Behold the Dreamers
Pair with Chai Tea
The Jonga family—Jenda, Neni, and their 6-year-old son—have moved to Harlem from Cameroon to make a better life. Jenda and Neni are thrilled when Jenda lands a job as a chauffeur for a Lehmann Brothers senior executive, and again when the man’s wife offers Neni temporary work at their house in the Hamptons. These jobs herald the Jonga family’s own American Dream, but Jende and Neni aren’t prepared for the risks of entering such a world of power and privilege. Pair this satisfying read with spiced chai tea, popular in Cameroon.
Pair with Peach White Tea
Exes Claire and Matt are trying to be grownups for their daughter, Scarlett, so they’re combining new partners, Scarlett’s imaginary friend, and Forced Fun Activities on a collective trip to the Happy Forest holiday park. What could go wrong? (Hint: this laugh-out-loud odyssey begins and ends with a 911 call.) Pair this quirky novel about a blended family with a blended tea, like a peach white.
Pair with English Breakfast Tea
When Vivian Forest gets the opportunity to spend the holidays in England with her daughter Maddie, finding romance on the other side of the pond is the furthest thing from her mind. Yet Vivian’s expectations change when she meets Malcolm Hudson, the striking private secretary for the Queen. As the holidays draw nearer, so do Vivian and Malcolm, despite the looming departure date for Vivian’s flight back home. Pair this one with a traditional English breakfast tea (and “biscuits,” of course!).
The Female Persuasion
Pair with Iron Goddess Superior Oolong Tea
While listening to the Gloria Steinem–like Faith Frank, college freshman Greer Kadetsky begins to realize that she wants to fight for women’s empowerment. As the years pass, though, Greer discovers that far more than mere ideology and do-gooder tendencies are needed to survive the corporate feminist world she finds herself in. Pair with a special type of Oolong tea called Iron Goddess Superior, because the future is female (but only if it’s intersectional).
Xuan Juliana Wang
Pair with Dragon Well Green Tea
Xuan Juliana Wang’s debut story collection explores the worlds of Chinese millennials trying to figure out what it means to live a meaningful life: a synchronized swimmer competing in the Beijing Olympics must decide what sacrifices he’s willing to make; a globetrotting woman navigates loneliness and a lack of purpose living in the states. Wang asks big questions about class, identity, and immigrant narratives in this stunning collection. Pair with Dragon Well (Longjing), a sweet and mellow green tea.
What We Lose
Pair with Rooibos Tea
Raised in Pennsylvania, Thandi feels distant from her mother’s South African upbringing, and yet it is all around her: the feeling of not belonging, of being two things at once—Black and white, but not fully belonging to either. When her mother succumbs to cancer, Thandi must cope without the hand that guided her through life, experiencing romances and motherhood without her maternal compass. This debut novel is stunning and powerful, and addresses with sheer beauty how to live after loss. Pair with a Rooibos tea, the national drink of South Africa.
How to Do Nothing
Pair with Silver Needle Tea
How to Do Nothing is an essential book for our overworked times. In this guide to resisting the attention economy, Jenny Odell argues that our attention is our most valuable resource, and how we spend it matters. Says Trick Mirror author Jia Tolentino, “She struck a hopeful nerve of possibility that I hadn’t felt in a long time.” Odell sings the praises of spaces like community gardens, so pair this one with silver needle, a variety of white tea made from the first spring buds of the plant.
All Adults Here
Pair with Peppermint Tea
In Emma Straub’s latest funny and heartwarming novel, matriarch Astrid Strick tries to determine if it was any of her parenting mistakes that made her three grown children the (slightly neurotic, slightly messy) adults they are now. A family novel of foibles and forgiveness, it’ll have you both nodding your head in recognition and calling up your own family to commiserate and rehash old stories. Pair with peppermint tea, the perfect partner for this humorous pick-me-up.
Pair with Hibiscus Tea
This uncensored deep dive into how people with female bodies have been told to feel about those bodies is particularly explicit about one body in particular: through hilarious anecdotes, conversations with experts, and even cartoons, Mara Altman’s essays spare no detail in bringing readers into her relationship with her “top half,” “bottom half,” and everything in between. This is a celebration of lady parts in all their messy glory. Pair it with a hibiscus tea to enhance your beautiful feminine complexion.
The Bear and the Nightingale
Pair with Lapsang Souchong Tea
Katherine Arden’s debut novel is inspired by Russian fairy tales. In the wilderness of northern Russia, a stranger presents Vasya’s father with a mysterious necklace for her. It’s only later, when the village is threatened, that Vasya discovers the gift makes her the only person who can fight the darkness. Pair with a smoky Lapsang Souchong, a tea leaf that’s often used in Russian blends.
Few things are more satisfying than curling up under a cozy blanket with a great book and a mug of tea. Connoisseurs of the tea leaf know that the right tea can enhance your reading experience—that’s why we went the extra step to match these delightful books with the perfect hot drinks.
Featured Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock