Friday, June 25, 2010


(A Mad Tea Party With Books)

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!



  1. Awesome post! Thank you for the book suggestions!
    Please enter me in the giveaway, if it is international. :)

    Giada M.

  2. Oh what a delightful tea party with lovely books to go along with our tea! Thank you for hosting!
    - Carol from

  3. Thank you so much to everyone for visiting!

    YES! The giveaway is international too! I meant to mention that specifically because I have several readers from other countries!



  4. Lovely books and lovely tea....thanks for inviting us in to share!

  5. ~*~*~*Hip hip hurray it's Tea Party Day!*~*~*~

    I love being read to, it's so relaxing!

    Thanks for having me at your tea party! if you haven't been already, you're cordially invited to my mad tea party! Have yourself a mad sort of day! :)

  6. I will definitely check out those books. I already have the Paris Patisserie one. And I love those funky teapots, so unique.

    Thanks for stopping by my tea too!

  7. what a wonderful post- and what a fantastic blog! Such a lovely time! Thanks so much for the tea!

    have a madly spectacular day!

  8. Thank you for your reviews!

    I adore that tea set. How wonderful!

    And I appreciate the opportunity to enter your drawing.

    Thank you for your hospitality, and may I wish you a wonderful day filled with the tea parties of friends and strangers...


    Sheila :-)

  9. What a delightful tea! I loved looking at the eye candy! Sam in particular loved the different tea pots!

  10. I am so happy to have been invited to the party my dear friend. What a delightful time I have had....I am not ready to leave yet so how about more tea please?


  11. Oh to have tea in such lovely china! Exquisite...and have literature as well. Oh thank you so much! Creative hugs from Norma

  12. ahhh... Books & Tea, a wonderfully delightful combination!
    Delighted to have made it here for a cup!

  13. Betty, beautiful post! I was so excited to learn about all of these books ~ none of which I had heard of before. I love the goth-style artwork in the first one. The next two I'll be adding to my booklist for future reads. Thank you so much for your wit and intelligence on this happiest of Tea Party days! jenn

  14. Thanks for having me over for tea. I'm going to be looking for that amazing first book! Nothing goes better with a good book than a cuppa. Hope you can stop by and join me for tea as well.

  15. I love nothing more than sipping tea and reading a good book! Thank you for having me over....please come by and have tea with me too....and of course enter me in your give away.

  16. Thank you, that was very interesting! I love the tea! Have a great weekend! Twyla

  17. Wonderful post and what a delightful tea party! I love the reading suggestions and the tea set is sublime. Thank you for having me. Enjoy the rest of the parties and come visit when you can!

  18. Well, dear Betty this was enchanting! As a librarian I was thrilled to see a bookish tea-party! AND I love those really cool Fornasetti tea things!! - Kathy

  19. A book tea party is a very very good thing, indeed! I appreciate you bringing others' to my attention-I'm going to trot over to B&N and find "Her Fearful Symmetry" to haunt my bedside table!
    (Though its probably best if i stay away from the patisseries of Paris (unless its the weigh watchers edition-HA!)
    But you can tell me-was the grand marnier pound cake ;o PERFECTION? yum.
    Very nice-i take my tea with a dash of longfellow!

    xoxox Rhonda Roo

  20. Hello Betty,

    thanks for sharing these books on this teaparty !
    The first one attracts me by the drawings...

    I don't read much books in English except the Harry potter books (and Stampington magazines...). We had to wait so long for the translation in Dutch we bought them first in English and then again in Dutch...

    These books should be on the shelves... but also the books of Brian Froud !!

    Nice teacups and teapot you have ! i have seen this stamp before, but not on ceramics.

    greetings from belgium
    feel welcome at my party : I also have a blog give away...

  21. So happy to have popped by your book teaparty!:)

    Rainey J

  22. I Love your book choices! I really enjoyed reading both Alice I Have Been and Her Fearful Symmerty.Loveto visit other book lovers. I will be sure to return!

  23. What a wonderful idea you have with the books. I too am a bibliophile and would love to be added in to the hat in hopes of getting chosen to receive a prize! Thank you for your hospitality and feel free to visit me for a spot of tea at

  24. Yippee!!
    Teaparty fun:))
    clink -clink our teacups!!

    Love the books too!!
    kay ellen

  25. A thouroughly refreshing Tea Party Post The Illustrated Book looks so tempting :-) Thank you for the chance to win a giveaway too. You are of course invited to join me for a spot of Tea and a quiet read in the Garden if that is possible at a Mad Tea Party.

  26. Excuse me for being so fashionably late...I hope you will not be irate. Such lovely book selections. And thank you for offering such wonderful dor-prizes! If you have not already done so, I'd be honored if you would sit a spell with me~for tea...
    Sincerely, Theresa (aka The White Queen)

  27. What a delightful tea party! I loved all the books you suggested! I will put them on my list of books to be purchased. Loved the Goth one very much
    Thank you for having me
    Come visit mine if you have time

  28. Thank you for the recommendations on the books. I love Audrey Niffenenger (sp?) so I will look out for that one.
    Come visit my party post for a chance to win.
    Enjoy the day!

  29. Wonderful party - I wanted to come back when I had the time to really take in what you write! My heart skipped a beat when I saw the Paris Patisserie book - that is the exact kind of pastry I had at my first visit at Ladurée in Paris two weeks ago!!! You can see it on my blog, it may be on the second page now. It was a rose-flavoured Religieuse and it was spectacular.

    Thanks again for linking to me!!

    ♥ Alice Maria-Thérèse Afiori in a Swedish wonderland

  30. oh les charmantes petites tasses à thé ! c'est très joli !

  31. *Ooooh* - now I need a bit of that lovely cake to go with my cup of tea this morning. It's raining here and your tea party was perfect.

    Thanks for letting me share in your special event! If you haven't already feel free to drop by my gathering. :)
    ~ Misha/DawaiOser <3

  32. Thank you for the tea! Your suggestions for reading material will be definitely taken into account! Thanks!

  33. I really enjoyed your post - thank you for the book recommendations!

    Please stop by my blog if you fancy a cuppa and a slice of the Queen of Hearts’ Strawberry Tart…


I am so very happy to read your comments!