The Japanese tea ceremony is a traditional art in which actual consumption takes a backseat to process and presentation. It’s also an activity for the privileged, one in which people can enjoy only if they have spare time to devote to classes. But Noriko Morishita has shown how a modern woman can embrace a fading art and the calmness it can bring. Morishita’s The Wisdom of Tea: Life Lessons from the Japanese Tea Ceremony was so successful in Japan that it was adapted into a 2018 film.
In Ben Bland’s political biography Man of Contradictions: Joko Widodo and the Struggle to Remake Indonesia, the current president of Indonesia starts out as a political outsider but becomes part of the establishment.
Alan Mikhail’s much-publicized and lavishly-illustrated new book on Selim I, which he calls “a revisionist account, providing a new and more holistic picture of the last five centuries,” would seem, at first, to be a very welcome addition to a rather sparse list of books, especially biographies, on Ottoman sultans.
Short books: digestible in one sitting (think a cup of coffee or, in this instance, the final hour before school pick-up) and self-contained. The idea that few(er) words still pack a big punch. Increasingly, short books and series of short books are becoming more popular, their bite-sized format appealing to readers, writers and publishers alike.
Dori Jones Yang moved to Hong Kong in 1982 to run the BusinessWeek bureau. She was just 27 and the first woman to hold that position. In her memoir, When the Red Gates Opened, Jones Yang tells how she covered China during Deng’s ascent soon after China and the United States restored relations.
Sophia Chang is one of the most influential managers and producers in hip-hop music, yet few would recognize her name. The daughter of Korean immigrants, Chang grew up in an academic family in Vancouver. How did someone with such a presumably pre-determined path end up in New York’s hip-hop scene (and why have many of us remained oblivious of her until now)? Chang hints at part of the answer in the title of her new memoir, The Baddest Bitch in the Room.
Seventy-five years ago, Japan formally surrendered to the Allied powers in a ceremony aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, thereby ending the Second World War. War brings out the best and worst aspects of human nature—it produces remarkable heroes and cruel villains.