Literary Starbucks: Fresh-Brewed, Half-Caf, No-Whip Bookish Humor

Literary Starbucks: Fresh-Brewed, Half-Caf, No-Whip Bookish Humor

Literary Starbucks: Fresh-Brewed, Half-Caf, No-Whip Bookish Humor

Literary Starbucks: Fresh-Brewed, Half-Caf, No-Whip Bookish Humor



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From the creators of the eponymous viral Tumblr comes a single day with your favorite authors in one Twilight-Zone-esque Starbucks...

Ever wonder which intricate, elaborately-named drinks might be consumed if your favorite authors and characters wandered into a Starbucks? How many pumpkin lattes J.K. Rowling would drink? Or if Cormac McCarthy needed caffeine, which latte would be laconic enough? Look no further; LITERARY STARBUCKS explores such pressing matters with humor and erudition. Set over the course of a single day, and replete with puns and satirized literary styles, the three authors go darker, stronger, and more global than the blog in book format, including illustrations by acclaimed New Yorker cover artist and cartoonist Harry Bliss.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250096807
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/23/2016
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: eBook
Pages: 256
File size: 7 MB

About the Author

NORA KATZ is a senior at Carleton College, studying history with minors in Medieval&Renaissance Studies and Archaeology. Her first Literary Starbucks post was J.R.R. Tolkien.

WILSON JOSEPHSON is a senior at Carleton College, studying English with a creative writing focus. He works as the Assistant Poetry Editor of The Rain, Party,&Disaster Society. His first Literary Starbucks post was Thomas Pynchon.

JILL POSKANZER is a recent graduate of Carleton College, with a degree in English with special focus in creative writing. She is currently employed at CBS Studios in Los Angeles, California. Her first post -- which was also the inaugural post of Literary Starbucks -- was John Keats.

HARRY BLISS is a cartoonist and cover artist for The New Yorker magazine. Bliss studied painting at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Illustration at The University of the Arts (BFA) and Syracuse University (MA). While not on tour promoting his picture books, Harry can be found drawing his internationally syndicated, single panel gag cartoons entitled BLISS. Harry N. Abrams published Death by Laughter, the first collection of these extremely witty cartoons in Spring 2008 with an introduction by Christopher Guest. Harry lives in South Burlington, Vermont.

Nora Katz is a senior at Carleton College, studying history with minors in Medieval&Renaissance Studies and Archaeology. Her first Literary Starbucks post was J.R.R. Tolkien.
Wilson Josephson is a senior at Carleton College, studying English with a creative writing focus. He works as the Assistant Poetry Editor of The Rain, Party,&Disaster Society. His first Literary Starbucks post was Thomas Pynchon.
Jill Poskanzer is a recent graduate of Carleton College, with a degree in English with special focus in creative writing. She is currently employed at CBS Studios in Los Angeles, California. Her first post-which was also the inaugural post of Literary Starbucks-was John Keats.
Harry Bliss is a cartoonist and cover artist for the New Yorker magazine. His syndicated single-panel comic ‘Bliss’ appears in newspapers internationally. He has written and illustrated over 20 books for children and is the founder of the Cornish CCS Fellowship for Graphic Novelists in Cornish, New Hampshire.

Read an Excerpt

Literary Starbucks

By Jill Poskanzer, Wilson Josephson, Nora Katz

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2016 Jill Poskanzer, Wilson Josephson, and Nora Katz
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-09680-7


up e.e. cummings g o e s to the counter &orders an icedvanillalatte he sits.

waits. one two three four five minutes until the baristalady w h i s t l e s his name — "how do you like your coffee, mr. poet?"

The baristas have been in the shop for three minutes when they hear a knock on the glass at the front of the store. Someone on the other side of the door has his forehead pressed against the glass, almost as though he'd be unable to stand on his own. Clearly he needs coffee. One of the braver baristas opens the door; John Keats enters.

John Keats orders a Venti iced caramel Frappuccino. He sits down at a table by himself, sighs dramatically, and doesn't drink it.

Eugene O'Neill goes up to the counter first thing in the morning and orders a black coffee.

Mary Oliver enters the Starbucks. A flock of birds follows her through the door. She orders a chocolate smoothie, but the barista can't hear her over the general chaos. There's a kingfisher diving into the iced coffee, wrens are using straws to construct nests, and a large goose has caught itself in the ceiling fan.

"I can't work under these conditions!" shouts the barista.

The din seems to die down just long enough for Oliver to reach across the counter and grasp the barista's hand. "It does not have to be good," she says earnestly. She takes her half-made smoothie to go, leaving Starbucks overrun with wildlife.

