Sep 20 2014

We’re starting a Book Group!


While I was attending the World Tea Expo in June, I happened to be sitting in a small lounge area between classes and struck up a conversation with a woman seated near me. You could have blown me over with a feather when I realized I was talking with Lisa See, the author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, and so many other wonderful, best selling novels, including her recently released China Dolls. She is one of my all time favorite authors, so for me it really was meeting a celebrity. I asked what brought her to the Tea Expo and she explained that she had recently returned from visiting the tea growing regions of Yunnan Province in China, where she was researching her next novel, which will revolve around the tea cultures of China. When I asked how she came to focus on primarily Chinese stories in her novels, as to look at her you might think she is of Irish descent, she explained that in her family a handful of relatives look like her, but she has hundreds of relatives who are easily identified as Asian.

Anyhow, this thrilling encounter led me to follow Lisa on Facebook and she recently posted that she would be happy to SKYPE with any book groups discussing China Dolls. This in turn has led me to decide to start a book group here at Nellie’s. I have a few books in mind that I’ve recently stumbled across that have a story line focusing on tea cultures, so I thought people might be interested in including those in our book list. But the group will have the final decisions.

Our Inaugural Meeting will take place Monday October 20th at 6:00 PM here at our shop. Please RSVP or 207-761-8041 so we have plenty of chairs in place. Complimentary beverages will be served. For those who are hungry, a Soup and Scone Special will be available for purchase, but there is no obligation.


Feb 24 2008



This has certainly been a good winter for reading, so I thought I would pass along a few thoughts on some new titles out there.

I was curious about a new book which has been receiving quite a bit of press, The Ultimate Tea Diet, by Mark “Dr. Tea” Ukra. Although recent research clearly supports many health benefits of tea, including slight boost in metabolism, I was curious to see what an entire book on the subject of tea and weight loss would have to say. I am relieved to report that Mr. Ukra’s book also includes sound advice about the importance of healthy food choices and regular exercise. He clearly is enthusiastic about his subject and shares numerous testimonials from happy “Tea Diet” followers. The book includes basic information about tea and its preparation as well as two weeks’ worth of menus and many recipes, all of which include tea as an ingredient.

Although I am reserving judgement until I have a chance to ask the author some questions in person at this year’s Tea Expo, my first thought is following the diet can’t hurt, and it might help. It provides a sensible food plan and might introduce you to some teas you will love.

The book I am currently reading is THE TEA HOUSE FIRE by Ellis Avery. Set in late nineteenth-century Japan, the story chronicles the life of a young American orphan taken in by the family of the premier Japanese Tea Master of the time. Woven among the trials and tragedies of the characters is a priceless description of life with Tea Ceremony during a period of time when the West began to have more access to this exotic and alluring culture. Both the writing and the details of Tea Ceremony are exceptional in the hands of the author who studied Japanese tea ceremony for five years in New York and Kyoto. This book is one to curl up with on a wintry day, as you don’t want to put it down.

Neither of these books is available at Nellie’s, but can be easily found at your local book sellers. I hope you will enjoy some cozy reading. Please feel free to write with some books you have been enjoying.

Best Regards,