Why I Love Coffee

Why do I love coffee..? Let me count the ways.
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The taste of coffee is comforting and grounding.
When I drink coffee I feel a nostalgia that is hard to explain; a warmth.
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The aroma, the taste, the buzz, the culture, and the connections, all are worthy reasons.
In the morning coffee lifts me up and boosts my day.

I love the culture and variety of coffee:

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I enjoy learning about the different countries that grow coffee.

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I’m intrigued by different roasting and brewing techniques. I love the roasted nutty smell and taste of good coffee beans. Experimenting with coffee flavors and styles can be a lot of fun.

cupsI am fascinated with all the wonderful different ways to enjoy the incredible edible coffee bean.

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Coffee is soothing on a rainy day, and melts away the brittle snow or ice of winter. When a day is full of hustle and bustle, taking the time to enjoy a cup of coffee calms me.

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Drinking coffee also induces community. People like to drink coffee together. It makes talking easier and more comforting. It may be tea or some other beverage, but the concept of sitting around in comfy couches or chairs drinking something steamy and talking, is oh so inviting.

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I suppose many people just drink coffee because it is caffeinated and a good energy boost, and that is certainly a good reason.

However, to me, coffee is an experience; something to slow down for, to savor and enjoy.

Of course what better experience to share coffee with, then curled up with a great book!
Good-Morning.jpg What do you enjoy most about coffee? 
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A Flight of Fantasy

magic_ball_library_columns_castle_63093_602x339I love fantasy fiction, especially when it is a bit different and outside the box (as fantasy fiction goes anyway.) I love books that enchant and leave the mind twinkling with imagination and magic. That is the inspiration behind this article and I hope it will captivate even the skeptics.

Worthy Fantasy-Fiction reads in all their phantasmagorical splendor:

Neverwhere
by Neil Gaiman
Richard is an unassuming young businessman living in London, with a dull job and a pretty but demanding fiancee. One night he stumbles across a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her and the life he knows vanishes. He has become invisible, and inexplicably consigned to a London of shadows and darkness a city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth of sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. He’s fallen through cracks in reality and landed somewhere that is Neverwhere.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
by Susanna Clarke
An epic tale of the two magicians who emerge to change Englands history. In the year 1806, in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars, most people believe magic to have long since disappeared from England — until the reclusive Mr Norrell reveals his powers and becomes a celebrity overnight. Another practising magician emerges: the young and daring Jonathan Strange. He becomes Norrell’s pupil and the two join forces in the war against France. But Strange is increasingly drawn to the wildest, most perilous forms of magic and soon he risks sacrificing everything.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Dynamic Duo Mocha
Orange-Mocha-Recipe-1.jpgA magical mix of cinnamon and orange in a mocha that’s to die for! Step 1: start slowly heating 1/8 cup or 3 small squares of dark chocolate (temping in double boiler or in microwave.) Step 2: When melted move to stove-top and mix in 1-2 drops of orange extract (or use orange flavored chocolate) and cinnamon powder to taste, then slowly whisk in 4-5 oz of milk of choice till smooth. Step 3: make coffee preferably pull a shot of espresso. Once your chocolate is hot and frothy and your coffee is ready cup your chocolate and pour in your coffee. Top with marshmallows and garnish with orange zest and cinnamon.

Dracula
by Bram Stoker
“There he lay looking as if youth had been half-renewed, for the white hair and moustache were changed to dark iron-grey, the cheeks were fuller, and the white skin seemed ruby-red underneath; the mouth was redder than ever, for on the lips were gouts of fresh blood, which trickled from the corners of the mouth and ran over the chin and neck. Even the deep, burning eyes seemed set amongst the swollen flesh, for the lids and pouches underneath were bloated. It seemed as if the whole awful creature were simply gorged with blood; he lay like a filthy leech, exhausted with his repletion.”

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Dark Tower: The Gunslinger
by Stephen King
Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which mirrors our own in frightening ways, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake.
Inspired in part by the Robert Browning narrative poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” (appropriate don’t you thik 😉 ) The Gunslinger is “a compelling whirlpool of a story that draws one irretrievable to its center”

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com


Book Bean:
The King’s Tea
a9241d03_snickers-pousse-cafe-001_thumb.jpgPour 6 oz of black or spiced hot tea into a pousse cafe glass, using a spoon in glass to prevent cracking. Add 2oz’s amaretto almond liquor, but do not stir. Top with on oz chilled whipped cream. Garnish with nuts and chocolate flakes. Enjoy.

