Short Library Book Reviews: Part One

I have a fair amount of library books that I have read and need to review and return and feel a bit uninspired to write at length about them, so here goes:

The Short Story Of Film, by Ian Haydn Smith

This book’s title is a bit of a misnomer. From it one would expect that the book is short (it’s not, it’s a usual book length of around 200 pages) and that it is constructed in a narrative form (it is not). Instead, the book contains short discussions of different aspects of film that are designed to present the reader with an understanding both of the technical language of film and film criticism as well as a knowledge of genres and films that are viewed as being important by the author for the reader to know. All of this would be well and good if the author had a good idea of what was significant and didn’t use the book to promote his own agenda so often. Indeed, his tiresome commentary on genres he’s not fond of and his advocacy of genres and movies that he does find significant based on his own background makes this book an example of why contemporary leftist tries to ruin everything with its focus on identity theories of one kind or another. This book, lamentably, falls into that trap.

A History Of Tea: The Life And Times Of The World’s Favorite Beverage, by Laura C. Martin

This book is a short one at just over 200 pages if one includes its interesting appendices and it deals with the legend and history of tea. The author’s book is a solid and enjoyable one if you happen to like tea as I do, and its material begins with a discussion of how tea moves from the shrub to the cup before discussing the history and legend of tea’s origins in Southern China, its spread to the rest of China and Korea, then Japan (including a chapter on the Japanese tea ceremony), then back to tea in the Ming period before exploring the spread of tea throughout the world, the role of the British in spreading tea from China to India and Ceylon, tea in England and the United States, and a look at tea today and tomorrow. This book could certainly be a lot longer, but like a good high tea this particular book will both satisfy and whet the appetite of those who want to know more about the history of tea and its cultivation.

The Tea Book: All Things Tea, by Louise Cheadle and Nick Kilby

This book is certainly a large book, coming in at 200 full sized pages, but it seems a bit of a stretch for any book to consider itself “the” tea book instead of “a” tea book. The book’s contents are pretty straightforward–the book is divided into five parts after an introduction, including a look at tea drinkers around the world, a brief history of tea, a look at the process by which tea is refined and processed, a look at the drinking of tea and some recipes involving tea. There are plenty of photos and discussions of different national cultures involving tea that I found personally very interesting, and the book’s examination of the difference between tea producers and tea consumers was also quite thoughtful. This is not the be-all and end-all of tea books, to be sure, but it is a very interesting read and is precisely the sort of book that a tea-lover like myself would love to have on their coffee table to look at occasionally for resources on where to drink teas and meeting teas that one wants to try and also to impress and inform guests who are similarly interested in this drink.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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2 Responses to Short Library Book Reviews: Part One

  1. Catharine Martin says:

    The latter book about tea looks like a winner to me, too, even if it isn’t “the” tea book. I don’t think that everything about tea can be contained in one book, but I would be very interested to read about its history and the various customs that surround it. You like it cold and I take mine hot. We round out its use. 🙂

    • That’s right. I did enjoy that book a good deal, and it is certainly something that would be handy to have around. Something like 85% of American tea consumption is iced tea and I’m pretty sure I have a disproportionate share of that myself.

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