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Pu-erh. You heard it here first. A year from now? It will be on the lips of many.

Jesse Kornbluth, of, serving you excellent tea. Alice Waters drinks Pu-erh tea. And swears by it. “My cholesterol went down 100 points since I started drinking this,” she says. ”It was extreme. That’s not a small endorsement. I ordered some. And opened it while we were having dinner with a friend from Texas. It […]

‘She stood for a moment, hugging herself. The glory of her. England stood before him, naked in the darkness.’

Jesse Kornbluth, of, here to praise one of his favorite writers. “A major literary event.” That’s the phrase for any novel by James Salter, and especially “All That Is.” First, because Salter is known in the trade as a “writer’s writer” — underappreciated by the public but revered by those in the know. Then, […]

Where Do You Read?


Hello,  English Musers! It’s Hannah B. again from  Secrets of a Belle. This past weekend, while the rain pitter-pattered on the window, I spent some time curled up on the couch lost in a new favorite book. This got me to thinking. Where do you other people read? Do you curl up on the couch […]

From the Desk of Jane Austen: 100 Postcards


How did I not know about these amazing Jane Austen postcards?! Found these photos tonight on The Daydream Princess tumblr blog. Found them for sale for $13.60 a box on Amazon!

* Twenty * Women * Twenty*

Jesse Kornbluth, of, this week exercising his feminine side and delving into women, women and more women. It used to bug me how, at a certain point at parties, half a dozen of the most interesting women would get up and stroll to the ladies room. Their reason, I came to understand, was neither […]

Silver linings and lemonade

Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. I don’t know how the weather is doing around your part of the world but here in Cardiff it’s pretty rainy. My hometown in Belgium isn’t much better: snow. Now I nearly talked about how depressing the rain is. Nearly. And then I stopped […]

She survived cancer. Endured a married lover. But when she lost her job, Dominique Browning had to reinvent her life.

Jesse Kornbluth, of, this week in awe of a woman in pajamas. “Slow love” is a good description of the way I’ve come to know Dominique Browning. After decades of a nodding acquaintance when we worked at glossy magazines, we started reading the other’s web sites. There was a chance meeting at a dinner, […]

Paris at the end of La Belle Epoque

A021126\The year was 1914. This date marked the end of a golden age in France that we now know as "La Belle Epoque," and the start of the first World War. La Belle Epoque was a period of peace that began in the 1870s and continued for four decades. Without the distractions and deprivations of [...]

“Wow, Josh Ritter, holy freaking wow.”

Jesse Kornbluth, of, this week cheering for the singer-songwriter adored by English majors and the men and women who adore them. I love silent days crafting sentences alone, but if you put a gun to my head and told me I’d have to trade my maid’s room for the stages of music clubs and […]

What *Magazines* Are You Reading?

The Classic: Southern Living, The Newbie: The Local Palate, Best Writing & my Favorite: Garden & Gun

Hello, English Musers! It’s Hannah B. once again from Secrets of a Belle. Tina was nice enough to invite me back to share with y’all on Monday afternoons! (Isn’t she the sweetest?) So today, I thought I’d take a little survey. When I was little, I adored magazines. I hoarded Mary Englebreit’s Home Companion, Domino, […]

Believing in your ability

Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. This week I want to talk about mindset and how it can influence anything and everything. I have a preliminary audition for a competition tomorrow. I’m nervous and not really sure whether it is a good idea. I feel like my voice is in […]

Easy to say ‘Be patient.’ Much harder to do it when you’ve just jumped out of a crashed plane in Burma, drenched in fuel, and are on fire.

Jesse Kornbluth, of, thinking he really ought to meditate more often. “Peace can be found within, no matter the external circumstances,” Allan Lokos writes in “Patience: The Art of Peaceful Living.” “Forgive me, Allan,” I thought, when I read his book for the first time. ”You may be the founder and guiding teacher of […]

An attitude of gratitude

Hello English Muse readers! Karen from A Simple Cup of Tea once again. Where did those two first months of 2013 fly away to? I can barely believe it’s nearly March already. I’ve been studying at Royal Welsh College for nearly two months now and even though it keeps me ridiculously busy I’m mostly just grateful to […]

The best novel by the favorite writer of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is about a woman who lives off men.

Jesse Kornbluth, of, here to present a woman who feels much worse than you can in the dull bottom of February. The favorite writer of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is said to have been Jean Rhys (1890-1979). If so, that says a lot, for the main character in a novel by Rhys tends to be […]

The Fault in Our Stars


Illustration by Foxtales.

In Motion


The food of love


When you just can’t find the words, say it with food.

Warren Beatty and Julie Christie Star In The Best Western You’ve Never Seen

Jesse Kornbluth, of, checking in between winter storms. And thinking: It’s a lot colder in this classic movie. So why not suggest it? Readers will feel better about themselves as they watch a great film they may have missed. Robert Altman liked to say he hated Westerns. He didn’t much enjoy working with Warren […]

Susan Sontag: Nothing is Mysterious…Except Love


Illustration by the amazing Wendy MacNaughton.

Frida Kahlo, out of the closet


It was like discovering a hidden pirate’s treasure, for fashion lovers and art lovers alike. After more than half a century, museum curators have unlocked the doors to Frida Kahlo’s closet, at the same time unlocking many secrets of her life. When Frida died in 1954, her heartbroken husband, famous Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, locked […]

“Arsene Lupin, gentleman burglar, will return when the furniture is genuine.”

Jesse Kornbluth, of, this week wearing le smoking and smirking. Arsene Lupin — you know him not, but to generations of European readers he was the French Sherlock Holmes. Well, better than the Brit detective. Holmes was on the side of the law, a stodgy enterprise. But Lupin was a burglar. A gentleman burglar. […]

‘Champagne for my sham friends, real pain for my real friends,’ Noel Coward said. Here is real pain. Because Claire Bidwell Smith is a real friend.

Jesse Kornbluth, of, this week bringing you down — and then up. “The Rules of Inheritance” is a memoir about a bummer. Two bummers, really. When Claire Bidwell Smith, an only child, was 14, both of her parents were diagnosed with cancer. When she was 18, her mother died. When she was 25, her […]

Design your own wallpaper


I am dreaming of a place that is my very own. A home that belongs to me, where I can paint walls and hang pictures and add windows and grow herbs, and nobody can tell me not to. I will dangle silly chandeliers and mobiles and plant hangers from the ceiling, if I want to. […]

‘The Queen’s Gambit’ is my favorite modern American novel. Buy it. Read it. Hate it? I’ll buy it from you.

Jesse Kornbluth, of, this week making you an offer you can’t refuse. It was the spring of 1983. On a long plane trip, I started reading “The Queen’s Gambit.” The author was Walter Tevis, who had also written “The Man Who Fell to Earth” and “The Hustler” (and who would later write “The Color […]


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