11 Books That Are Better With Coffee

by Amy Sachs

It is a truth universally acknowledged that someone enjoying a book must be in want of some coffee. OK, maybe not universally, but it's pretty widely known. If not, the Starbucks/Barnes & Noble relationship would have collapsed long ago.

Books and coffee photos flood Instagram. Local, independent bookstores always just so happen to be located conveniently close to a coffee shop. Once, a used bookstore I was in just had a coffee pot and mugs sitting on a shelf and seemed to just say, "Go for it."

You get the idea. Books and coffee are a match made in book-lover's heaven. (In fact, some people choose a café as their favorite place to read just so they can get their java fix — and who can blame them.)

With a small coffee addiction of my own, I'm an avid fan of this pairing, because some things just go better with a little caffeine. Like breathing. And these 11 books. So brew (or, OK, order) up your favorite and grab one of these books: the perfect way to unwind, no matter what time it is.

Espresso Shot

Enjoy it With: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway drinks a lot in his posthumously published memoir of 1920s Paris. He spent as much time as can be expected from a writer in the many cafes Paris had to offer. Sure, much of the time he was drinking wine, starting fights, or causing marital problems for the Fitzgeralds, but Hemingway drank a ton of coffee to wash it all down. A shot of espresso goes a long way, as we well know, and pairs perfectly with Hemingway's short, to the point sentences that pack as much punch as Papa himself.

Iced Americano

Enjoy it With: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

An Iced Americano while reading the Great American Novel — what could go better? More complicated than a simple shot of espresso, the Americano can contain two or more espresso shots, giving you the extra hit of energy to finish the book, throw a party or two, chase after the green light, you know, the usual. Your level of energy will rival Gatsby's own as he did everything possible to reunite with Daisy.


Enjoy it With: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Queen of romance and spunky heroines, Jane Austen wouldn't want a complicated coffee paired with her books. Coffee and cream would be just fine for Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters. The bitterness of the coffee is just slightly masked by the light foam, just as Elizabeth's pride could only be masked for so long.


Enjoy it With: Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion

A small but strong coffee to pair with Joan Didion's equally sparse but beautiful novel, Play It As It Lays. Set in the arid climate of the West and spanning an entire generation of the 1960s, it's one of Didion's most well loved works of fiction. I imagine Didion as a "no frills" type of coffee drinker, and consisting of espresso, hot milk, and foam, you'll be doing her proud sipping cappuccino as you inhale her work.

Irish Coffee

Enjoy it With: Dubliners by James Joyce

It's no secret that James Joyce was no stranger to drinking. In his honor, heat up your favorite mug, put on a pot of coffee, and find you favorite Irish whiskey. Just add a dash of brown sugar to bring it all together and you've got yourself a delicious, Irish-inspired cup of coffee to enjoy with a collection of Joyce's famed short stories. Explore the abandoned streets and feel at home, coffee in hand. And, who knows, maybe it'll make for a more authentic reading experience!


Enjoy it With: Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed's writing packs a major punch — just ask anyone who's read and loved Tiny Beautiful Things. She gives you perspective, honest advice, and makes everything seem just a little bit better. But be warned, she does not sugar coat anything. For that reason, enjoy an Affogato with this one: a scoop of sweet vanilla ice cream, drowned in a shot of espresso. Partly sweet and comforting, still incredibly strong, just like Strayed's writing.

Red Eye

Enjoy it with: Salem's Lot by Stephen King

I know what you're thinking: But I didn't pick a drink called Red Eye because that's how you'll look after a night spent too scared to sleep thanks to everyone's favorite horror writer, Stephen King. I'm suggesting it because you'll want to stay up all night reading this one, and the extra shot of espresso a Red Eye contains will get the job done for you. And, OK fine, you might be a teensy bit nervous about vampires tapping on your window.

Dirty Chai

Enjoy it With: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Chai is slightly off the coffee path, but it is available in almost any coffee shop you go to, whether that's Starbucks or your local favorite. The moors of this classic favorite are dark and foreboding, and Chai is almost always dark and spicy, you never know what you might get, much like Cathy with Heathcliff.

Black Coffee

Enjoy it With: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

There's almost no way J.D. Salinger would have had anything to do with something more complicated than a plain, black cup of coffee. Holden Caulfield either, for that matter. You just know they would be the types to look at lattes and frappuccinos with a scoff and disdain. They'd think it was a total phony for sure. So, when you sit down with Salinger's classic, a simple cup of coffee will get the job done perfectly.

Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino

Enjoy it With: The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Let's face it. Sometimes you just want to drink your calories in the form of a delicious, frozen coffee concoction, and there's nothing better in that case than a Frappuccino. They're a magical drink! Bring out your inner child with this milkshake masquerading as coffee, and curl up with another childhood friend: Harry Potter. A magically delicious drink for a magical series.

Iced Coffee

Enjoy it With: The Wind up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

No matter how strange Haruki Murakami's books get (and they can be a little out there), you can't help but keep turning the pages. Magical realism, disappearances, terrifying libraries, Murakami has done it all, and we will always be back for more. Similarly, no matter how cold it is, it will never be too cold for iced coffee. Can't stop, won't stop (reading Murakami, and drinking iced coffee even when it's 30 degrees).