Five caffeinated reads.



The Joy of Coffee:
The Essential Guide to Buying, Brewing, and Enjoying

By Corby Kummer


Kummer takes a connoisseur's tour of a coffee plantation and follows the bean from its initial growth to the travel mugs of everyday Americans. Along the way he brings to life each step of coffee's intricate production process—from harvesting to roasting to brewing. Recipes for coffee-based treats included.




The Coffee Trader

By David Liss


The Portuguese protagonist of this subtly suspenseful tale of 17th-century Amsterdam has been driven from his home country by the Inquisition and has already made—and lost—a fortune before partnering with a strange Dutchwoman to trade in a new, mysterious beverage: coffee. Liss, the author of the celebrated Benjamin Weaver mysteries, puts his twin talents for historical portraiture and thoughtful intrigue to work in a robustly imagined novel.



Coffee: A Dark History

By Antony Wild


"Poverty, violence, exploitation, environmental devastation, political oppression, and corruption" are all part of the more than 500-year history unveiled by former British specialty-coffee salesman Wild, who offers an entertaining primer on the bean's history, including its start as the United States' hot drink of choice, thanks to the Boston Tea Party.




How Starbucks Saved My Life:
A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else

By Michael Gates Gill


When Michael Gill's marriage combusted and he got laid off from his 25-year, six-figure job as an advertising exec in Manhattan, his life went into turmoil. But a job slinging espresso gave him new respect for everybody behind the counter and everybody who drags himself to the other side.




Scrumptious Drinks and Treats

By Betty Rosbottom


Syndicated columnist Rosbottom serves up a wide array of coffee-related recipes in this photo-filled reference. From café au lait and homemade cappuccino to macchiatos and old-fashioned coffee sodas, Rosbottom, who also authored Waffles and Sunday Soup, shares her insight into the bean and its myriad flavorings. Good to the last drop.


April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.