Saturday, January 23, 2016

M Train

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Title: M Train

Author: Patti Smith

Published: 2015 by Alfred A. Knopf

Pages: 253

Genre: Memoir

Obtained Through: gift

Summary:  In this memoir, the reader enters not the physical world in which Patti Smith lives, but the world of her mind.  The author follows her train of thought to relay to her audience moments and events of her life that are important and meaningful to her.

Thoughts:  This book was given to me as a gift.  It is not a book I would have picked out to read for myself.
     The book started with a dream that the author had about a cowpoke.  This was a bad start for me.  Reading about dreams and cowpokes does not interest me in the least.  Next, I started having a hard time following the author's writing.  I started to lose track of where and when she was writing about, and if she was writing about a dream or reality.  By the third chapter I became familiar with the way the author writes and I was able to follow along.  After a couple more chapters I finally started to get into the book and was glad that I had stuck with it.
     The author is an artist.  She is a poet, visual artist, and performer, as well as a writer.  She includes the Polaroids she has collected and poems she has written that relate to her memoir in the book.  This added to the experience of reading this book.  Her writing style is sometimes poetic and at other times straight forward.  Sometimes, I just do not get poetry or poetic writing, but she writes so that a matter-of-fact person like me can understand it.  She writes about her memories in an open and honest way which is what held my attention.  She has a unique way of putting pieces of different parts of her life together.   I was also entertained by the way she finds "signs" in everyday life.
     My favorite aspect of this book was to read about different authors, books, and detective shows that I never heard of.  At first I felt ignorant that I did not know about these authors, books, and television programs, but then I found myself looking up these references so I could better understand this memoir.  I have added "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" by Haniki Murakami, "The Beach Cafe" by Mohammed Mrabet, "The Thief's Journal" by Jean Genet, and "The Confusions of Young Torless" by Robert Musil to my list of books to read.  I also liked reading about places that I will most likely never travel to.
     This is a book where you learn mostly about how the author thinks and her internal world, not what she has done on earth.  She does describe her artistic lifestyle which was intriguing for me to read about because I have always lived so much differently.  It was interesting to find out how the author visits places described in books and graves of writers all over the world, and how she brings objects that symbolize something important to the writer to their grave sites.  I was enlightened about the Continental Drift Club and the remains of the French penal colony in Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni.  Reading this book I was able to discover things I would not have otherwise experienced.

Tea: Mountain Oolong

Company: Tea Forte

Obtained: gift

     According to their website, Tea Forte is "presented at leading hotels, restaurants, prestige resorts and luxury retailers" in "over 35 countries".
     I received my tea in a gift box called "Lotus", which is described on the box as "a collection of relaxing teas for mind, body, and spirit".  There are five different teas in "single steep" packages.  This loose tea is premeasured to steep twelve ounces.
     The first time I brewed this mountain oolong tea, I let it steep for five minutes as directed for oolong teas by the box.  When I tasted the tea- yuck!  I could tell it had steeped too long from the bitter taste.
     I started over with a new packet.  The packet of mountain oolong tea was easy to open.  The tea had a deep peach smell with a hint of floral in the background.  The leaves were mostly blacks and browns with a few orange leaves.  They were long and twisted.  There were no stems or twigs.
     I put the leaves in a teapot with a fine sieve and poured twelve ounces of water that had been boiled over the leaves.  I steeped the tea for just two minutes this time.  The liquid was a pretty dark orange and there was a very faint peachy aroma coming from the tea.
     When I tasted the tea, it was so much better!  A floral taste stood out, and then came the after taste of a more peachy floral.  The flavor really lingered.  I really enjoyed this cup of tea!
     I did not add anything to this tea.  I recommend steeping for just two minutes.  As I sipped the tea, I wondered if it might be just as good iced.  I may have to get some more of this tea.


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