Rip Van Winkle enters, yawns, and tries to order a glazed donut. "Sir," says the barista, "this is a Starbucks. We don't really do donuts." Rip Van Winkle looks around, bemused. "It sure looks like Dunkin' Donuts," he says. "The only thing that's any different is the sign...."

Nick Carraway enters, but instead of ordering something for himself, he leans on the edge of the counter and narrates what everyone else is ordering for the entire day.

Harper Lee comes in and orders a Grande cappuccino. She thinks it tastes great, and the other people in the shop seem to agree, so she never orders another drink again. When her family friend orders her a tall decaf fifty-five years later, no one believes it's really for Ms. Lee.

    Elizabeth Bishop

    The art of coffee isn't hard to master;
    so many cups seem brewed with the intent
    to be drunk that the cup is no disaster.

    Drink coffee every day. Accept the fluster
    Of early mornings, hours badly spent.
    The art of coffee isn't hard to master.

    Then practice drinking longer, drinking faster:
    places, and names, and where it was you meant
    to order. None of this will bring disaster.

    I got up early once. And look! my last, or
    next-to-last of three cupped coffees drank.
    The art of coffee isn't hard to master.

    I drank two lattes, lovely ones. And, vaster,
    some flavored Venti cappuccinos spent.
    I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

    Even ordering now (the joking voice, a gesture
    I love) I shan't have mumbled. It's evident
    The art of coffee's not too hard to master
    Though it may look like (WRITE it!) like disaster.

Marcel Proust orders a gallon of coffee. "But, sir!" cries the barista, "that'd take seven of our biggest cups!" He downs all seven without hesitation, and his feat is met with great applause by the other patrons.

One of the baristas notices that the espresso machine is making a weird noise. She ignores it.

Faramir does not love the iced coffee for its chill, nor the latte for its froth, nor the to-go cup for its convenience. He just really needs his caffeine fix.

Here is A. A. Milne, bumping up the stairs of the shop. Here is his tweed jacket, thrown over a chair. Here he is at the counter, ready to order a green tea with extra honey.

William Butler Yeats goes up to the counter and has a trained falcon order his coffee for him. "Do you want regular or decaf?" asks the barista. "What??" asks the falcon.

A. A. Milne sits down at a table in the corner. His son enters and begins playing with Yeats's falcon. Milne takes notes.

It remains quiet. There are falcon droppings all over the floor of the shop, but the health inspector isn't coming until tomorrow.

Chinua Achebe comes in and orders strong tea and a scone. He picks up the scone and it crumbles in his hands. "Sorry," the barista says. "Things fall apart."

A. A. Milne asks Achebe if he'd like honey on his scone.

"Don't bother about the scone," says Achebe.

Haruki Murakami tries to order something off of Starbucks' secret menu. The notion that there might be a secret menu surprises the barista, who has never heard of such a thing. Murakami is disappointed, but not particularly surprised, and decides to order a glass of steamed milk with a squirt of cinnamon syrup. While waiting by the counter, he listens to the jazz coming through the speakers, taps his foot, and remembers when he used to run a coffee shop. That had been a good time. He is so distracted by the past that he doesn't notice when a small cat begins to lap up his order. He snaps out of his reverie and chases off the cat. Later in the day, he goes looking for the cat, hoping to make reparations. He never finds it.

Mary Ann Evans goes up to the counter and gives her name as George Eliot. Everyone in the Starbucks knows one another, and knows everything about the others. One has a secret, but it will not remain hidden for long, especially since Nick Carraway will share it with everyone who passes through the Starbucks. The Starbucks is where all the townsfolk come to gossip, and one cannot expect to keep entirely to oneself. Eliot's Venti chai tea latte arrives. By the time she gets home, everyone on her moderately endowed estate — including her prettier but less engaging sister — knows what she has ordered. The chai tea latte is a commentary on social hierarchy in small-town England, but it is tasteful.

Harry Potter goes up to the counter and orders a butterbeer latte because Dumbledore told him to, and he's pretty sure he can trust that guy.

Roald Dahl goes up to the counter and orders a Grande hot chocolate and a tall iced peach green tea. He offers the foxy barista a piece of gum. She takes it and promptly turns into a blueberry. He leaves the shop and walks down the street with his extraordinarily tall companion.

