My week in books and tea 7.28.19

My reading might slow down just a bit as I prepare to visit some friends over the next few weeks.

What I finished

East of Eden was the first book I finished this week. Funny how I had forgotten a good bit about Part 4 from my initial read a few years ago. All I can say is oh, Lee, there are few like you! This one still remains my favorite Steinbeck although The Grapes of Wrath is a close second, followed by Of Mice and Men.

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly was over 500 pages but kept me invested in the story. I’ve linked the review ICYMI.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead was released this month. I read The Underground Railroad a few years ago it was excel. Whitehead did not disappoint with this well written book inspired by the boys reform school that operated in Florida from 1900 to 2011, where boys were abused in horrific ways. In The Nickel Boys we meet Elwood who ends up at the school during the Civil Rights Era, Jim Crow South. I still need more time to process this book, do some research and yes, write a proper review.


What I’m reading

The Solitary Summer by Elizabeth von Arnim is one I plan to finish up this evening. I’ve been imagining that I’m spending the whole summer off–reading and drinking tea with a view of her garden.


Group Reads for August

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is the chunky Tolstoy classic I’m reading with some book buddies on Instagram for #AnnaInAugust19. If you want to read and discuss over an 8 week period, let me know. No one is afraid of big books! First discussion will be the weekend of August 11/12.


Steep of the week

☕️The Cup: Banana Split |🍃Tea Type : Herbal | ✉️ From: Elmwood Inn Fine Teas

Doesn’t this sound like the perfect way to cool off in the summer! This herbal tea definitely feels like a summer favorite or necessiTEA. The tropical notes along with some coconut are so good. Thank you Elmwood Teas for this free sample!


14 thoughts on “My week in books and tea 7.28.19

  1. Diana says:

    I finished reading “East of Eden” for the first time earlier this week too and I now adore the story and the characters. I enjoyed how unhurried the pace was sometimes and the emphasis on the characters. My favourite characters have got to be Lee and Samuel. Cathy’s life choices did surprise me though and initially I found them a bit unrealistic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • booksbythecup says:

      I’m really glad you enjoyed it. Cathy was an unusual character, what was her motives? She was a stark contrast to most everyone else in the book. She seemed to be so cold and unfeeling, what do you think Steinbeck was trying to portray, or get one to think about? Was she more than the non-typical woman of her day? I’d love to know what you think?

      Samuel and Lee are by far my favorite characters too! What did you think about Samuel and Lee’s final chat? We’re you surprised with how things turned our with Lee? Why do you he decided what he did at the end?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Diana says:

        Yes, I think Cathy was more than the non-typical woman of her day. For me it was clear that Cathy had a psychopathic personality and was also a pathological liar. These people can be charming if they want to be and get what they want, but they cannot feel the pain of others, nor can they feel sympathy. It is Cathy’s motives I cannot understand. I simply cannot understand why Cathy would choose such a harsh life on purpose for herself. If she is indifferent and selfish, why not “exploit” Adam then and his money, estate for her own benefit? Why immediately choose to run and lead a life of immense hardship – poverty and abuse as every prostitute would at that time and only after years of that have some money and “reputation”? Why not choose comfort and profit even if one is attracted to “darkness” and “vile behaviour”?

        If she had those twins and did not want them, she could have several carers at home employed by Adam to take care of them saying she is not feeling well, etc and lived in relative “luxury” and comfort (she could even have poisoned Adam at some point too and inherited his money, just a thought of someone like her – evil). Why immediately run away from money and security when she can “exploit” this situation and people around her if she is selfish and evil? It does not make sense. Surely she loved money and comfort – who would want to be beaten every day or stand abuse? I mean, she must have been very very masochistic for that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • booksbythecup says:

        In one of the earlier discussions on the book, someone mentioned hey thought Cathy acted to survive since women weren’t ones to make their own way in society other than marry, have children and care for the home.

        After reflecting on your comments and considering that I’m reading this again, I still think she was a psychopath. She purposeful chose to harm people, because she had contempt for people who say one thing and acted in a contrary way. It seems to me, she hated people who tried to look for the good in others, like Adam. She scoffed at him earlier in the book and thought him weak, but later after Samuel tells Adam the truth about her, when he goes to see her, she’s angry she can no longer manipulate him.

        I don’t have my book with me but I seem to remember Adam telling her that something was broken. There was one quote I did have handy –

        “I’m beginning to think you’re a twisted human – – – – or no human at all.” [p320]

        Liked by 1 person

      • Diana says:

        Yes, I agree with you about her wanting to harm other people and despising Adam. Still, choosing prostitution at that time must have been choosing death itself and self-destruction rather than life. I mean, she could have died from a venereal disease, beaten to death by a customer, assaulted by others. It is like inflicting torture on yourself even if she loved having sex above anything else. It is just too dangerous a path to take when you have a comfortable alternative. With her brains, beauty and charm she would have wanted to be a rich widow, maybe. Like Dessie, women owned businesses at that time, and Cathy talked about going to New York and be independent.

        To be completely honest, I do not think Steinbeck portrayed women or their nature that accurately in his book – though I enjoyed immensely his portrayal of the male characters. I mean, I was also puzzled by Abra and her later choice regarding Caleb.

        Liked by 1 person

      • booksbythecup says:

        *Sorry for the late reply*
        Cathy remains a character I just can’t figure out. There always seems to be a hint of scorn or some underlying personality flaws in many of Steinbeck’s characters.

        Thinking about the first time I read this until this time, I still wonder why he depicted Cathy the way he did? Is he implying something about the women that is sinister and manipulative? I don’t understand why she would choose such a destructive means of living rather than using her charms to acquire what it seems she wanted, or maybe that’s it. She found some sort of power in manipulating people to be what she wanted them to be and wanted to use their hypocrisy against them (all the info she had on the men) – I do agree with you, she could have done something else, but nothing about Cathy seems reasonable or logical.

        In respect to Abra and Caleb, did it seem similar to Adam and Charles with Cathy? I wonder if the lack of motherly nuture and love made Adam and then Aron seek some fanciful idea of what they looked for in a woman? I thought it was interesting when the kids first meet and Abra would comfort Aron, like she was mother. As Aron’s idea of what Abra was grew further into a larger disillusion, it seemed like she saw Cal to be more like her?
        Hope this doesn’t sound like rambling, I’m a little jet lagged. 🙈

        Liked by 1 person

      • Diana says:

        Thanks for replying! Yes, I agree – nothing about Cathy seems logical – perhaps that was the point. Regarding Abra, again, I found the logic and character progression a bit odd or wanting more clarification. I mean, she shifted her allegiance very conveniently for herself – especially at the end when Aron enlisted. I mean, Aron and Abra have been sweethearts for so long and then there is this shift to his brother. Very convenient for both – and I find it hard to believe her feelings changing like that – and her choosing Aron’s brother, from all people. It does not make Abra “bad” in our eyes, but the whole situation is still a bit “uncomfortable”, shall I put it that way. Abra choosing Caleb because Aron’s ideas about Abra were not true or he viewed her idealistically? Dumping Aron because he became more disillusioned? Well…It was his nature/personality from the start of the story in a way to behave like that – he was a dreamer, after all. Abra did not realise it before?. A bit of a mess with the characterisation and characters’ choices.

        Despite these “issues” that I have about the characterisation, I still regard the book as an absolute masterpiece and will give it five solid stars – just saying.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Grab the Lapels says:

    I would love to read The Brothers Karamazov with you some time, not this year, though. You really kept me motivated to read the very long Roots and was glad we shared that. A Russian novel would be much more challenging for me, as that is not my field of study.

    Liked by 1 person

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