 

The Once and Future King & The Book of Merlyn
by T.H. White

51yf9TfEUML._SX308_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg The Once and Future King:
A masterful retelling of the saga of King Arthur is a fantasy classic as legendary as Excalibur and Camelot, and a poignant story of adventure, romance and magic that has enchants.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

The Book of Merlyn:
This magical account of King Arthur’s last night on earth. Even in addressing the profound issues of war and peace, The Book of Merlyn retains the life and sparkle for which White is known. The tale brings Arthur full circle.

Rated 4.1 on amazon.com

The Eye of The World: Book 1
by Robert Jordan
The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.
When The Two Rivers is attacked by Trollocs (a savage tribe of half-men, half-beasts,) five villagers flee into a world they barely imagined, with new dangers waiting in the shadows and the light.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

The Night Circus
by Erin Morgenstern
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Tea & Cake Latte
4d0362963d474978c371f7bd88d94948Another magical dynamic duo, this time in respect to England it’s with tea! Start with  4 ounces of strong steeped black tea (brew 2 tea bags in 5 ounces of water.) Steam 8 oz of milk (or boil and put in a blender, to make hot and frothy.) Pour .5-1 oz Real vanilla bean syrup (if you’d like to make it yourself heres a link!) in to cup of choice. Add in white chocolate powder and/or flakes to taste. Next add the tea and stir. Last add the steamed milk. Sprinkle with white chocolate flakes and vanilla bean.

The Queen’s Poisoner
by Jeff Wheeler
King Severn Argentine’s fearsome reputation precedes him: usurper of the throne, killer of rightful heirs, ruthless punisher of traitors. Attempting to depose him, the Duke of Kiskaddon gambles…and loses. Now the duke must atone by handing over his young son, Owen, as the king’s hostage. And should his loyalty falter again, the boy will pay with his life. Seeking allies and eluding Severn’s spies, Owen learns to survive in the court of Kingfountain. When new evidence of his father’s betrayal threatens to seal his fate, Owen must win the vengeful king’s favor.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Under Heaven
by Guy Gavriel Kay
It begins simply. Shen Tai, son of an illustrious general serving the Emperor of Kitai, has spent two years honoring the memory of his late father by burying the bones of the dead from both armies at the site of one of his father’s last great battles. In recognition of his labors and his filial piety, an unlikely source has sent him a dangerous gift: 250 Sardian horses.

Inspired by the glory and power of The Tang dynasty, Guy Gavriel Kay evokes the dazzling 8th-century China in a story of honor and power.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Masala Chai
shutterstock_168107177Bring two cups of water to the boil. Add 3-4 tsp tea leaves, 1 chunk dried ginger, 3-4 crushed cardamom pods, 3 whole cloves, one piece of cinnamon, and 1-2 whole black peppers. Bring to boil again for about 15 seconds. Let stand for one minute. Warm milk in a pot. Filter the above tea into cups. Warm desired amount of milk in a pot. Filter the above tea into cups. Add warmed milk and sugar to taste. Garnish with Anise.

The Golem and The Jinni
by Helene Wecker
A chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on an enchanting journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York.

Chava is a golem; creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899.
Ahmad is a jinni; being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in NYC, though entirely free.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

That concludes the list but here are A few other notable fantasy reads:
            

I purposely left off selections that I have featured before,
I want to keep it interesting.
So for more of my fantasy picks and favorites click HERE
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and HERE
Narnia, The Count, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Ring, Potter etc. and a few other great titles are featured elsewhere as well.

What are your fantasy favorites?

Oregon Reads & Portland Perks

“She Flies With Her Own Wings”

I love living in Oregon, I cannot imagine living anywhere else.
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSo I thought I’d put together a list of Oregon books. Whether by a local author or set locally, these Oregon rooted reads are sure to entertain, amuse, and/or inspire readers of all varieties. Just like the state itself. I’ve also included a few special Book*Beans that are specifically found at local shops. So please, enjoy the weird and wonderful world I live in.