Frances Hodgson Burnett orders a small cup of coffee. The barista brusquely states that the espresso machine is broken. Burnett picks up the (extremely heavy) machine, and she wanders to the back of the Starbucks, despite the barista's protests. Burnett finds a small, iron door. She carries the sickly espresso machine through it and returns after a few weeks, the machine running just like new. The previously rude barista lights up with glee. The espresso machine joyfully produces several cappuccinos perfectly.

Jack London goes up to the counter with twelve sled dogs in tow. The barista shows him the door.

Farley Mowat bursts from his camouflage behind the counter, terrifying baristas and sending coffee in every direction. He runs for the door, determined to track Jack London through the wilderness.

Robert Frost comes into the shop and orders a tall pumpkin spice latte. He is so eager that he drains the latte in mere moments. The empty cup is even heavier than the full one had been. "Nothing gold can stay," he says sadly, and walks away into the crisp fall morning, nearly bumping into John Knowles. The look they exchange communicates a deep understanding of the loss of innocence, and the love of a New England summer.

John Knowles goes up to the counter and orders an iced cinnamon dulce latte, which is slightly different from the iced cinnamon dolce latte, but not different enough that everyone in the Starbucks doesn't know what drink he is REALLY talking about.

Thornton Wilder comes in whistlin' and orders a cup of coffee. It's the perfect temperature. He closes his eyes and thinks of mama's sunflowers. Life is too short, isn't it? We should all stand 'round in this Starbucks talkin' about the old days. Grover's Corners doesn't have one of these newfangled coffee shops. He's ready to go back. Before he can depart, John Knowles starts sharing tales of his high school days with Wilder. However, Wilder thinks Knowles is coming off as slightly uppity, and takes his drink to go.

Shirley Jackson goes up to the counter, tipping her hat to Mr. Thornton Wilder. She orders a coffee on the rocks, a simple order with a twist.

Ayn Rand orders an espresso macchiato. "This establishment is the very epitome of capitalism, and for that we must recognize and applaud it," she says. "The free market is victorious every time someone orders a coffee. Big business is the cornerstone on which America was destined to thrive." Meanwhile, Jonathan Swiftjokes with the barista about whether Starbucks would ever consider using the tiny hands of impoverished children to sort their coffee beans. Ayn Rand applauds him for his ingenuity. Everyone in the shop is a little concerned about her.

When Rand gets up to leave, she notices a black dot on the bottom of her coffee cup. "What does this mean?" she demands, holding it up. Shirley Jackson nods grimly at the rest of the patrons. "You know what to do," she says.

Louisa May Alcott enters, ducks, and orders a cup of jo.

John Locke goes up to the counter. "The usual?" asks the barista. He considers the menu for a moment. "Y'know what?" he says. "Let's start with a clean slate."

Cormac McCarthy goes up to the counter. He asks for coffee black and bitter. Because the world is black and bitter. The barista toils to complete his order. No matter how well a thing is done, death slow or quick will come to the doer. He is pleasantly surprised by the coffee. Unpleasantly surprised, because he knows that soon it will be gone and it will be him and the barista alone. Empty Starbucks, empty cup, empty cups. Empty world. Cormac does not believe in refills.

Edward Lear thinks Cormac McCarthy takes himself too seriously.

William Wordsworth orders a smoothie. It reminds him of a lake he visited once as a child. Then again, so do most things.

The March family strolls to the counter together.

Meg orders a Frappuccino. She is immediately fulfilled. She and the assistant manager get married on the spot.

Beth befriends the franchise owner, who gives her his old espresso machine. She learns how to craft a heartbreakingly delicious brew and shares cups of it with everyone who walks in the door, including a feverish family in the corner. Finally, when she is ready, she orders a simple and delicious cup of tea. She tells the barista to taste it while she slowly begins to walk away. "Aren't you going to drink this?" asks the barista. "No," says Beth, "I never imagined myself drinking tea at a place like this. All I ever wanted was a little bit of jo." As the barista takes another sip, Beth vanishes. Everyone is emotionally destroyed almost immediately.

Unable to process Beth's disappearance, Jo orders an incredibly intricate, complex, and stylish drink. It is her first time at Starbucks, after all, and she wants to please the crowd. The barista convinces her to order a drink that's more like what she's used to having at home. It is perfect.

Amy goes up to the counter and takes Jo's drink.

Marmee goes up to the counter and orders a small cup of coffee.

"Don't you want to order a drink for your husband?" asks the barista.

Marmee chuckles. "You know, for a while there I completely forgot that he existed," she says.

The Count of Monte Cristo enters the Starbucks. He sees them. The March sisters. The four people who ruined his reputation and had him unfairly imprisoned for years. He immediately begins plotting revenge against them. He also orders a caramel macchiato, giving his name as Dantès. He then grossly overpays for his drink; the barista gives him his coffee cup with "the Count of Monte Cristo" written on it instead.

