Author Archives: The Tea Library
Hi folks!! I have been missing in action for a while and I am rusty as nails left out in the rain all week. That being said, lets just be happy to see one another and worry too much about the time spent apart right? right! I knew you would understand 🙂 much obliged!
Moving along about books now. I have been somewhat of a promiscuous reader and I have stickied my fingers from having them in so many different pots at the same time lol!
So let me just present a short…er…maybe that’s not exactly accurate, but here follows a list nonetheless of all the books I have had my nose in all for the past month:
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Horse Stealers and Other Stories by Anton Chekov
Clochemerle-les-Bains by Gabriel Chevallier (the funniest read by far)
Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
Room by Emma Donoghue
They are all very thrilling and I will relish over them until they are all done and hopefully provide reviews for all of them soon. I have read other books during the “vacation” that I took, but by now am sure I actually don’t remember some of the story lines- let alone some of the characters. Am I the only one that seems to forget about a book almost a week after reading it and then feel guilty about it? As if I feel like I have let down the characters in some way…Nobody??Anyone? Okay glad to see you’re all crazies then 😀 LOL!
Of course I was not just going to leave like that. Here’s a poem I wrote a while back and it made me a little melancholic when I reread it. Let it speak to the few of you out there that are ever in a bind.
There are people in my curtains.
They tell me things. Nice things.
But only when I am alone.
They are not always around, no… Not always.
They talk to me un-summoned, always when I need.
Sometimes I want them to talk,
But only and always…when I need.
In my unspeakable bliss, they share it with me,
It was so, on my graduation.
In my knotty nervousness, they speak with calm and cool,
It was so on my wedding.
In my loneliest depression, they keep me company with banter,
It was so during my rehabilitation.
For now they are not talking.
I want them to
I am not in need however.
If they do talk, I will tell them everything.
About the tests,
The horrid stuff that makes me numb.
I will tell them all!
How the orderlies smile, indifferent in their mundaneness.
The nurses with their feigned love.
Behind those eyes- pity and fear.
When I sleep, they say my mind is gone,
And nobody cares about my hands being cold.
Yes, yes, I will tell.
Today I am sure they will talk.
Who? Why, the people in my curtains of course!
They whisper things, nice things.
But only when I am alone.
That’s all for today folks, now I am off to a most needed tea break 😉 Cheers!
“The buying of more books than one can read is nothing less than the soul reaching toward infinity.”
~A. Edward Newton~
“A bibliophile of little means is likely to suffer often. Books don’t slip from his hands but fly past him through the air, high as birds, high as prices.”
~William Lyon Phelps~
As my field work intensifies, so do my posts become more and more sporadic. I am here to amend that however for the present moment, so on to our lovely day’s agenda. Since I have been on the road for most of this month, I have been soaking in a lot of books, but before I go on excitedly about my new library additions, let me shed a little light on last month’s book-club read, “Purple Hibiscus” by Nigerian-born Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The book is set in post-independence Nigeria and circles the daily happenings of the members of a well to do family and their struggles with a controlling overly religious( almost a zealot) father as the main antagonist. The story as seen from the eyes of a teenage girl (the younger of the 2 siblings), Kambili, is both very descriptive and if I may say genuine and raw. The author is able to pull you in two directions at once and show you real moral dilemmas that face real African people. Its needless to say that I absolutely loved it and I was thoroughly disappointed at not having a chance to dissect it over a hot cuppa tea! My fantastical vision of what the book-club meeting would be, but was not to be, since I was not in attendance (i desist from expounding 😦 …sigh!) The book really resonated with me and I could not put it down at all,reading it everywhere especially in matatus. Lol!
Matatu readers will understand that,though there is nothing worse than being stuck in notorious Nairobi traffic, it is a saving grace to be unavoidably stuck with a good book! It is like a a quiet way of yelling, “Suck on that Traffic!!! “. Annnnnnnnnddddd we move away swiftly from these and other small victories on to the massive victory of book-thrifting. There is this street where I always find such treasures for as little as Kshs. 50 and I inevitably cannot resist the urge to fill my tiny house with yet more books that I intend to read. You can say I’m a bit of a bibliophile. It is right outside the old Ukwala Supermarket on your way to bus-station from Afya Centre. They are old and dusty and smell of such knowledge, I digress however. My most valuable find for this week is “The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger, which has become my favorite traffic read. The movie was magnificent and I have been wanting to read the book having discovered that the movie was an adaptation. Later analysis coming up soon, stay tuned folks!
I knew this was going to be a bumper post, but stick with me its almost done :). I was on my way to yet another interview for work today and this poem simply made its way from my day-dreaming to my notebook. Check it out and let me know what you think please.
SMILING IN TRAFFIC
5 am, rise and stretch
Still sleepy, need to pray.
Where’s my toothbrush?
Pizza breakfast yay!
6.15 am, we’re rushing out
Three flights down
Lets hit the road
Monday Morning Rush!
An hour later
Still in a ‘jam’
Happy and contented
My eyes silently ask
“Yes! Indeed it was!”
His own answer mine
Local radio shows
Lulling him to sleep
I take out my book
‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’
We share the earphones
I doze off.
8 am, I’m already there
Let’s goodbye now
“Can’t wait till next time”
My eyes quickly say and shine
We Smile again.
Happy to share
Some special secret
Reveling in its exclusivity
“Thank you”. My eyes speak
He smiles again, “You’re welcome”
And off to work I get
My heart is full
I dance as I walk
And think of
Peppermint tea and of
Smiling in traffic.
Have a good week folks! This month’s book-club read: “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
“Vatsyayana says, that as variety is necessary in love, so love is to be produced by means of variety”
“Though a man loves a girl ever so much, he never succeeds in winning her without a great deal of talking”
~Vatsyayana (“The Kamasutra”)~
I have been crazy busy off late and consequently neglected to write but with a few stolen minutes this is is my review on ” The Kamasutra” by Vatsyayana. So I am here to set the record straight:
1. It is not a book of pictures of sexual positions (somebody say gutter?) it in fact, has not a single picture!
2.It is not a book of sage wisdom on sexual positions either
3. it is also not an instructional manual for sex (u can check out sexykenyan.com or crocodildo.com for those 😉 , sorry no links, ha!)
It is however, a book on sexual relations. At least that part is down right with most people I have spoken to. It was written by Vatsyayana (not sure why he/she didn’t have another name, or who they really were as an authority on sex, so to speak…) and not much is said of the author anyway. It seemed more like the book came from the opinions of very well known Indian “sex experts” (term very loosely used) and was actually written by their scribes or followers/ believers.
That aside however, it starts off on explanations on the different levels of passion in both men and women and of different kinds of sexual union and the right or wrong status of said unions according to Indian culture (no mention of which religion was subscribed to at the time, but am guessing it might have been Hindu- am not positive on that fact). After the first few chapters that discuss the do’s and dont’s of sex in a very narrow view, the rest of the book delves into the living situations of lovers and marriages and the guidelines need to follow a whole array of things such as; juggling lovers, seduction, extortion of lovers and love games as part of a climb to fame and fortune.
I will not lie, this read was purely out of curiosity and I am even a bit surprised that I managed to finish it (I’m notorious for book abandonment and floozyness with books). I certainly did not enjoy reading this book. It felt very biased to me as a woman and not at all considerate of all the factors that play into everyday life. It was too its-a-man’s-world for my liking, despite the fact that I knew it was written about a century ago and it was a man’s world then, I just kept forgetting the fact and sneering at the writer’s audacity as I read. My personal opinions aside, it is quite informative on many levels especially if you find yourself in a less than moral situation with no qualms about being selfish and hedonistic.
In other news, I am currently and hurriedly engrossed in my book club read for this September (happening on Friday the 28th- tomorrow people! yikes! at the iHub between 1&2 pm) “Purple Hibiscus” by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
So far all I can say is…superb! I don’t think I will be going for lunch today 😉 can’t get enough. The discussion tomorrow should be interesting, stay tuned for a run-down this weekend.
Have a happy Thursday people!
Hey, hey, hey!!! The week has begun on quite an upbeat tone, can’t wait to see how it ends however, that being said (no offense Monday- nobody likes you 🙂 With all the hard partying and eating it was difficult to get through my weekend read, (did I mention the whole of Nairobi was at the Mingle event?…just explosive!!) and for some reason I am unable to read it in traffic in matatus. It might be a case of misplaced modesty or simple irritation at the interest with which I am suddenly regarded soon after unleashing my copy of “The Kamasutra” in a matatu. I may also have a bit of reader’s block (inability to get ahead in my reading), which is very frustrating at the moment, (sigh!!). So to help me in my quest to get back into the literary band wagon I picked up reading Sir Conan Author Doyle’s “The Valley of Fear“. There’s nothing quite like a good mystery thriller by the literary world’s most famous detective to get me back in the groove. Lets hope Sherlock Holmes works!!!
So since I could not possibly bring myself to abandon this post looking so malnourished, here is one of my poems to tide it over with. I wrote it a few years back…lets just say I have had a much brighter disposition since those dark days 🙂 But to pay tribute to every life experience, a small piece of my soul i will expose today. Enjoy and a lovely week to ya!!
Can I borrow a heart?
For mine is broken.
I can carry it in a cart,
Even though it is loaded.
New things I must find,
To overwhelm the old.
The old I wild bind,
And trade them in for gold.
So, can I borrow a heart,
Before it starts to rain?
I will carry it in a cart,
To take away this pain.
Thank God its Friday!!! The week has been a really hectic one and I have not had a moment’s peace to collect my thoughts till now, so the post will be short (phew!) Moving along however, I finally finished my ‘comfort read’- David Copperfield. I call it my comfort read because I have been reading it for the past 3 months now and I just always had it to fall back on when I was in a waiting situation, since it’s on my phone and I just couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I think it was because I completely fell in love with the characters and I could not bear the thought of saying good-bye…oh well! It’s over now and I don’t know what to do with my life. (I kid :p) All the same, am without a comfort read and kinda feeling lost at sea. Any suggestions at this juncture would really lift my spirits.
