John Keats orders a Venti iced caramel Frappucino. He sits down at a table by himself, sighs dramatically, and doesn’t drink it.
Literary Starbucks is apparently a popular tumblr that I was completely unaware of until its authors (Jill Pskanzer, Wilson Josephson, and Nora Katz) bothered to put out a collection in book form. (This tells you all you need to know about how not well connected I am to digital media; I don’t tweet and I never mastered the art of Kindle, which leaves me woefully unconnected.)
Doubtless some of you reading this are already familiar with the tumblr. For those of you like me were not, the concept is that famous classical authors (from Nabakov, to Emily Dickinson, to Chinua Achebe) and some of literature’s most iconic characters (everyone from the Bennet sisters to Frodo) all frequent Starbucks. Their drink orders (and coffeehouse etiquette) contain the essence of their souls.
Naturally, I chose to read the advance copy over a tall hot chocolate (no whipped cream or mocha drizzle) and a slice of classic coffee cake heated up. I found Literary Starbucks to be a fun and breezy read over a cuppa. It’s clearly aimed at English Literature majors and rather cliquey at that, but it’s also quite clever and amusing as it imagines such scenarios as Emily Bronte, Tolkien, and Ray Bradbury filing a lawsuit because everyone misunderstands their work; Susan Pevensie being refused service for wearing lipstick before joining the other “bad girls” Daisy Buchanan and Daisy Miller; or famous sonnets re-imagined as odes to caffeinated beverages. “How do I take my coffee? Let me count the ways.” It won’t last you more than an hour, but just like a tall Blonde it does serve as a nice pick me up.
Literary Starbucks – Fresh-Brewed, Half-Caf, No-Whip Bookish Humor
Jill Pskanzer, Wilson Josephson, and Nora Katz
Illustrations by Harry Bliss