Charles Dickens goes up to the counter and orders a cup of tea. He quickly finishes it and asks for more. He can't afford to pay for the refill. The barista drags him out into the street and sends him to the poorhouse, where he pines away for his lost love, who is married to another man. He works his fingers to the bone in a factory, eventually rising to the upper echelons of society. Ten years later, he walks into the same Starbucks and orders a cup of tea. When he asks for a refill, the barista gives it to him free of charge. He pays for it anyway.

Alice in Wonderland goes up to the counter and never gets around to ordering her caffè latte because she just will not shut up about her cat Dinah.

Arthur Miller orders a Venti coffee, no cream, no sugar. He sits down in the corner and drinks it slowly. By the time he's finished, he has failed as a husband, a father, a man, and an American.

Nick Carraway comments on this from his seat near the counter. Miller calls over to him, "You know, I feel a little persecuted."

Alex sips a steamed milk. He finds it deeply disappointing, but at least it doesn't make him nauseated.

Tom Bombadil gallivants up to the counter and tries to order a chai tea, which would undoubtedly add a lot of nuance and complexity to the Starbucks world. The barista ignores him.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman goes up to the counter by way of the perimeter of the walls of the Starbucks. She orders a caramel macchiato, steps over a fainting customer, and takes her drink.

1. Sweetness has an urgency; Maggie Nelson takes her tea with extra honey.

2. Maggie Nelson tells the man sitting at the table next to hers about the beekeepers in Alsace whose hives began producing blue honey a few years ago. That honey is just as sweet, but it is the shade of the night sky.

3. The honey turned blue when the bees began using waste from a nearby M&M'S factory as food. The dyes passed through the bees' bodies and transformed from waste product into unique nectar, sweet and miraculous.

4. At the table next to Maggie Nelson, Charlotte Perkins Gilman is unimpressed. She's always preferred plain yellow honey, anyway.

F. Scott Fitzgerald orders a Grande coffee. He adds cream and sugar, but when he drinks it, it tastes more bitter than he expected. He drinks it all anyway.

Ernest Hemingway orders a black coffee. He adds nothing. He is a man, and he knows the truth of life. Its bitterness cannot be masked. The coffee reminds him of war — short but painful, swallowed down quickly. One could order worse drinks. Why did the Fitzgeralds make him get up so early?

Zelda Fitzgerald orders a drink all by herself. Her husband and Ernest Hemingway panic and have her removed from the Starbucks. The barista picks up her drink and tastes it. It is delicious.

Douglas Adams goes up to the counter and orders an Earl Grey. The barista turns a handle and there is a whirring that fills the entire coffee shop, followed by the screech of fingernails on a blackboard and something that sounds suspiciously like the theme from Scooby-Doo! It is the barista's first day, and she has already been mistaken once for a barrister and once for J. S. Bach, so she (quite bravely) accepts that maybe strange things just happen in this particular Starbucks. A mucusy batter flows reluctantly from the faucet, which was meant only to supply hot water. She shrugs, and hands it to Adams. He shrugs, and drinks it.

Sylvia Plath enters, bringing with her a stiff autumnal breeze that hints of winter. She decides to order a strawberry Frappuccino. On the other side of the window, fiery leaves have begun to fall. The leaves are too red; they remind her of beetles, of darkness, of the taut skin of the dead. The taste of strawberries turns thick and sour.

Hemingway has watched her since she came in, totally entranced. "Now that," he says to Fitzgerald, "is a woman who understands the brutality of life!" When he finally works up the nerve to speak to her, he opens with: "Could I interest you in my clean, well-lighted place?" Plath just stares at him until he leaves Starbucks.

James Baldwin sneaks behind the counter and writes "RaceTogether" on every cup.

Nabokov walks up to the counter and orders a shaken sweet tea in Russian, but asks if they have it in a kiddie size. The barista writes his drink order and name on the cup in English and hands it to him. When he reaches into his pockets to produce change, butterflies spill out, dashing themselves against the windows of the Starbucks. He does not finish drinking his tea; the barista decides not to throw it away and leaves it on the table long after all the other patrons of the Starbucks have left.


Excerpted from Literary Starbucks by Jill Poskanzer, Wilson Josephson, Nora Katz. Copyright © 2016 Jill Poskanzer, Wilson Josephson, and Nora Katz. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Begin Reading,
About the Authors,

Customer Reviews