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Here’s what John Milton would order from Starbucks if he weren’t dead

A hand scribbles in a notebook next to a delicious cup of coffee.
A hand scribbles in a notebook next to a delicious cup of coffee.

Have you ever wondered how your favorite author would order his or her coffee at Starbucks? Some of them are probably easier to figure out than others — for instance, all the English ones will take tea, thank you. But what about Flannery O'Connor and Anton Chekov and Gabriel Garcia Marquez?

Like all of life's most pressing questions, this one, too, can be answered by a Tumblr account. Created by two English majors and a history major with "WAY too much time on their hands," Literary Starbucks was born when the three of them got together and asked "What would all of history's famous authors and characters order if they lived in modern times and went to Starbucks?"

Here are some examples.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry goes up to the counter and sees that his barista is a grown-up. That is unfortunate, because grown-ups do not understand anything, unless it is explained to them very clearly. He asks for a cup of coffee that's sweet but not too sweet. The barista doesn't understand his order. He is not surprised. A very small barista appears behind the counter and makes his coffee for him without missing a beat. They have a long conversation. Saint-Exupéry thinks he understands things a little bit better now. The small barista disappears.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath goes up to the counter, and she doesn't know what she's doing in Starbucks. She decides to order a strawberry frappuccino. On the other side of the window, fiery leaves have begun to fall. The leaves are too red; they remind her of beetles, of darkness, of the taut skin of the dead. The taste of strawberries turns thick and sour.

Jack Kerouac, On The Road

Kerouac goes up to the counter but he doesn't really know what he wants to order, he hasn't thought about it much, he wasn't planning to come into this Starbucks except it was Dean's idea- isn't everything, in the end? Dean had had a hankering for Starbucks all day, was talking about it loudly as he drove over the speed limit on the dust road along the highway, pounding his fist on the wheel for emphasis, Kerouac laughing in the back, staring out the window thinking of that girl he had left that morning. He had thought she might have been the one, but when the morning light had come through the motel window he had realized they weren't meant to be, had gotten up and left before she'd even waken up. Now here he is waiting on line for coffee, remembering her, wondering where he'll be in the next ten years. Maybe at another Starbucks, in another town, with another woman on his arm, the sun setting low the horizon and lighting up the dust and the dirt and the rocks and everyone in it, and he'll think of that Starbucks, and of Dean Moriarty, and even that coffee he ordered, and Dean Moriarty.

e.e. cummings, poet


e.e. cummings g              o              e                s

to the counter &orders

an icedvanillalatte




onetwothreefourfive minutes

until the baristalady   w h i s t l e s   his name-

"how do you like your coffee, mr. poet?"

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter

J.K. Rowling goes up to the counter and orders seven pumpkin spice lattes. The barista gives her eight.

C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia

C.S. Lewis tries to go up to the counter, but as soon as he opens the inner door of the Starbucks, he is no longer inside a coffee shop — he has been transported to a snowy wonderland. It doesn't matter. This world has Turkish delight in it, and that's what he really wanted, anyway.

(H/t Shortlist)

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