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The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans - Part 1

3.34  ·  Rating Details  ·  87 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
The agnostic, ten-years-sober son of a Baptist minister, B. Sammy Singleton has an opinion about everything. A transplant from New York City by way of Paducah, Kentucky, and New Haven, Connecticut, he also has a guidebook to New Orleans coffee shops to write. But when his best friend, Catfish—reluctant heir to the Beaucoeur sugarcane fortune and a one-time antiques dealer— ...more
Published 2009 by River House Pub.
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(showing 1-30 of 254)
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David Sprinkle
Feb 17, 2011 David Sprinkle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this book if you love New Orleans or intend to. It's knowing, observant, passionately felt, and beautifully written:

"As usual Jonah looked like he'd wriggled out of a rabbit hole, which as far as I knew he had since he'd been 'temporarily address-less' for as long as I'd known him. Despite the temperature he was sporting a stocking cap pulled down to his eyebrows and several layers of clothing encrusted with dried mud. Although he was about the size of a skinny seven-year-old, he could hav
Jenn Tekin
Aug 16, 2010 Jenn Tekin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
07/02/2010 - Reviewed by Penne Laubenthal

B. Sammy Singleton, in a manner that recalls the opening lines of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, introduces himself in the first line of the The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans with a single revelatory sentence that is the key to his character: "Sitting in CC's all by myself, as long as you don't count the other people, sipping a double cap I don't want ever to end and committed to getting started on this book (okay guidebook) with no further a
Csaba Lukacs
Mar 03, 2011 Csaba Lukacs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
07/18/2010 - Facebook Notes of poet and author Diann Blakely

"I need some, even though it's past even MY bedtime. Coffee, I mean. And a real book, one I can hold in my hands and cherish and savor. And despite my screeds and descants and laments and furies, I remain proud to write for SWAMPLAND, where my colleague, Penne J. Lebenthal, is the first to review what gives every appearance of being a beacon of light in this moment of BP-produced darkness, which has besmirched and besmutted my homelands
Mar 01, 2011 Carol rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nola, favorites
Just finished "The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans" this morning. A very good read! The characters are believable (especially if you've ever spent some time in New Orleans). Some of the descriptions of neighborhoods, coffee shops, etc took me right back to NOLA. I would have loved this book just because of these things but what truly got me was the last Chapter. Still thinking about it. Glad I own this book because I'll definitely reread. Hope Part 2 is on the way.
Kristin Fouquet
Jan 28, 2011 Kristin Fouquet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Much like converts are often more zealous for their newfound religions, transplants tend to see their adopted cities with fresh eyes. Reading The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans. Part 1 had this native experiencing a renewed love for her city.

The narrator, B. Sammy Singleton, has relocated to New Orleans with much eagerness. He is opinionated, sober, and sensitive while offering his descriptions of the city and her denizens with critical, comical detail. Amongst constant distraction, he at
Jeane Marie Burgess
Mar 28, 2011 Jeane Marie Burgess rated it it was amazing
Wow! Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. As they say. What an incredible journey of this young man. I still can’t believe where he has taken me. When I started reading this book I figured it will be about New Orleans, funny characters, the life in the Big Easy. Well. Yes. The book is about New Orleans, but not the kind of New Orleans I have ever heard of. I am humbled, how ignorant I was. Being a recovering alcoholic (sober over 20 years) I had the Serenity Prayer came to mind ...more
David Lummis
Jan 30, 2012 David Lummis rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Okay, it's my book, so I'm a bit biased...but we have been in Amazon's Historical Fiction Top 10 by Reader Review for several months now.

Part 2 is coming soon -- spring 2012, and I'm now working with Sarah Flynn, who co-authored "Voices of Freedom" and worked with Pat Conroy on "Prince of Tides." Here's what Pat had to say about Sarah:

"[Sarah] is part of the soul and texture and tone of the book [and] edited the book with grace and passion . . ."

