Audiobook Review: Together Tea by Marjan Kamali

Together Tea by Marjan Kamali

I’ve been on an audiobook kick recently and have been really lucky with my random picks from my library’s Overdrive collection.

When a novel sticks with me days after I’ve finished reading it, then I know it’s one I’ll recommend to my friends. What I most about debut novel Together Tea by Marjan Kamali is all of its many strong, richly developed female characters. The women aren’t perfect, but they’re real and raw. Thanks to talented narrator Negin Farsad, I cannot get their voices out of my head.

The book blurb for novel makes it sound like a romance, but the novel is truly about learning to accept who you really are and finding community.

When she was only 10 years old, Mina and her family left Tehran in the middle of the night to escape Iran’s new conservative and religious landscape. Her father and mother toiled as immigrants in New York City to give Mina and her two brothers freedom they wouldn’t have had in Iran. Now as an adult, Mina feels lost as she attempts to straddle being American and Iranian. In order to escape business school and her mother’s matchmaking, she propose a return trip to her homeland. Her mother Darya, who has always been homesick, joins Mina on their two week trip. The trip becomes a soul searching for both mother and daughter.

The novel alternates between Darya and Mina’s point of view. We get a inside look at the complexities of culture and identity, especially for those who are part of the 1.5 generation of immigrants like Mina. We also get a glimpse of their lives in Tehran before and during the revolution. We learn how hard it was for strong women like Mina and Darya to adjust to the new conservative laws that restricted how they dressed, how they walked, and who they looked at in public.

Reading Together Tea made me realize that I live in a big bubble here in the United States. I don’t normally give Iran a passing thought except when the country’s politics pop up on the news. I never gave much thought about Persian culture and its beautiful history–until now.

I highly recommend the audiobook of Together Tea. Negin Farsad gave each character distinct voices and cadences so it was easy to distinguish who was speaking. They were so alive and fun! She made me want to sit down for tea with Mina, Darya and their friends.

I hope the next audiobook I borrow my library is as good as Together Tea.

9 Bookish Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

9 Bookish Gift Ideas For Mother's Day at From Left to Write

Can you believe Mother’s Day is just around the corner? It seems just yesterday we were celebrating New Year’s and now the year is almost half gone!

No need to look further for a unique gift for that special mom in your life!  As a mom, I’ve curated the best gifts–many of which I personallyuse.

1. A few iPhone updates ago, my daughter gave me this cellphone case to replace the indestructible one she “borrowed” from me.  To this day, that surprise gift has probably been the one I have used the most, and I have since purchased several of the products made by Twelve South.

2. Before discovering these custom bookmarks from PuurAnders, I was notorious at dog-earing the pages.  Now, I can’t get enough of these beauties! Since I live in a small cabin in the woods AND I have children {even grandchildren!} these nature & family-inspired bookmarks are well-cherished.

3. As someone who reads in bed, this Book Shade nightlight is perfect at saving my place.  It is also a fun conversation piece that will have anyone who knows a book-obsessed mom or is a book-obsessed mom smiling.

4. I first bought one of these scented candles inspired by library classics for a trip we were taking. The Mr. loved it so much that he now takes one on his business trips as well.  The scent is light and refreshing with a bit of lavender to aid in relaxation after a long day of touring {or working}.

5-6. Having a three year old grandson who enjoys coloring has reminded me of the therapeutic benefits derived from the simple act of coloring.  I was so pleased to discover the Secret Garden coloring book for adults.  The artist suggested these colored pens and I’ve been quite happy with the set.  For hours {or even a stolen moment or two} these pages will give even the most frazzled mom a respite.

7. Although at first glance you might think this is a scrabble game, these Words Cubed are a brilliant way to share uplifting messages with the mom you love.  Well-crafted and with lovely typeset, there’s over a million phrase selections. This gift could keep the family turning words every day for years to come!

8. This journal is the perfect size for moms to keep those special moments recorded or to do a quick word-find while waiting in the carpool line.  Personally, I use mine as a catch-all for everything: the word-find in the front and back cover when I’m procrastinating; making to-do and to-done lists; journaling my innermost thoughts and recording special moments with my family.

9. My newest favorite is Rememory, a unique prompt for those locked-inside memories.  These cards can be used to jumpstart family reunions or as a writing prompt and memory-generator. For those who think memories are elusive, I just dare you to give these cards a try. You’ll be taking many a trip down memory lane!

Have you tried any of these goodies? Which one you would you want for Mother’s Day? 

 

April Book Club Feature: Under Magnolia by Frances Mayes

Under Magnolia by Frances Mayes

  Spring break is over and my kids are back in school! (Throws confetti) Now I can focus on our first April book club, Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir by Frances Mayes. As a southerner, I’m always fascinated by others’ experiences in the south.  Those who loved Under the Tuscan Sun and will be entranced by Mayes’ evocative writing and […]

[Continue reading...]

What’s On Your Nightstand: Annabel Smith

Annabel Smith (via author's website)

For today’s edition of What’s On Your Nightstand, author Annabel Smith gives us a glimpse at her nightstand. No, really, she sent a photo.  After you gawk at her stack, make sure you check out her new book Whiskey and Charlie. Take it away Annabel! Contemporary Australian and North American novels are my great passion, and make […]

[Continue reading...]

Girl On the Train Audiobook Review

Girl On the Train Audibook

After seeing my friends rave about The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins, I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed to get my hands on a copy. I added my name to my library’s hold list for digital copies of both the e-book and the audiobook. I was something like #1300 on the e-book hold […]

[Continue reading...]

5 Feel Good Books To Read

Feel Good Books to Read

As quickly as my mood might change so does my taste for books. Sometimes I want to dive into a book that will challenge me to think critically about an issue. Sometimes I’m looking for something a bit dark and twisty that might leave me with more questions than answers. Other times I pick up […]

[Continue reading...]