Special thanks to Sami Colgate for contributing to this blog post!
January is National Hot Tea Month, and we’ve teamed up with Sami Colgate from Ku Cha House of Tea (a Library Flash Your Card program participant) to create unique book and tea pairings to stimulate your next read.
For each pairing, you’ll find a brief book summary, story descriptors and reader appeals, and an accompanying tea selection that complements aspects of the story like its setting, topic, or writing characteristics.
Selection Day by Aravind Adiga
Appeals & Descriptors: Coming of Age, Thought-Provoking, Engaging, Absorbing, Big-Hearted
Manjunath and Radha Kumar are two brothers growing up in a Mumbai slum and being raised by an obsessive father set on them becoming cricket stars. In this coming-of-age story, Manju begins to see that there are many things, about himself and the world, that he doesn’t know. As his world begins to change, he is faced with decisions that will challenge his understand of it and of his own self. Adiga’s novel takes in class, religion, and sexuality among other issues. New release
Ku Cha recommends: Organic Ku Cha Masala Chai
A delightful house blend of strong, finely ground black tea, ginger, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and other aromatic spices. This chai brews a bright amber color, with a hint of bitterness that is balanced with a smooth, sweet and slightly spicy finish. This flavorful tea can be enjoyed with milk and sugar for a more authentic chai experience. Drink this and feel yourself transported to the streets of Mumbai with every sip.
4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster
Appeals & Descriptors: Sweeping, Love, Possibilities, Descriptive, Engaging, Unconventional, Rich Detail, Soulful
Archibald Isaac Ferguson was born in 1947, the only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, but ultimately experiences four parallel lifetimes, each marked by shifting family fortunes, friendships, relationships, and intellectual pursuits. Four identical Archibalds, made of the same DNA, go on to live simultaneous and independent – and entirely different – lives though there are intersections with the same woman, Amy Schneiderman. New release
Ku Cha recommends: Milk Oolong
Milk Oolong is a sweet, creamy tea and a perfect solution for those with a sweet tooth. This unique Oolong is steamed with milk before the leaves are roasted, giving it its unique and creamy flavor. Warming to the core and great for multiple steepings, this tea will inspire thoughtful reading and have you coming back for more.
Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
Appeals & Descriptors: Moving, Honest, Revealing, Heartbreakingly Beautiful
Brittain’s 1933 memoir tells the story of her harrowing experiences as a nurse in World War I and her realization that war isn’t the glorious heroic adventure that so many of her young male countrymen believed it to be. It is both a powerful story of young love and the futility of war. Brittain later became strongly associated with pacifism and the peace movement though Testament of Youth was written as a cry of outrage and agony. Harmony Library Book Club pick for February.
Ku Cha recommends: Jasmine Pearl Green Tea
A delicate blend of hand rolled, Spring harvest, green tea and fresh jasmine blossoms. This aromatic tea is gentle on the body but beautifully invigorating to the senses. This tea will keep you in harmony with the novel while allowing you to be mindful and produce thought-provoking ideas.
The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier by Jim Davidson and Kevin Vaughan
Appeals & Descriptors: Moving, Compelling, Heartfelt, Transforming Odyssey
Davidson’s memoir of a 1992 climbing adventure with his best friend Mike Price that turned deadly is at once a mountaineering adventure story, a heartfelt memoir of friendship, and a meditation on mortality and nature’s force. The story moves from elation at reaching the summit of Mount Rainier to deep grief at losing his friend. Authors visit Colorado State University in February.
