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3.7 out of 5 stars
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3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 18 August 2011
Having read `The book of tea' through three times so far I have to say its use of language is beautiful and its take on the west intriguing. It's a fusion of history, poetry and gives the reader a glimpse into the Japanese art of life. The book of tea offers a refreshing take on the drink and the culture; and encourages the reader to appreciate the beauty of the simple and beautiful. The books age has added to its charm; would recommend it to anyone.
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This little booklet, written in 1906, is still one of the absolute classics on the Japanese tea ceremony. This essay about Japanese culture as it is epitomized in the "way of tea" (chadô) also served as an apology for Eastern traditions at large to the Western world. Okakura was a practitioner, art critic and connoisseur, and a collaborator of Fenellosa and his circle, who introduced Japanese art in the United States. Although detailed technical information about the ceremony is avoided, the latter's historical background as well as its relation to Japanese attitudes, Zen, Tao, art and art appreciation are treated in a suggestive and essayistic vein. The way of tea appears as a "moral geometry" embodying particular values than a particular set of beliefs. There is, thus, a "philosophy of tea", at least in the sense that the practice of tea wholly constitutes a "form of life".
The book was written in a graceful, clear and precise English, which is in itself a remarkable feat.
Amateurs of the way of tea should combine this reading with more detailed studies such as Sadler's, Shositsu Sen's and Horst Hammitzsch's, or the academic and up to date study by Jennifer Anderson.
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on 25 February 2011
Loved this book! The writing, use of language and phraseology took me on a gentle stroll through the ages with an eastern perspective. Gave me a deep respect and has encouraged me to look for the beauty in simplicity.
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on 22 March 2013
I ordered this as a gift for a friend who is a tea lover but I was very disappointed by the quality of the product I received. It is pretty much a digital colour copy of the book. The image on the front cover is pixelated because of the poor resolution. I have bought another edition of this book for £1 more which was proper print quality and included extra notes. The other edition has a brown cover with an image within a square on the cover.
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on 24 August 1998
For anyone interested in Asian, and particularly Japanese, culture, this book is a must. By following the history of tea and its role in the spiritual and cultural development of Japan, this slim volume gives the reader remarkable insight into the Japanese mind. Written with a keen sense of humor, the Book of Tea is very readable and entertaining, while at the same time illustrating the Japanese passion for the simple. This version is a quality translation, and you cannot beat the price. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Japan, Buddhism, Taoism, or tea.
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on 24 June 2011
Even though this book was written ages ago, it is very relevant to our modern hectic lifestyle. Reading the book was a pleasure and it made me aware of the power of tea. Now, tea has become a major part of my life and coupled with Za-Zen gives me a lot of peace. I would recommend this book.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 1 November 2015
The Book Of Tea, Was nothing like what i was expecting to read. I was looking for a book explaining the different types of tea, as i recently purchased a Tea Infuser, So i was looking for help on all the various teas and there origins and making the perfect cup of tea.

This book explains when tea became known in China and Japan and then into the western world also.
Then also goes on to explain the Culture of Tea-ism.

I would personally describe the writing style more as poetry. Very Interesting and unexpected.
I don't think everyone will like this book, But even though it wasn't what i had initially wanted, I actually enjoyed reading the history of such a simple thing like Tea.
Tea Is So Simple and enjoyed by many in various forms all over the world.
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on 6 July 2014
Needs an editor, with a strict sense of organization...Interesting, informative sections are mixed with rants about decadence, esp western vulgarity and barbarism, after a while it gets tiresome...I would have liked all the lyrical and charming info about tea in one section, and the angry diatribes in another, suitable for skipping....too bad, it gets tiresome...
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on 14 January 2013
This is an odd little book, clearly from another age.

It is relaxing to read and thought-provoking. It may not be everyone's, er, cup of tea, but some are likely to find it very much to their taste. Give it a try.
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on 15 July 2016
Enough has been said about the book itself, by Kakuzo Okakura, and I don't feel I can add anything of value to this.

I wanted to briefly mention that the disappointing quality of this edition highlights Penguin's long recognised problem of spotty quality. The paper here is very cheap, making the book floppy and the cover is made from a cheap glossy stock. Inside, the text looks like it's been printed on as cheaply as possible, is blurry and a faded black. I own a lot of the Penguin Classics and have noticed that the quality isn't the same across, which is disappointing. The quality ranges from perfectly sharp text printed on good quality paper and a nice cover stock, to books that look almost like fakes in comparison. Penguin is a respected publisher and I expected better, especially for the expensive £8.99 cover price of 'The Book of Tea'. Maybe they've become too big, so poor quality slips through, unnoticed.
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