Books ‘n’ Breakfast: The Favorites

“Favorite” is a strong, yet overused word in my vocabulary. I’m just really enthusiastic about things I like I guess (?). Looked up the definition of “favorite” and it’s simply “a person or thing regarded with special favor or preference”. Thus, not mutually exclusive, so I can have as many favorites as I want. So to get you’re Monday going here are a couple of this year’s favorites.


Osmium Coffee Bar – Lake View: I was super excited last year when Dark Matter opened up shop in Lake View because I usually had to trek pretty far for their beans (though well worth the trek). Recently I’ve turn into a black coffee drinker like my father (who has a meltdown when I try to put cream in his coffee, but that’s a story for another time) and what I like most about Dark Matter is that you can actually taste the different notes in their beans. So every new roast is like a new experience (sorry I couldn’t think of a less cliche way to put it). Also, they’re one of the many organizations sprouting up dedicated to transparency. I think this movement of transparent organizations is very interesting, but that the point of transparency is lost on some people. In my opinion, transparency isn’t just about knowing how your coffee was cultivated or even just feeling like a more environmentally ethical and informed human being, but I feel it’s purpose is to make you consider the way being a consumer impacts the world. Whether it be positively or negatively, environmentally or economically. I’m definitely not a prime example of someone who leads their life as such, but I’m working on it.

Anyway, back to the coffee. My favorite this past year (there I go with that word again) was Devil’s Lettuce, described as “the herbaceous earth alien of coffee”. Need I say more? Definitely a little funky, but with some nice fruity and floral notes. Dark Matter is known to experiment with the funk, and I’m into it. Osmium itself is a little small inside, but as long as you’re dedicated to hunkering down you can make it work. The small space actually forces you to engage with other people, imagine that! Once it’s warm there’s a whole back patio that doubles the seating capacity (it’s open now but.. still a little chilly). It’s light on food aside from Do-Rite Donuts (another favorite!) and other treats, but they don’t seem to mind if you bring your own snacks. The two things I enjoy most though about Osmium are the people and the music. Whoever’s behind the counter can always give you a detailed rundown of the menu, and actually help you make a choice you’ll like. They also won’t rush you even if a long line is starting to form behind you, which happens to indecisive people like myself. Now the music, always a super eclectic, and always loud, just how I like it. I’m the kind of person who likes to focus with lots of noise going on. If you’re not, this might now be your joint. One day it may be Fetty Wap and The Shins. another FKA Twigs and some death metal band I’ve never heard of. So if you like quality coffee, donuts, or loud spaces, Osmium is for you. Also, $3 for bottomless coffee, you can’t go wrong.


NW by Zadie Smith: NW was one of those books I read this year that I couldn’t stop talking about. I haven’t read anything else by Zadie Smith yet, but she has such an exact and painfully honest way of writing in NW. I found myself constantly underling sentences to return to for some kind of wisdom at a later date. “Happiness is not an absolute value. It is a state of comparison”. Like, damn. The story itself keeps you up reading until your eyes are red and bleary. Kind of like when it’s 2am on a Sunday and you realize you’ve watched 10 hours of X-Files, but better because it’s a book, so you feel less guilt because you were actually using your brain. NW follows 4 northwest London natives, Leah, Natalie, Felix, and Nathan and how all their lives ultimately intersect. All 4 characters have very different voices, and all seem to be trying to find their own way into some form adulthood, which I found very relatable. Moreover, while I believe the actual setting doesn’t exist, anyone who lives in an urban space can relate to the harsh and wonderful aspects of city life that Smith depicts. The novel starts off from Leah’s perspective in a string of narrative without defined constructs of time. It’s a bit disorienting at first, but by approximately pages 15-20 starts to make some more sense. The New York Times delves into the stylistic and political undertones of the novel, which gives it a new framework whether you’re looking to read, or already read, NW. If you’re looking for a novel to keep your brain engaged and entertained, NW should be at the top of your list.


Can you tell I’m trying to make my rantings shorter so you can actually read them? I do my best. Will now conduct a search on synonyms for “favorite”.

Happy Monday.

Now someone get me some coffee

– Arty.