I don’t know about the rest of you, but I came away from April’s book and book club discussion convinced that libraries can be dangerous, so you should probably have a dragon along with you. You know, just in case. The Invisible Library was more well-received than our first book. In fact, more than one member got their mitts on the next books in the series before we even had our meeting. If that doesn’t speak to how much we generally liked it, I don’t know what does. In fact, I have the next few books waiting for me on my Kindle app on my phone. If you want to see our discussion and maybe add your own two cents, please feel free to do so!
For myself, it took me about 5 or 6 chapters before I really got into the book. Usually when this happens, I abandon the book. I’m really glad I didn’t this time, though, as it was completely worth it. I’m not entirely certain that I like Irene a whole lot, but I am definitely interested in Kai, Vale, Bradamant, Coppelia, Olga the Elder, and the Library in general. This continues my personal trend of finding more of interest in secondary characters.
This month I chose to explore the world of herbal teas. On April 7, I had the pleasure of attending a tea talk at the Herbal Sage Tea Company in Pomeroy, Ohio. The owner, Maureen Burns, gave a short presentation on the differences between green, white, and black teas, and then the further difference between those and herbal teas. We also sampled a few of the teas that she sells, a few of which made it to our meeting on April 21.
Green, white, and black teas all come from the same plant. The differences lie in when the tea leaves are picked and how they are processed. If you want to know a little more in depth about the modern history of black tea and how it became a staple in our lives, I suggest giving Stuff You Missed In History Class’s podcast episode The East India Company’s Theft of China’s Tea Secrets. The first half of the episode gives a brief history of tea, how it’s harvested, and how green, white, and black teas are made. The second half covers the title of the episode. The entire thing is worth a listen.
Herbal teas, in contrast, aren’t actually teas at all. They’re actually tisanes, or infusions. It’s really North America that uses the term herbal teas. European countries are more likely to call them tisanes. Tisanes are infusions of herbs and spices, which are then drunk hot or cold. Many of them are considered folk remedies, a reminder of days when such concoctions were given to help medical complaints.
May’s book is His Majesty’s Dragon, the first in the Temeraire series, by Naomi Novik (Amazon affiliate links: print, ebook). His Majesty’s Dragon is an alternate history smashed together with fantasy and a bit of steampunk. It’s set during the Napoleonic Wars, and focuses on a dragon, Temeraire, and his human, Laurence. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
“Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors rise to Britain’s defense by taking to the skies . . . not aboard aircraft but atop the mighty backs of fighting dragons.
When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes its precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Capt. Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future–and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.” — from the book description.
Full disclosure: I’ve read about half of this book, and wasn’t able to finish it for various reasons before the library gods called it back to them for other people to read. I wanted an excuse to finish it, let’s be real. And now it’s happening, and I am excited! It’s completely by accident that two books in a row feature dragons as main characters, but it’s a coincidence that I’m happy about. I mean, DRAGONS.
For May’s tea, we’re going to revisit March and April’s teas before we try expanding our palates in June. We still have a LOT of tea leftover, and we’d love to see it enjoyed.
Changes are stirring in the kingdom! Tea and Shenanigans began its life as an idea to share a mutual love of books, tea, conversation, and general geeky, nerdy goodness. Going forward, Tea & Shenanigans will fall under the umbrella of the Loremaster’s Guild. The purpose of this guild is to consume knowledge, and then write it down so that others may share in it. Blog posts, papercrafting, books, tea, journaling (art, bullet, junk, thoughts) all fall within the bounds of the Loremaster’s Guild, and as we go, the guild itself will become more and more defined. We have Plans, ya’ll. Plans with a Capital P. It will take some time to get there, but we will. Be patient, and tell us if what we’re doing is working for you.
All of that being said, Captain JessGwen has set up a Patreon for the Rogue Crusade. What’s Patreon, you ask? Patreon is a site where users can become patrons of a creator or creators, so that they can be paid for doing what they love to do, whether it’s music, art, writing, or creating a network of people who love fantasy and nerdy, geeky things to come together. If you want to support JessGwen, and help to keep the lights on, and to keep all of the good things that come out of the Rogue Crusade coming, please consider becoming a patron at Patreon. The perks are pretty nice, and you get the satisfaction of knowing that there is a place out there for all of the shy, introverted (and extroverted), people who aren’t completely in the mainstream to go. Places like the Rogue Crusade are important. They bring like-minded people together, and when that happens, we are able to support one another and applaud all of the good things that happen to us.
Captain’s Note: The Rogue Crusade’s Loremaster’s Guild is a super fun “not-so-secret-society” of people near and far who thrive on hot beverages, stories of all kinds, and witty shenanigans! Join us today for $15 a month to get a new fictional tale each month, journal prompts, and other fun challenges at RogueCrusade.Com! – ♥