Coffee (Object Lessons)

Coffee (Object Lessons)


Coffee ( Object Lessons )
Contributor(s): Lenney, Dinah (Author), Schaberg, Christopher (Editor), Bogost, Ian (Editor)

Publisher Marketing:

Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.

Coffee--it's the thing that gets us through, and over, and around. The thing--the beverage, the break, the ritual--we choose to slow ourselves down or speed ourselves up. The excuse to pause; the reason to meet; the charge we who drink it allow ourselves in lieu of something stronger or scarier. Coffee goes to lifestyle, and character, and sensibility: where do we buy it, how do we brew it, how strong can we take it, how often, how hot, how cold? How does coffee remind us, stir us, comfort us?

But Coffee is about more than coffee: it's a personal history and a promise to self; in her confrontation with the hours (with time--big picture, little picture), Dinah Lenney faces head-on the challenges of growing older and carrying on.

Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.
Review Quotes:

"Where Lenney really shines... is in her ability to interweave environmental, sociopolitical, and cultural concerns with reflections on time, womanhood, and family. Her lyrical prose is as invigorating as a strong jolt of caffeine." - Alta


"True to its subject, this book is a real stimulant: the prose is caffeinated, zany yet serene and habit-forming. Chock full of odd facts, poignant autobiographical vignettes, comic touches, and wistful philosophical insights, it is a delicious brew, all in all, and as fine and accomplished an example of that contemporary form, the extended mosaic essay, as we are likely to encounter." -- Phillip Lopate, author of To Show and To Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction (2013)


"If there's ever been a more perfect pairing of author and subject matter, I can't recall it. Dinah Lenney was meant to write this book. I could say this is not just a book about coffee, but we knew that already. So what I will say is that it's about all that coffee represents; being awake, being cozy, being able to savor what's in your cup as well as what's in your life. Lenney's mastery of these lessons comes from her mastery of the fleeting moment, the quiet revelation, the unlikely holiness of even the most ordinary objects and everyday rituals. She's more than an observer of the world in her midst, she's a precise and careful excavator of the ground beneath her feet. How lucky we are to dig alongside her." -- Meghan Daum, author of The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion (2014) and The Problem With Everything: My Journey Through the New Culture Wars (2019)


"An expert brew of research, memoir, and introspection, this lovely and satisfying book delivers many pleasures also found in a perfect cup of espresso. Reading Dinah Lenney, one's brain and heart feel quickened. Lenney's writing throughout is moving, intimate, eager, graceful, discerning, tender. The generosity of her self-examining candor and the warmth with which she admits us into her life play off beautifully against her natural reporter's curiosity. And happily, the salutary effects of Lenney's excellent prose last much longer than the buzz of mere caffeine." -- Amy Gerstler, author of Scattered at Sea (2015)


"Dinah Lenney is a treasure. The acuity of her eye, the precision of her voice: Reading Coffee is like savoring the notes, the nuances, of a finely brewed cup. Energizing and engaging, full of deft and unexpected narrative turns, this book reminds us of the depths inherent in the simplest pleasures, as well as the ongoing relationships and daily interactions that add up to a life." -- David L. Ulin, author of Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles (2015)


"Reading Dinah Lenney's frenetic ditty on coffee mimics the thing itself: one tries to quit it, but can't; one tries to put it down, only to pick it up again for stimulus, for agitation, for one more lasting epiphany!" --Mark Yakich, Gregory F. Curtin, S.J., Distinguished Professor of English at Loyola University New Orleans, USA, and author of Poetry: A Survivor's Guide (Bloomsbury, 2015) and Spiritual Exercises (2019)