The love of learning,
the sequestered nooks,
all the sweet serenity of books.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Dearest Friends of The Tearoom,
Welcome to my Mad Tea Party and please go to A Fanciful Twist to see the lovely party Mademoiselle Vanessa is hosting there. While you are there, please check out the other parties too!
I am certain you all know the story by heart, but please indulge me while I read the relevant passage to you aloud:
"The rabbit hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.
Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her, and to wonder what was going to happen next. First, she tried to look down and make out what she was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything; then she looked at the sides of the well, and noticed that there were filled with cupboards and book-shelves; here and there she saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs. She took down a jar from one of the shelves as she passed; it was labelled 'ORANGE MARMALADE', but to her great disappointment it was empty: she did not like to drop the jar for fear of killing somebody, so managed to put it into of the cupboards as she fell past it."
What sort of books do you suppose were there on those shelves? I would think that only beautiful, colorful, magical books lived there and if only she could have spent a bit more time, she would have read some of them!
And so, if I were to pick the books myself, here is what I would pick (they are all currently in my bedside reading stack of books!)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia
This is a beautifully illustrated edition of the story of Our Alice! Camille Rose Garcia brings her edgy, almost goth vision to the visual re-telling in vivid pastel shades, black and gold. This book is a treat in every way, from the black and purple end-papers to the glossy black accents on the dust-jacket! Her illustrations turn our favorite piece of literary psychedelia into an even more intense visual confection.
Alice I Have Been - Melanie Benjamin
This is quite a fascinating book, a fictionalized account of Alice Liddell's life. To read it is to feel as though one has lived in that time, burdened by the constraints of social mores but steeped in the wonders of the time. As you may know, Alice Liddell was the little girl who inspired Lewis Carroll to write "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland".
Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger
This book has received some mixed reviews, but I liked it a great deal. It will undoubtedly push some readers' boundaries, but is that not why we read, to provide us with other perspectives? Sisters, twins, lovers, ghosts and others all swirl through this story and a great deal of it is set in Highgate Cemetery in London.
Paris Patisserie (Forward by Pierre Hermé)
What can I say about this book except this: Read it and dream. If you have not yet visited The Divine Patisseries of Paris, you may now do so vicariously through this book! The photographs are so beautiful that you will have to remind yourself not to lick the pages!
And now, on to our tea. . .
Today, for this special occasion, it is being served from the beautiful and unusual Fornasetti teapot . . .. . . do you take cream and sugar, or lemon perhaps? Here is your cup, Dear Friend.
Our Very Mad Tea is inspired by that tempting jar of marmalade that Alice put back on the shelf on her way down The Rabbit Hole! Please enjoy a cup of Summer Blend with me, from Betjeman & Barton of Paris! They tell us this tea is comprised of black China and Ceylon tea with "essential oils of lemon, lime, orange, blood orange, tangerine, clementine, bergamot orange and grapefruit"!
A very special surprise guest has brought our teatime treat today! The Little Prince visits with us and brings us something delicious named for him, "Le Cake Petit Prince" from The House of Lenôtre in Paris!! It is described as "a soft cake sprinkled with almonds, orange zest and a syrup delicately perfumed with Grand Marnier"! ("Cake" in France is somewhat like what we describe as pound cake here.)
Finally, treats for you! Please don't forget to leave a comment so that your name will be entered into the drawing for the lovely give-aways! The first person drawn will receive "My Life in France" by Julia Child. If you saw "Julie and Julia" and loved Julia Child's story from the movie, you will adore this book.
The second randomly-chosen Mad Tea Party attendee will receive a copy of "The Patisseries of Paris" by Jamie Cahill. This is such a lovely little book and I promise you will love it! It is just small enough to tuck in your bag while travelling for reference while hunting the not-so-elusive pastry in Paris!!!
Each of these lucky winners will also receive one of my lovingly handmade Chapeaux des Gateaux bookmarks for their books!
Since I know this party could go on all weekend (or even into the week!), I will do the drawing for the give-aways on July 1st!
Thank you so very much, Dear Friends, for having visited with me today at The Tearoom!