CoffeeBeer >> Double Shot Buzz >> Previous Coffee Columns >> M Coy Books & Espresso
M Coy Books is a small, welcoming bookstore which also serves espresso. A small cluster of black tables and chairs constitutes the cafe area in the back, and the coffee counter which runs along the back wall is decorated with table lamps, a gift-wrapping station, and jars of biscotti. There are posters plastering the back wall and racks of books everywhere. This is a bookstore cafe as opposed to a cafe in a bookstore -- the tables are nestled gregariously among the bookshelves. As I seated myself a few days ago I heard NPR news emanating from the speakers, soothing my fatigue from the pre-Xmas mess outside (or Xmess, as I call this time of year). But wait a minute -- wasn't it only December 2nd? Why did I feel like I'd better have my Xmess shopping done or else? Have they moved the holiday up without telling me?
Ah, but back to the calming balm of M Coy Books. My short double cappuccino was served in a tall thin white china cup with black trim; not exactly a proper cappuccino cup but nice nevertheless. And I was given a spoon, too -- a regular teaspoon as opposed to a demitasse spoon, but at least I didn't have to ask for it. The bookstore uses Coloiera coffee from British Columbia, and my cappuccino was strong and robust with a pleasant cloud of milk foam. It was actually much better than any other bookstore cappuccinos I've tasted.
I'm very happy about this; I wanted M Coy espresso to be good. They're one of the few remaining little-guy bookstores, an independent situated a mere three blocks from the bustling downtown Borders and only five blocks from the brand new Barnes & Noble. Sad but true, I must admit I don't buy many books at M Coy anymore. And it's not Borders or Barnes & Noble which have drawn me away -- it's Amazon.Com! Much as I hate to admit it, I do like being able to look up my more eclectic books by title or author instead of having to worry about what section of a bookstore I would find them in. I'm not talking about the literature or travel writing or physics texts or cookbooks I buy -- I'm talking about books on forensic science, urban design and history, economic botany, odd inventions, a constantly-growing wish list of literary miscellany. I mean, I suppose I could ask a bookstore clerk where to find a book. But to actually talk to another human being, in the flesh? Come on, isn't this 1998? Why would anybody want to do a thing like that?
But I must put in a plug for the independent bookstores, because the fact that I do buy an awful lot of books means I don't buy all of them at Borders or through Amazon.Com. I do end up buying quite a few at places like M Coy and Elliott Bay Books and Queen Anne Books and Fremont Place Books and Bailey Coy Books and Left Bank Books and Red and Black Books and Tower Books, not to mention Cody's Books in Berkeley, City Lights in San Francisco, Powell's in Portland, and Midnight Express in Santa Monica. And to tell you the truth, even though they have fifty bajillion titles I just don't think there's a very good selection at Barnes & Noble.
Ah, yes, books make excellent Xmess gifts, don't they? Perhaps I should buy something for everybody on my list. When is Christmas, anyway? November 25? I used to be amazed at how the moment Thanksgiving was over all the Xmess decorations went up; but I'll swear this year it happened right after Halloween. Or, wait a minute -- wasn't the Bon Marché's giant holiday star up before Halloween?
Speaking of time being compressed, going backwards, or having no cohesive structure, here's an e-mail exchange between me and my Bay Area friend from this past summer -- or was it the summer before?Last night I heard a brief headline about Hillary Clinton and her dream of teaching today's students more about history. Apparently she said she was hoping "to make yesterday a part of tomorrow." So if yesterday became a part of tomorrow, what would the displaced part of tomorrow become? Part of today? Perhaps this morning? And if so, where would this morning end up -- as part of yesterday?