Sometimes, one just needs to unwind and recharge after a long day. These five books make for a perfect stress remedy, especially when enjoyed with a cup of warm tea. Boil your water, wrap yourself in a warm blanket and enjoy!
1. The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery
“Just about every animal,” Scott says—not just mammals and birds—“can learn, recognize individuals, and respond to empathy.”
The Soul of an Octopus is a non-fiction book by Sy Montgomery that explores the intelligence, emotions, and personalities of octopuses. Part memoir, part natural history, and part scientific investigation, this book has a very calming and meditative tone.
The author details her experiences getting to know several individual octopuses at the New England Aquarium in Boston, and describes the fascinating behavior and abilities she observed in these creatures. Montgomery also delves into the science of octopus cognition and communication, drawing on the latest research to paint a vivid picture of the complexity of these creatures' inner lives.
Throughout the book, Montgomery weaves together personal anecdotes with scientific facts and philosophical musings, raising thought-provoking questions about the nature of consciousness, the relationship between humans and animals, and the possibility of interspecies communication.
This book is a great companion for our Foxy Yan roasted oolong tea because it combines beautiful prose, fascinating facts, and emotional depth: pure relaxation, contemplation, and connection.
2. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
A home isn't always the house we live in. It's also the people we choose to surround ourselves with.
This heartwarming and enchanting fantasy novel follows the life of Linus Baker, a caseworker for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth (DICOMY), who is sent to investigate an orphanage located on a mysterious island.
It is a beautifully written novel that explores themes of love, acceptance, and diversity. The characters are charming and endearing, and the story is filled with humor, adventure, and moments of emotion. I couldn't help but smile throughout the entire book.
The book is a celebration of individuality and the power of kindness, and it's a great read for LGBTQ youth.
3. The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
Perhaps the length of one’s life was not important—except in the way it is to so many living beings, desperate to avoid death. Perhaps, long or short, it mattered how one spent that time.
The Raven Tower is a complex and intricate story that explores themes of language, power, loyalty, and identity. This is the first book I've read that is written in second person PoV, and I must say, this truly adds to the impact of the narrative.
The story is set in a world where gods and humans coexist, and the fate of the kingdom of Iraden hangs in the balance.
The book is told from two perspectives: that of a god known as The Strength and Patience of the Hill, who has watched over the land for centuries, and that of Eolo, a soldier who is summoned to the city of Vastai to serve the new ruler, Mawat.
It's definitely a slow read, particularly due to Leckie's writing style, but my-my is it rewarding. Whether you're a fan of fantasy or philosophical fiction, this compelling and thought-provoking novel is worth spending evenings while sipping on some Heavenly Red Oolong.
4. Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente
A tale may have exactly three beginnings: one for the audience, one for the artist, and one for the poor bastard who has to live in it.
The book is set in an alternate universe where space travel is commonplace, and humans have colonized the solar system and beyond. The story revolves around the disappearance of a young filmmaker named Severin Unck, who was on location shooting a documentary about the remote planet Venus.
The novel is told through a variety of different narrative styles, including diary entries, interviews, film scripts, and letters.
This cool blend of science fiction, fantasy, and noir mystery is supported by with vivid descriptions of otherworldly landscapes, food, fashion, and film. It delves into themes of memory, identity, and the power of storytelling, ultimately trying to answer what role of art play in shaping our reality.
5. Kalpa Imperial by Angélica Gorodischer
... the more people there are to think a thought, the uglier and more crippled and deformed the poor thought gets.
In this book, we dive into a mythical empire that spans countless worlds and centuries. Each story is narrated by a different character, each with their own perspective on the history and culture of this vast and complex empire.
The book explores a wide range of themes, including power, politics, religion, gender, and identity. The stories are filled with vivid descriptions of exotic landscapes, strange creatures, and fantastical technologies, creating a rich and immersive world that is both familiar and alien.
I couldn't help but associate this book with our Ms. Gardenia oolong. Perhaps, it was because one of the storylines was set in a garden.