Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane: Lisa See back in Detroit talking Chinese family history and tea!

Barb G. and Lisa See at Troy Community Center last Tuesday.  

Last Tuesday, Lisa See was once again visiting Detroit to discuss one of her historical novels. Although we're a fan of all her works, her most recent, "The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane" struck a particular chord with Barb's Tea Service. As with many of her novels, See draws from her own personal ancestry and rigorous research, but her latest book also focuses on Chinese tea, in particular pu'er.  Immersing herself in the subject, she not only learned more about the Akha culture, (one of the ethnic minorities in China), but also about pu'er, the only tea that improves with age.  With her focus  on the latter , See became a self-proclaimed "tea snob" and, we here at BTS know, there's nothing wrong with that!

Meeting Lisa See in 2016
Lisa See speaks in Troy 

We first met Lisa See two year's ago when she came to the DIA as part of her book tour for "Shanghai Girls". As captivating a speaker as she is a writer, she talked about growing up as part of a large Chinese-American family (on her father's side) whose history intrigued her and influenced much of her writing. 

Lisa See spoke at the DIA about Shanghai Girls

As part of See's 2016 book tour, Detroit-area local libraries chose "Shanghai Girls" as their book of choice for that year's "Everyone's Reading" program. BTS was delighted to partner with two libraries, Birmingham's Baldwin Library and Canton Public Library, to present  a "Tea from China" talk along with a tea tasting of, you guessed it, teas from China.  

BTS at Canton Library Chinese tea tasting
BTS presents Tea from China at Baldwin Library

Lisa See presented to a standing-room only crowd last Tuesday at the Troy Community Center, an event hosted by the Troy Public Library.  After the formal program, she graciously stayed after to answer many questions, one of which was, "what is your favorite tea?"  She paused for a moment, and then said while she was always a tea drinker (enjoying jasmine tea especially), after digging into the world of pu'er it has become her favorite. In fact, she admitted, she has become a "tea snob".  We already admired her for her fascinating writing - that she's an unapologetic tea enthusiast endears us to her even more.

Watch for an upcoming "Tuesday Tea and Tomes" to feature "The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane".  

Signing off, just "another tea snob", Barbara.   :) 

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