David Copperfield is a life story of, yes, you guessed it! David Copperfield. It’s a timeless classic, written in a somewhat more romantic style than other Charles Dickens works. It’s a typical highs-and-lows type of self narration that depicts all angles of human interaction, more so in an emotionally objective kind of way (if I may) and it captures all types of personalities and characters that engross and enchant (sigh!). Dora (David’s first wife), her dog Jip, Agnes (his childhood friend), his Aunt and Mr.Dick form a part of his family and friends and Uriah Heep, Miss Dartle and Littimer are the well-formed villains of the work, not forgetting the occasional frenemy- Steerforth and many more who help to make the situations as real world as possible. It will definitely be hard to replace it in the comfort read department.
Earlier in the week I did try to start reading “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, but got lost in all the Southern drawl speak and the story bore no substance for philosophically and so I left it. It may have been because I was trying to read it in a coffee shop with the rain pouring outside and I kept getting distracted by the passersby and the havoc the city descends into at the threat of moisture in the sky, I digress however. The coffee shop in question is a new discovery opposite Nation Centre in Nairobi, Gibsons Coffee. I had a Tea cocktail (which is simply the mixed tea or chai latte with a shot of syrup) as I waited for my date. The hazelnut syrup made the tea taste a bit medicinal,but the caramel syrup was just right. I can’t wait to go back though and try the chai latte with the almond syrup and whipped cream topping. Yum!
I must dash off for prayers but not before divulging my weekend read…”The Kamasutra” by Vatsyayana should be interesting 😉 lol look out for the review on Monday. Ciao people and enjoy your weekend!!
Hey Y’all! I had not initially intended to write a post today, but I just had to share the news. I found a book club!!!! yaay!!! Finally after literally years of looking for literary minds to discuss real books with, I found one. For those of you who have ever tried to join or start one in Nairobi, you will believe me when I say its easier to find the Holy Grail (which has actually never been found…so thats a bad example) but I digress. Th point is I found one at the IHub!! You can sign up and I will definitely be there every month in rain, sun, apocalypse.. (u get the picture) to chat and share about what’s on the book-list and other brilliant bookish ideas! So hip-hip hurrah for the readers in Nairobi!
There is also a book sharing initiative that I would like to spread the word on, because I just want more bookie-types crawling all over this city, yes! 😛 Its being driven by Wamathai, have a look and more than that, take part and share the booklovin pips!!
On another more delish note; I have been pleasantly surprised by Nestea instant ice teas. No surprise that I am always last to discover the reason why some things were popular a few years back, but at least I made it. Anyhuu, having never been a fan of any kind of beverage that is prepared by instantly dissolving some manufactured powder in water, I was delighted when I tried Nestea (tropical flavor). To be honest I only did discover it this late because I urgently needed a water bottle and Nestea had a cheap one (1 litre bottle at 100 bob? wat! o_O!) that came with about 5 sachets free (or was it the other way around?). Either way, it was nice, end of story! There’s no need to get excited, this is only a temporary crush and my long-term relationship with steeped tea (the only kind I can really trust) is in no danger :} while we are on that topic, let me do a quick basic tea types analysis.
Let me just start by saying all the above are actually from the same plant, Camellia sinensis (same as the kind grown in Limuru) but at different stages of oxidation. They are generally referred to as “true” teas which are different from herbal teas for the sake of distinction. White tea is un-oxidized and it follows through to Black tea being fully oxidized. All that matters is that, they are all good for you but provide different kinds and levels of stimulants if u will.
Note :no scientific evidence can back this up however, just user reviews and comments, so please don’t quote me on this, thanks!!
White tea– not very commonly found in Nairobi, it has very little caffeine and brews a light color and flavor. It also contains healthy antioxidants and is the best for skin and complexion.
Green tea- it has only 5-10% the caffeine in coffee per cup. It contains healthy antioxidants. They help maintain cholesterol levels that are already within the normal range, are good for skin and teeth, and can be used as part of your diet to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. This is very popular at the moment (esp. among health aware circles) due to its health benefits. Can’t go wrong!
Oolong tea- it has approximately 15% of the caffeine in one cup of coffee. Most people commonly recognize oolong tea as the Chinese tea served in Chinese restaurants. Oolong teas can be a healthy part of your weight loss plan.
Black tea- it has approximately 20% of the caffeine in a cup of coffee. Black teas help maintain cholesterol levels that are already within the normal range, as well as helping to maintain cardiovascular function and a healthy circulatory system. Black tea which I like to call “Kenya’s good-morning” since no Kenyan can tell me that they have never had a cup of Chai. Lets just say this is what comes to mind when tea is discussed in my country (flavored with half milk and sugar mostly). Some places, especially in shags (rural) the sugar is simply added while its cooking (forget about the diabetics- those are urban diseases in their opinions, lol!) And yes, it is cooked and not steeped or dipped. Brings back memories of venomous stares from my mama, back when I was learning the kitchen ropes and dared to commit the mortal crime of making her afternoon tea with a steeped tea bag, instead of brewing it! Alas, the post has gotten too long…I forget myself when tea is the agenda :}
Watch out for my Herbal teas ramble…