Tea and Reading

Ever since I was young, I was a big book worm. My love of reading went from children’s books to R.L. Stine to teen mysteries (like Christopher Pike novels). When I was still in elementary school, I started reading Stephen King and later developed a love for Dean Koontz. Since high school, I’ve been reading more non-fiction than fiction. Give me an interesting physics book, I’m all over it! I love Carl Sagan’s books, they’re so thought-provoking!

The point of all that was to get into how I read The Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzo during my plane ride to Chicago. It was a short read but very insightful. After reading it I felt like I wasn’t such a weirdo for getting so thoughtful during my tea time!

What I loved about this book was the way that Kakuzo related tea to every aspect of life. He explains that Teaism, a term coined by him, could be a way of life and in a way, a religion. It teaches discipline and simplicity. Tea, the process of steeping and serving tea, can be a very long, careful and thoughtful process.

He brought up Taoism and Zen very often. These seemed to relate to Teaism very closely – the teachings of the Tao can be learned through Tea. Actually, the book seemed more centered on these teachings rather than tea, as I’d expected. I was pleasantly surprised and decided to check out the Tao Te Ching from the library over the weekend to do further reading and research.

The Book of Tea is available as an eBook. I read it on my iPod Touch using Stanza, a free eBook reader application for iPod and iPhone. And if you’re more into listening than reading (sometimes it’s much easier!), you can download The Book of Tea as an audiobook.

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