Here are my very special hometown selections:

Fugitives and Refugees
Chuck Palahniuk provides answers to all these questions and more as he takes you through the streets, sewers, and local haunts of Portland, Oregon. According to Katherine Dunn, author of the cult classic Geek Love, Portland is the home of America’s “fugitives and refugees.” Get to know these folks, the “most cracked of the crackpots,” as Palahniuk calls them, and come along with him on an adventure through the parts of Portland you might not otherwise believe actually exist.

Palahniuk is also the genius behind “Fight Club.”

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Café De Olla
Revolucion_logo_OK-300x205@ Revolución Coffee House
I could hardly choose just one from this colorful cafe
1200px-Café_de_olla_-_Restaurante_Don_Chon,_Mexicobut the Café De Olla won.
Its distinct flavor is provided by the ingredients of rich mountain grown Mexican coffee beans that have been ground and Italian roasted, added cinnamon and piloncillo or brown sugar. Cold bottled version coming soon!!

Bone River

From award-winning author Megan Chance, Bone River is a haunting tale of passion and identity. This beautifully written, lyrical literary novel engages with the themes of the despoliation of the Pacific Northwest’s native culture, and 19th-century concerns about race, degeneration and miscegenation.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

 

258sBook Bean: Orange Mocha
@ Rimsky-Korsakoffee House
A decadent real chocolate mocha made with orange infused sugar. It is delicious!
Rimsky is a Portland must visit:
8d864085662f5cacfccd899571098620An eerie, quirky, strange, and unique ambiance fills this old pdx style house turned cafe, and it is an experience you will not forget. You’ll wish you hadn’t gone to the bathroom alone (inside joke, sorry you’ll just have to visit to understand 🙂

Astoria
In the tradition of The Lost City of Z and Skeletons in the Zahara, Astoria is the thrilling, true-adventure tale of the 1810 Astor Expedition, an epic, now forgotten, three-year journey to forge an American empire on the Pacific Coast. Peter Stark offers a harrowing saga in which a band of explorers battled nature, starvation, and madness to establish the first American settlement in the Pacific Northwest and opened up what would become the Oregon trail, permanently altering the nation’s landscape and its global standing.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

1915511_58034154945_7993784_nBook Bean: Homemade Ginger Lemonade
Ginger-Lemonade@ Random Order Coffee
Fresh and delicious, a great treat for spring and summer!

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Starvation Heights

In 1911 two wealthy British heiresses, Claire and Dora Williamson, came to a sanatorium in the forests of the Pacific Northwest to undergo the revolutionary “fasting treatment” of Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard. It was supposed to be a holiday for the two sisters. But within a month of arriving at what the locals called Starvation Heights, the women were emaciated shadows of their former selves, waiting for death.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

 

DragonflyLogolamar copyshotdark2Book Bean: Shot In The Dark
@ The Dragonfly Coffee House
Double shot of espresso added to Drip. Great for a pick-me-up!


One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest


Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, Ken Kesey’s novel has left an indelible mark on the literature of our time. Turning conventional notions of sanity and insanity on their heads, the novel tells the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially tyrannical Big Nurse Ratched and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, fun-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

email_signature_69b1f996-c18a-49ae-97a4-80fa94d8b035_95xBook Bean: Cascara Soda
@ Case Study Coffee
You heard it right, cascara soda, try it! There is also a Lavender Cold Brew 😀20150614_191603.jpg
Cascara = coffee cherry, an herbal tea is made from the dried skins of dried berries of the coffee plant. The word originates from the Spanish cáscara, meaning “husk.”

Sometimes a Great Notion
A bitter strike is raging in a small lumber town along the Oregon coast. Bucking the strike out of sheer cussedness are the Stampers: Henry, the fiercely vital and overpowering patriarch; Hank, the son who has spent his life trying to live up to his father; and Viv, who fell in love with Hank’s exuberant machismo but now finds it wearing thin. And then there is Leland, Henry’s bookish younger son, who returns to his family on a mission of vengeance – finding himself fulfilling it in ways he never imagined. Out of the Stamper family’s rivalries/betrayals, Kesey crafts a novel with the mythic impact of Greek tragedy.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

