What Alma Gottlieb Is Reading

What a great series!  I’m really enjoying seeing other folks’ reading lists.

Here’s my contribution . . .

Despite being a lifelong non-coffee-drinker, I’ve somehow found myself reading two fantastic books about coffee the past month.
The first: our own Miriam Sagan’s 100 Cups of Coffee, which hijacked me from reading the OTHER coffee book I’d just started.  This series of short meditations inspired by drinking coffee here, there, and everywhere got me thinking profound thoughts as only Miriam can, about life, death, and everything in-between.
The second: David Liss’ The Coffee Trader–another compelling read about coffee, but in a totally different register.  It’s a historically based novel set in 17th-century Amsterdam and has way more fascinating character development than a book with this good/fast a plot should have.  I won’t say more about the gripping story other than to predict that if you love/are intrigued by one or more of the following, you’ll probably love this novel: coffee / Sephardic Jewish history / Jewish-Protestant relations / 17th-century Europe / the development of global commodity capitalism / an exciting mystery.

Alma Gottlieb

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About Miriam Sagan

I'm blogging about poetry, land art, haiku, women artists, road trips, and Baba Yaga at Miriam's Well (https://miriamswell.wordpress.com). The well is ALWAYS looking to publish poetry on our themes, sudden fiction, and guest bloggers and musers.

2 thoughts on “What Alma Gottlieb Is Reading

  1. Dear Alma,

    Consider adding JS Bach’s Kaffe Kantate (BWV 211) to your spice cabinet.
    Presented sometime in 1735 at Zimmermann’s Kaffehaus in Leipzig, the cantata is actually a comic opera in one act (yes, the comic Bach!) which tells of the young woman Lieschen’s addiction to the new and potent drink, coffee, the unhealthy influence of which has clearly encouraged her in free-thinking, spirited resistance to anything to her aged father Schlendrian (literally, Old Stick-in-the-Mud) has to say to her.

    He pleads with her, he berates her, he complains she never listens to him any more. She tells him to keep his shirt on. He makes ultimatums: no supper, no new clothes, no sweetmeats. She could care less. He tries to figure out an angle — what’s her weak spot? Ahah! No more fancy parties, a curfew, she won’t even be able to go out for a walk alone unless she promises to give up drinking coffee. OK, OK, father, I’ll give up coffee, but only if I can have a lover. And as soon as Schlendrian scurries off to find her a suitable husband, Lieschen lets it be known that anyone who wants to marry her will have to let her drink all the coffee she wants.

    Where will this all lead? Smoking tobacco, free love, thoughts of suffrage? Horrors!

    Hit song of 1735:
    Ah! How sweet coffee tastes,
    more delicious than a thousand kisses,
    milder than muscatel wine.

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