Ku Cha recommends: Da Yi 7572 Ripe Puerh
Puerh teas are fermented and aged teas that produce strong earthy and bold flavors. A perfect choice for an adventurer or the adventurer at heart. Our Da Yi is considered the benchmark puerh and is used as a standard comparison to test all puerh qualities. Puerh is made for endurance for it is robust, warming and can be repeatedly steeped, making it the ideal pairing for a novel about man’s endurance and relationship to nature.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Appeals & Descriptors: Haunting, Bittersweet, Mystical, Fantasy, Lyrical
Gaiman offers a bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival. When the unnamed narrator, now a middle-aged man, returns to his childhood home in Sussex, England to attend a funeral, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the lane, where as a seven-year-old child he encountered Lettie Hempstock, her mother and grandmother. Sitting behind the old farmhouse, memories, frightening images, and supernatural secrets come flooding back to the surface for the man. Gaiman’s latest work is described as “delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.” Council Tree Library Book Club pick for February.
Ku Cha recommends: Organic Earl Grey Superior
A high quality Sri Lankan black tea blended with bergamot oil gives this classic English tea a zesty citrus taste. It will enliven your spirits and warm the soul. Both biting and smooth, enjoy with steamed milk to create a London Fog effect that will bring this novel to life.
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
Appeals & Descriptors: Thought-Provoking, Complex, Descriptive, Bleak, Science Fiction/Fantasy
Human ambassador Genly Ai is sent to Gethan, a planet known as Winter by outsiders familiar with its cold arctic climate, to facilitate a peace between warring factions. What he believes to be a standard mission soon changes when Genly encounters a rich ancient culture filled with “strange beauty and deadly intrigue” – a society of people without fixed gender. Genly has to overcome ingrained prejudices about what is “male” and “female” as much for the success of his mission as for himself. Rekindle the Classics Book Discussion pick for February.
Ku Cha recommends: Yunnan Gold black tea
An outcast in its own right, Yunnan Gold is a unique black tea with delicate, golden leaf tips, as opposed to the darker, drier, chopped leaves, common for most black teas. The leaves brew a beautiful golden color that produces a smooth, rich, sweet taste with no bitterness. A tea as unique as this novel with its own strength and complexity to stand on its own; it will warm the body and invigorate the mind.
Losing Julia by Jonathan Hull
Appeals & Descriptors: Love, Romance, Engaging, Vulnerability, Loneliness
This unique love story is told from the point-of-view of Patrick Delaney, and traces his longtime love of Julia, the wife and widow of his best friend, from their brief meeting at a memorial service in France, through their brief time together, to their ultimate separation. Hull’s debut novel is an epic story of love found and lost, of joy and tragedy that spans the World War I battlefields in France to a California nursing home. Old Town Library Book Club pick for February.
Ku Cha recommends: Shanghai Dreams fruit tea blend
A romantic blend of fruity cherries, rich vanilla, and aromatic rose petals. This sweet, creamy blend will transport your senses to a blissfully dreamy wonderland where you can escape into your reading and not return until morning. But since it is caffeine free, if you need to sleep, your book will understand.
Fatal by John Lescroart
Appeals & Descriptors: Thriller, Suspenseful, Passionate, Obsession, Intricate, Compelling
A fleeting crush on Peter, a man she just met at a dinner party, becomes a burning desire for Kate, a married woman, results in an intense one-night stand. After the encounter, Kate believes she can go back to her regular life and happy marriage, until she begins to realize that Peter may not be able to let go so easily. A series of horrifying events and tragedies begin, exposing the consequences of one mistake. New release date TBA
Ku Cha recommends: Oriental Beauty Oolong
Named for the alluring and allusive beauties of Asia, this unique oolong is sinfully delicious, with a bold flavor that is delicate, sweet, rich and inspiriting. The tea leaves are gently nibbled by insects before being oxidized which gives this tea its unique flavor with notes of peaches and honey. It is best enjoyed alone but can hold honey and milk nicely for a creamier, sweet treat. A tea that is great for re-steeping and can stay up with you all night as you tear through this thriller.
Ku Cha House of Tea is located at 128 South College Ave. in Fort Collins. Learn more about their teas and tea availability online or check out their Facebook page. Also, check out the special discounts they offer to Library cardholders through our Flash Your Card program.