home-home_page_slider_04.jpghome-home_page_slider_02Book Bean: Dragonfly Chai
@ Bipartisan Cafe
Sweet Black + Spicy Black + Spicy Red (no caffeine)
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Ricochet River
Set in a fictional Oregon town in the late 1960s, Cody’s superlative coming-of-age novel is the story of Wade, Lorna and Jesse–teenagers preparing to break out of their small-town lives. Wade is the local sports hero. Jesse is his friend, a mythical athlete and the Indian kid who applies his own rules to sports and life. And Lorna is Wade’s sweetheart who knows there’s no hope in Calamus for a bright, independent girl. The river rushes past the town, linking the three friends with their pasts, their plans and the world beyond.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

lede_Klatch_TOV_EmilyJoanGreeneBook Bean: Karkadeh
Sweet Hibiscus Nectar (best iced)
and The Winey Mocha:
Mocha w/ a hint of wine.
I had to pick 2 for this location, the Winey Mocha is just too unique!
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@ ToV Coffee and Tea
They also have tradition Turkish coffee and tea for the daring and adventurous 🙂
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My Abandonment
A girl and her father live in Forest Park, the enormous nature preserve in Portland, Oregon. There they inhabit an elaborate cave shelter, bathe in a nearby creek, store perishables at the water’s edge, use a makeshift septic system, tend a garden, even keep a library of sorts. Once a week, they go to the city to buy groceries and otherwise merge with the civilized world. But one small mistake derails their entire existence, ultimately provoking a deeper flight. Inspired by a true story My Abandonment is a riveting journey into life at the margins, and a mesmerizing tale of survival and hope.

Rated 4.0 on amazon.com

woodlawn.0.0Book Bean: Gassato
@ Wood Lawn Coffee and Pastry
woodlawn-coffee-pastry-portland-front-counter-1600x1067In addition to a regular iced Americano or latte, they also offer Gassato, an iced espresso with a little sweetened milk and a float of fizzy water, all made with Stumptown Hairbender.

The Lathe of Heaven
A classic science fiction novel by Ursula K. Le Guin, one of the greatest writers of the genre, set in a future world where one man’s dreams control the fate of humanity.
In a future world racked by violence and environmental catastrophes, George Orr wakes up one day to discover that his dreams have the ability to alter reality. He seeks help from Dr. William Haber, a psychiatrist who immediately grasps the power George wields. Soon George must preserve reality itself as Dr. Haber becomes adept at manipulating George’s dreams for his own purposes.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

0b516eed815d1d264f654f54855cd07fBook Bean: Macciato
@ Common Ground Coffeehouse
ec915cf577ce9ecfb4996b9986d8cd0bSometimes called espresso macchiato, an espresso drink with a small amount of milk, usually foamed. In Italian, macchiato means “stained” or “spotted” so the literal translation of caffè macchiato is “stained coffee”, or coffee with a spot of milk.

Mink River
Like Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood and Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio, Brian Doyle’s stunning fiction debut brings a town to life through the jumbled lives and braided stories of its people.

In a small fictional town on the Oregon coast there are love affairs and almost-love-affairs, mystery and hilarity, bears and tears, brawls and boats, a garrulous logger and a silent doctor, rain and pain, Irish immigrants and Salish stories, mud and laughter.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Cardamom Lattedownload.png
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@ symposium coffee
Symposium coffee is Sherwood and Tigard’s finest coffee house featuring Flag & Wire Coffee Roasters, Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Steven Smith Teamaker.

A Heart for Any Fate: Westward to Oregon, 1845
I was drawn to this book because of it’s title, which is from my Longfellow favorite, the poem “A Psalm of Life”
Based on the history of a company of real pioneers, this book tells the story of the King family, whose careful plans are challenged by the harsh, unforeseen realities of overland travel. The family makes the unfortunate decision to follow guide Stephen Meek, who leads them into blistering weather, drought, and treacherous river crossings along a shortcut that becomes known as the Terrible Trail.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

png;base642027a94ca3229fdd.png348s (2)Book Bean: Lavender Latte, Mocha, or Cocoa
@ Rain OR. Shine Coffee House
A seasonal specialty worthy of a Nobel pallet!

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“I wanted to go to Portland because it’s a really good book town.”
~Patti Smith

Indeed it is.

What are some of your hometown favorites?