura Kakuzo’s 1906 volume, a volume that has remained in print, in one form or another, for more than a century. Or, in a similar vein, Tea Cult Of Japan, by Tasunosuke Fukukita, which first appeared in the 1930s and which was reissued about seven decades later.
Last up, Healthy Teas, by Tammy Safi, has been around since the early days of the recent tea/health craze. But it’s worth seeking out if you’re looking for “a delightful introduction to the history and healing properties of green tea, the health benefits of black teas, and the life-enhancing attributes of herbal and fruit infusions and decoctions.”
See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.
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