Summer Tea Pairings to Try Out with These Publishers
Words By Ally Geist, Art By Ylanite Koppens
I don’t know about you, but when it starts to get warmer outside, I just love curling up in the sun with a good book. Especially since we are all spending a bit more time at home these days, it’s great to be able to travel to new worlds just by taking a trip to your bookshelf.
My lifesaver during social distancing has been my TBR pile – and I’ve actually had a chance at making my way through it! I always brew a nice cup of tea, fluff my coziest pillows, and get ready for an adventure. Hibernation mode, engaged. Who says you need to leave the house to find new books? I’ve got you covered. And I’ll even throw in a selection of fun summer beverages to enjoy with your new reads!
Without further ado, here is a “tasting menu” of publishers to check out this summer, and some tea pairings to go with them.
Coach House Books
Coach House Books is based in Toronto, Canada, and publishes many emerging Canadian writers. They are similar to F(r)iction in that they have an affinity for the quirky, the weird, and the niche. They publish innovative fiction, poetry, film, drama, and select nonfiction. I’ve been reading their forthcoming book The Baudelaire Fractal and I have to say, it’s kept me on my toes! Coach House’s books prioritize a unique author voice, and they’re worth the read. They also just published Pop by Simina Banu, which “combines deft lyricism with visual poems for a playful romp.” Pop was fun and engaging, and a “junk food fight of poetic styles.” I’d seriously recommend it.
Tea Pairing: Iced maple matcha, perfect for delving into the playful world of Pop.
V.S. Books is an imprint of Arsenal Pulp Press. It was founded by Vivek Shraya. If you haven’t yet heard of Vivek, what are you doing with your life? Check her out! V.S. Books was created as “a mentorship and publishing opportunity for an Indigenous or Black writer, or a writer of colour, between the ages of 18-28, living in Canada.” The first novel ever released by V.S. Books was Shut Up, You’re Pretty, by Téa Mutonji.
Tea Pairing: Vanilla chai rooibus—comforting and surprising at every sip (perfect for cozying up with Mutonji’s debut book!).
Inhabit Media is the first Indigenous-owned independent publishing company in the Canadian Arctic. It was founded so that Inuit children could see themselves represented in books. Their mandate is to bring Arctic stories and wisdom to the world. Their “About Us” section is partially written in Inuktitut! One of their popular books is called The Origin of Day and Night.
Tea Pairing: Wild blueberry! Add some sunglasses, a sunny backyard, and The Origin of Day and Night, and you’re in for a perfect evening!
Tiny Fox Press
Tiny Fox Press is run by a quirky, fun, well-rounded publisher team that “came together wanting three things: talented writers, wonderful stories, and the entrance to Doc Noss’s lost gold mine.” Though they have not yet found that gold mine, they are publishing some great books! Uniquely, they have a military fiction genre. An example of one of these titles is Repentance by Andrew Lam. This book is a timely exploration of the lengths to which someone will go to right their family’s wrongs.
Tea Pairing: A robust berry tea, to give the feeling of an explorer going through the woods, picking wild berries.
Tupelo Press is an independent literary press based in North Adams, MA. The press has an impressive catalog of poetry, literary fiction, and creative nonfiction by both emerging and established writers. They recently published America That Island off the Coast of France by Jesse Lee Kercheval, a stunning collection discussing emigration, citizenship, and linguistic borders.
Tea pairing: Chamomile. Perhaps Earl Grey, if you’re feeling adventurous.
By way of an interesting side note, both of these teas have a lot of history, making them perfect for a book about travel and culture. Chamomile tea’s origins can be traced back to ancient Egypt, whereas Earl Grey tea, named after Earl Charles Grey, has disputed origins. No one really knows who brewed the first cup of Earl Grey tea, but its distinct quality comes from essential oils. It is based on Chinese tea but contains bergamot oil.
Featherproof Books publishes “strange and beautiful fiction and non-fiction and post-, trans-, and inter-genre tragicomedy.” They stuck out to me as a press to explore further, because I had never come across a publisher whose mandate includes tragicomedy. A 2017 title, I’m Fine, But You Appear to Be Sinking, has definitely earned a place on my to-read list!
Tea pairing: Frozen raspberry tea. Trust me, this tastes like a melted slushie and I am HERE FOR IT. I’m Fine, But You Appear to Be Sinking takes you on a journey, and a nice, refreshing tea would be the perfect fit!
Hopefully, this adds some new and exciting publishers to your repertoire this summer. You’re welcome for the ever-growing TBR pile. Go get your picnic blanket, sit in the yard, and read away! Don’t forget your SPF!