As a barista, I have made an absurd amount of coffee, and as a book lover, I have read a ridiculous amount of books. These two things have always been intertwined. A known bookish trope is to sit at a coffee shop wrapped tightly in a comfy sweater with a worn novel in your hands, a steaming coffee by your side. These books are just waiting to be apart of that fantasy.
A Black Coffee
You like a strong black coffee, no cream no sugar. It is one of the easiest coffees to make but arguably the hardest to like. This reminds me of the classics; always there, always accessible, but maybe not the first book you’re drawn to.
Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms and Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist reflect the nature of a black coffee effortlessly. Their authors are beloved for their work, but not necessarily for their views or personalities. My friend Sean describes classics as leaving a stain on a mug. Once that black coffee is enjoyed, there is a rim around the cup and grinds at the bottom. You get to stare down into that mug and reflect on how different the times were, how much things have changed since they were published.
The bitterness resides there; in the observation of language and how characters treated on another. It also symbolizes they pertinent placement on the shelves of every library and bookstore. Classics such as these have a lasting effect hundreds of years later.
A Double Espresso
Living in Italy right now, I know the taste of a morning espresso all too well. A double espresso wakes you up. It is a strong, bitter few sips but you keep pushing through. These novels have the same effect; they are hard to get through but they educate you on areas that need more attention.
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects by Mary Wollstonecraft and Beloved by Toni Morrison put necessary topics on the table. Wollstonecraft was a feminist of her time, with her book being one of the earliest written female philosophies. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman documents Wollstonecraft’s arguments regarding a woman’s right to have an education equal to a mans so they can contribute not only to the home, but also to society. I know this book was published in the 18th century, but its message still holds true and was a pioneering piece for its time. It is a bitter pill to swallow that woman had to fight for their place in society and today, woman are still fighting for equal pay. A book like Wollstonecraft’s illuniates the struggles for woman of this time and allows us to learn and change.
Toni Morrison consistently opens the door to a world I cannot conseptulize. Beloved is a gutwrenching piece inspired by a true story that highlights the trauma and lasting effects of enslavement. This topic will never be written about enough. The thoughtfulness in which Morrison writes makes you have to swallow every pungent sip, anxious to continue. It it truthfully not an easy read and took me weeks of rereading and annotating to feel that I had done the story justice in my understanding.
A few stong shots cut with a good amount of milk. Of all the coffee drinks I have mentioned, I would put a latte smack dab in the middle.
In Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie, she pushes the plot, wanting to keep people on their toes and interested. She wasn’t writing to please someone like Hemingway, who would have aganized over each word of a sentence. She was writing to have all the pieces of the mystery immbeded tactfully into the chapters; more about the story less about the delivery.
When I think of a latte in comparison to the other drinks, I would call it the most diluted. Yes, there is espresso but it is drowned in fatty milk. This is not to say Christie’s novel is diluted or doesn’t have a rich story with a twist ending. However, a mystery novel with such attention to content and excitement of the plot wants to be finished quickly, just as a latte can easily be sucked down.
Creamy shots of espresso topped with a cloud of foam. It can be tedious to make but there is a pleasure that comes from steaming the foam perfectly, creating a comforting beverage.
I know that when I finish making a cappuccino and go to hand it to a customer, I hope the cup weighs nothing in my hands. This is how this book made me feel; light. There wasn’t a severe weight to the story allowing it to be a steamy and exciting read. Following two scientists in a “fake relationship”, The Love Hypothesis takes a few twists and turns but at its core its adorable and romantic. It has the creaminess of espresso but the lightness from foam which differs greatly from the strength of a black coffee or espresso.
A Caramel Macchiato
Sweet with that kick of espresso, a caramel macchiato is one of my favorites. It is also an incredible popular drink loved by many just like new sensation Collen Hoover. Her novels fit into a niche group of work that the book community has been craving; dramic romance with dashes of sexual chemistry.
Like a caramel macchiato, Ugly Love, balances the sweetness of love with the acquired taste of an ugly truth. The story of Miles and Tate was not love and first sight, but by the end challenges the meaning of friendship and trust. This book has a bit more sustance compared to The Love Hypothesis which I would compare to a fast fanfiction read. Hoover makes the character’s craveable, just as I crave a caramel macchiato. I want more from them whether its lust or hate, I want it all on the table.
I’m not sure if its just me, but it feels necessary to always have coffee by my side as I read. How else am I going to feel like a character in the novels I read?
If you want to read more about pairing books with coffee click here!