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Original Essays | April 29, 2013 2 comments
Chefs don't have time to write. While I was working on Smoke and Pickles, I was running a restaurant — a daily regimen of testing recipes,... Continue »
Taylor ClarkDescribe your latest project.
The book is called Starbucked: A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce, and Culture, and it's my attempt to tell the story of how our fine nation threw off the cruel reign of flavor crystals and acrid diner coffee, and opted instead for the cruel reign of designer four-dollar lattes. The book's main character, of course, is Starbucks, the caffeine juggernaut that brought espresso to the masses, built a 15,000-store empire, and changed the way we all drink, recreate, and self-medicate. Since I'm not a fan of most business books, I've taken everything about the coffeehouse phenomenon that I found interesting or funny and tried to weave it into an entertaining narrative that I hope will appeal to anyone with even the faintest interest in the coffee world. I also delve into the ethical dilemmas that have plagued Starbucks of late (the prices it pays coffee farmers, its role in gentrification, etc.), so you might say the book is like a Fast Food Nation of coffee, but with less of an editorial agenda against the industry and more lame jokes.
How to Infuriate Friends and Avoid People: The Sub-Glamorous Life and Deeds of a Neurotic Freelance Writer. Representative passage: "But then the next day, Clark managed to get out of the house for a staggering three hours a record-setting achievement he celebrated by spending several hours in a dark room playing video games."
Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good book with which to start.
Describe the best breakfast of your life.
Why do you write?
Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin?
On a clear and cold day, do you typically get outside into the sunshine or stay inside where it's warm?
Seriously, though, in Portland you have to take full advantage of those few days when the sun decides to make a cameo appearance, lest your body should forget what ultraviolet light is. And besides, there are only so many days one can go for a run outside during the winter in Portland without a risk of quick death by exposure.
In the For-All-Eternity category, what will be your final thought?
Recommend five or more books on a single subject of personal interest or expertise.
Five very funny books that have very little in common other than being very funny:
At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien
Very Good, Jeeves! by P.G. Wodehouse
Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
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Taylor Clark is a graduate of Dartmouth College and a Pacific Northwest native. He is a contributing writer and former staff writer for Portand, Oregon's acclaimed alternative weekly Willamette Week.