Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tuesday Tea and Tomes: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

Lisa See and Barb Gulley at the DIA 
Earlier this year, Barb's Tea Service presented several "Tea from China" events to local libraries as part of their "Everyone's Reading" collaborative program with this year's featured book, "Shanghai Girls"  by Lisa See.  It was my introduction to this author's series of  fascinating novels which are influenced by her paternal family's Chinese-American history.

Shanghai Girls is the story of two sisters, Pearl and May Chin and their journey from pretty, carefree girls from a well-to-do family in Shanghai to young women in California, surviving war, debt, and racism. In the span of twenty years (1937 - 1957), the sisters share a bond that endures jealousy, sacrifice and perceived betrayal.  A true page-turner, it left me - and other adoring fans - grateful for the sequel, "Dreams of Joy".

Lisa See speaking to a filled auditorium at the DIA in April

We also had the opportunity to hear Lisa See speak at the DIA this past April. As captivating as her books, she told her own story of growing up as part Chinese American and her interest in pursuing the stories of her father's side of the family.  Those roots can be traced to some of the earliest Chinese immigrants to the west coast and the author sees herself, both literally and figuratively, as the face of today's America:  generations of diversity and the blending of cultures.

Barb's Tea Service presents Chinese Tea at the Baldwin Library: Rachel, Pam and Barb

We recommend reading this book with a cup of delicious Chinese tea. Among our favorites: Silver Needles, Dragon Well, Milky Jade Oolong and Keemun. We served all of these at our Chinese Tea events, as well as demonstrating components  of the Chinese tea ceremony and the art of drinking from a gaiwan.

Chinese Tea at Canton Library with Rob and Rachel of BTS

Whether you peruse this book in that comfy corner of your home or at a relaxing tea room, Shanghai Girls is an excellent read.

Enjoying some Chinese tea at Socra Tea (located near the DIA)
For more information on BTS' Tea from China program, see the article Try Chinese Tea at 'Everyone's Reading' event in Canton covered by the Observer & Eccentric, March, 2016.

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