What does your perfect afternoon look like? For me, it’s curling up with a hot cup of coffee and a good book. The two components combine into something special, where each contributes to my enjoyment of the other.

Turns out, I’m in good company. Many writers and readers over the centuries have voiced their enjoyment of coffee, including the nineteenth-century French writer Honoré de Balzac, who supposedly drank 50 cups of coffee per day! Balzac wrote, “This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army on the battlefield.”

Balzac is not the only writer with strong feelings about coffee. In The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway wrote, “Good. Coffee is good for you. It’s the caffeine in it. Caffeine, we are here. Caffeine puts a man on her horse and a woman in his grave.” Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women includes the line, “I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now.”

Luckily for those of us who like to read while caffeinated, there are many bookstore-café combinations. Two of my favorites include the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle and Trident Booksellers & Café in Boston.