Make a Donation to the New Books Network

The New Books Network is run by volunteers, but the network has expenses. If you like what we do, consider making a contribution

View on Amazon

[Cross-posted from New Books in History] Believe it or not, the origins of this podcast and the entire New Books Network can be traced to a conversation I had in a café in Ann Arbor, Michigan (Sweetwaters in Kerrytown, as it happens) in 2004. I was sitting there minding my own business when I overheard Ed Vielmetti and Lou Rosenfeld talking about something called “” [sic]. It sounded interesting, so I asked them–complete strangers though they were–about it. They kindly brought me up to speed on something else called “Web 2.0.” Then I begin thinking…

Turns out a lot thinking is done in cafés, as Leona Rittner, W. Scott Haine, and Jeffrey H. Jackson point out in their fascinating book The Thinking Space: The Café as a Cultural Institution in Paris, Italy and Vienna (Ashgate, 2013). At one time or another, most modern Western intellectuals found themselves in one or another café drinking coffee, dreaming big dreams, and often arguing with another. The caffeine helped, but the atmosphere and company helped even more.  Unhurried, quiet, comfortable, warm,  public, inexpensive, full of reading material, open long hours, and right on the corner.  The coffee house is an ideal “third place” for cerebral types. To my mind the most fascinating thing about this remarkable collection of essays is the variety of kinds of coffee houses found around Europe. Needless to say, they didn’t (and don’t) all look like your local Starbucks. If you like cafés, you should grab a copy of this book and read it . . . in a café, of course.

submit to hubski

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: Sarah Besky, “The Darjeeling Distinction: Labor and Justice on Fair-Trade Plantations in India” (U of California Press, 2014)