If you're new to the site, maybe you've missed the adventures of The Thin Hungry Man. Julie has kind of forgotten about him, bless his heart. Since we don't have a picture of the Thin Hungry Man, Morty let us use his picture, but with the understanding that Julie will get back to writing and get him back on his way in the next few weeks. In her defense, she's been working on another book which will hopefully be published soon! In the meantime, enjoy!
THM 1 - The Thin Hungry Man Has An Idea It Hurts
THM 2 - Into Nothing
THM 3 - Bright New World
THM 4 - Lunch at the End of the Tunnel
THM 5 - At Long Last Lunch
THM 6 - An Unwelcome Guest
Like cats and writers, books and tea go hand in hand. Julie and Jarad could probably be termed, "tea addicts." As such, they're here to tell you all about their favorite teas today!
When I was a little girl, hot tea was more than a drink for me, it was a connection with a cosy world of English bedtime stories. In my favorites stories, particularly Alice in Wonderland, tea played an important role. Tea felt like something a writer would drink. Where I grew up in the South, iced sweet tea was popular, but in the morning and the winter, most people went to coffee for warmth and caffeine. Other than my mom, a yankee, I didn’t know a lot of people who sat down with a cup of hot tea in the afternoon to read a book. But she did, and it was a habit I picked up.
I can remember bringing flowers in from the yard to place on the table, another of my odd habits as a child, making a cup of tea and reading. If the characters in the book I was reading fell on hard times, sometimes I pretended that they could leave the book for just a few minutes and come have tea with me, usually with bread and butter. Of course, I they always had to go back into the book because I needed to finish it…but just minute to pop into the kitchen and refresh themselves? Surely no one would miss them for an hour of tea. (I was quite glad I did this for the dwarves in the hobbit, since so many of them fell in battle at the end, something I was quite inconsolable about.)
When I was growing up, we had regular Lipton tea bags with black tea. I remember being slightly offended when Connie disparaged Miss Bentley’s tea in Lady Chatterley’s Lover. I still prefer a black tea, but I’ve broadened my tastes somewhat. I like flavored black teas. Blackberry is the best. If you make it with honey, it’s summer in a cup. When winter starts to drag me down, I make a steaming, tongue burning cup of it and feel like I’m back in the summer heat, risking the inhospitable teeth of the briars to steal the food of the gods. (Yes, my life is boring…why do you ask?) Although I love winter and autumn spiced teas, like apple and cinnamon or Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet I get tired of pretending to like cold weather after Christmas so blackberry brings me a little early summer in a cup. Like Jarad, I’m a fan of the old standbys Lady Grey and Earl Grey. As an old lady and a grandmama, I have to admit that I love Constant Comment, an old lady tea if there ever was one.
Now, you’ll have to excuse me because I fancy a cup of tea and I need to decide which of my favorite fictional characters I would like to share it with.
I visited a fruit tree orchard for the first time!
Normally, when we do garden day on the blog, Julie or I talk about what gardening things we’ve been doing lately. I’m confined to a dorm at the moment, but luckily my plant class is doing some interesting things and keeping me from going insane from “lack of plants-itis,” an actual disease suffered by gardeners, often resulting in symptoms like having lengthy conversations with trees, speaking encouragingly to wildflowers, and sneaking out in the night to deadhead flowers in public landscaping.
Grief is the Thing with Feathers
Written by Max Porter
Review by Jarad Johnson
When we review books here at Sacred Chickens, we don’t always like them. We’re very well aware of the fact we have particular and occasionally odd tastes and that you might like books that aren’t for us. When you read our reviews, keep that in mind. We will not only tell you what we thought of the book, we’ll try to make sure that you can make an educated choice about the book in question and decide for yourself. This review is about one such book, a book that left Jarad a little cold, but that a lot of people like. If you did love the book, let us know! We might even publish your review.
This little book is one that I’ve been hearing about for some time now. I’ve heard it called poignant, meaningful, and genre-defying. It is a short book, coming in at only 150 pages. It seeks to examine a father and sons’ grief at the death of the wife and mother of the family. One day, the husband is visited by a crow, a personification of grief, who won’t leave until he isn’t needed anymore. The book is sometimes painful, sometimes humorous as the father struggles to get through the days after his wife’s death and the circumstances of her demise slowly unfold with the story. The crow speaks in metaphor and a rhythmic poetic language mixing a novella format with lyric poetry.
Mostly Dead Things
Written by Kristen Arnett
Review by Jarad Johnson
I saw this book some time ago and was intrigued by the title. Reading the back of the cover, I was even more interested. A book about a taxidermist whose daughter finds him dead in his shop? Sounds right up my alley. I was interested, but I also had no real idea what to expect. In cases like these, I often look to the covers of the book to give me some insight into what’s going on inside. The cover of the copy that I was bright green with a flamingo on it, so there were no clues there. Nothing to do but delve into the pages.
You may wonder why Jarad and I continually prattle on about gardening. If you do, it probably means you’re not a gardener yourself. Most of the gardeners we know kinda can’t help but wax on about varieties, heirloom seeds, the best fertilizers, and whether or not you can squeeze a drift rose into a spot with only four hours of sun. We are also writers and readers…this combination means garden posts for you! At least we don’t collect vacuum cleaners or take pictures of roundabouts.
But today we are no longer satisfied with simple loquacity, we have crossed the border into proselyting. Here’s Jarad on the benefits of gardening.
At this point in time, I believe I’ve prattled on about plants to the point where my friends and family are in danger of becoming homicidal. (Guys, if you do decide to kill me, at least bury me under the vegetables). Aside from actually being annoyed to death by an overly enthusiastic plant fiend, there are benefits to being a gardener. Here are some that I have discovered.
The Fall temperatures may not be here yet, but we're hoping that we can convince ourselves that they are with books! If you are also suffering under the heat and wishing for fall, these might help you!
When it starts getting cool, I love to sit outside and read. Of course, in Atlanta, cool is relative. By cool, I mean an occasional breeze and not quite feeling like my skin is boiling off. Because it doesn't get really Autumn crisp until late November around here, I like to read anything that makes me feel cool. So I read books set in colder climates. I love the Mary Russell books - the ones set in England - in the fall. They make me feel like I'm sitting next to a hot fire with a cup of tea, even though I'm sitting on a lawn chair in shorts, pretending the slight puff of occasional air is a fall breeze. Any books set in cooler climates will do. I would love to be more specific. Normally, I peruse my bookshelves to jog my memory. But this year, alas, my books are still packed waiting on my library shelves to go in. I will hopefully have them back in my possession by the fall. Sigh
Written by Jessie Burton
Review by Jarad Johnson
Some people want to visit Paris. Others London or Spain. I myself would like to go to Amsterdam. So, when I saw that this book was based in Amsterdam, I immediately picked it up; however, this book is set in seventeenth century, not exactly the Amsterdam I’m familiar with…or would like to become acquainted with. Instead of the liberal, accepting city that exists today, the Amsterdam of this book is governed by an oppressive, puritanical religious code. It is a city where neighbors keep a watchful eye on each other, and where homosexuals are drowned at the pier. As we know, even in the most pious societies, there are those who break the rules. This is a book about rebels, my favorite kinds of people. It’s a book full of secrets, lies and betrayal.
From Here To Eternity
Written by Caitlin Doughty
Review by Roy Peak
Everybody dies. That's a fact of life. But it's how we deal with that inevitability that separates us. In From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death, author and YouTube Channel celebrity Caitlin Doughty travels the world over researching differing societal death rituals. Doughty is a mortician based in California who makes her mission to give people access to different and more affordable options considering their own, or a relative's, death. Her YouTube show, Ask A Mortician, doles out the hard-edged questions that people want to know but are too afraid to ask: What happens to gold teeth during cremation? What's the worst way to die? What happens to breast implants after you die? Doughty handles all of these and more with great enthusiasm. She's bubbly, honest, a bit goth, a bit kooky, and her shows are always highly informative as well as entertaining.
Books hold onto the memories and experiences you had while reading them.
I don’t know about you, but when I look at my shelves, I not only see books, I also see memories. I can pick up a book and oftentimes I remember where I was when I was reading it, or I have a particular memory associated with it. Take The Secret Garden. I was on my aunt’s couch, in the middle of summer, hoping for even a small breeze to blow through that house. That was almost 12 years ago, and I still remember the heat of that summer and how the light fell through the curtains. I have no idea why I can clearly recall that moment and not others, because I am almost constantly reading, but some moments stick, and others don’t. Of course, it’s not always the book that sticks with you, but the emotions surrounding the time when you were reading it. I was reading Eragon when one of my cats died in middle school, and I remember loving that book, but I also can clearly recall that I was halfway through it when the cat passed away.