Please st
Diann Blakely
This book has an amusing anecdote as regards my life as a book reviewer: I came upon it and thought I had made a unique discovery! a terrific new read of which no one had ever heard! Consequently, I wrote immediately to one of my editors at the time of the publication of Lummis's first work and asked to review the title. "Sorry," I was told. Someone else had been more quick-witted--or at least a faster reader--than myself: one of favorite and best colleagues, Penne J. Lebenthal! So credit here m ...more
Prof. Akonya
Apr 18, 2011 Prof. Akonya rated it it was amazing
This book is not for everybody.
Why? My take on the reading habits of the American public is that they read their books the same way they want their food. Fast, McDonalds style.
It has be cheap or free, so one can waste it or just consume it in seconds.
I has to taste the same no matter where one goes and buys it.
It satisfies for the moment, but one won't remember the taste until one takes another bite.
Not nutritious at all, filled with everything, but real "food". No surprises, no challenges,
Apr 05, 2011 Lizzy rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, arc
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 06, 2011 Audra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a Goodreads win for me. I found the history in this book to be very well written and put in a way which held my attention for the second half of the book.
This is not the genre I would typically read and was expecting something entirely different. The first half was a struggle for me because I was distracted every time the character would get distracted and had a hard time following his tangents.
I wonder if it would have held my attention for the second half of the book to come first,
Karen Barker
May 01, 2011 Karen Barker rated it it was amazing
This book was a GoodReads giveaway win for me. Mr. Lummis held my attention throughtout the writing of the book and I really felt I developed a relationship with each of the characters through Lummis' description of their past and current lifestyles and dilemmas. The last chapter was profound for me and Catfish's poem sheds some light on where Catfish is at mentally but still leaves the reader with questions about him. I can't wait to read part 2 of this series.
Mar 31, 2011 Maureen rated it liked it
I want to finish this book but I'm struggling. So many extra facts and details are thrown into the story that I'm losing interest in the main story. The writing is colorful and descriptive, meant to impress but its tiresome.

update: I found the second half of the book to be much stronger and the story telling to be more straight forward. I wish the second half of the story was told first.
Jennifer Green
May 04, 2011 Jennifer Green rated it liked it
I won this book through the Goodreads giveaways, and was so excited to read it! I have a love affair with New Orleans, and, though I've only had a short time there in comparison to many others, I like to think of myself as knowing a bit more about the city than others would. Any opportunity I have to learn new things about it, I take, and there's a lot of information about NOLA in my head. So when I started reading this book, which is termed a novel, I was a little bit confused. I knew that some ...more
Apr 16, 2011 Jen rated it liked it
Coffee Shop Chronicles is the saga of B. Sammy Singleton, the gay, agnostic, eight-years-sober son of a preacher man who came to New Orleans from New York looking to become a real writer. The first person he meets is Catfish, who runs a shop that sells architectural salvage and rehabilitates low-income housing. Catfish has recently been sprung from jail, accused of tomb desecration; when he promptly disappears, Sammy sets out to find him. Along the way, he learns that Catfish's family is old New ...more
Sep 12, 2013 Sarah rated it did not like it
Knowing I would have a few hours to explore New Orleans this summer, I went looking for a book to first acquaint myself with the history and culture of New Orleans. Not far into research I knew The Coffee Shop Chronicles of New Orleans was exactly what I wanted: French Quarter setting, wading into local culture, an understanding of how history has shaped the city, and all of this shared from the perspective of a coffee snob, someone I'm inclined to love for that reason alone. Having just finishe ...more
Apr 11, 2011 Minakshi rated it it was ok
I won a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads giveaway!

This novel confused me. There are several different writing styles in the beginning chapters and the overall character development (particularly of the book’s narrator, B. Sammy Singleton) was jagged. I’m not sure the author was clear on the voice he wanted to use; at times funny and biting, other times more serious and historical…which would have been okay, but it didn’t mesh well in this case.

The novel seemed to really beg
May 24, 2011 Kyrie rated it did not like it
I wouldn't have finished it, except a friend wanted to know what I thought of it.
The story flails around a great deal, lurching from Catfish and his alleged grave robbing to Sammy, who's allegedly writing a guidebook to New Orleans' coffeehouses, back to Catfish's family history, and off again to Sammy's arrival in New Orleans. Trying to keep the plot straight was like being trapped in a pinball machine and keeping an eye on the ball.
Towards the end, things began to pull together, although I di
Dick Peterson
Apr 05, 2013 Dick Peterson rated it liked it
The structure of this story was unusual. This made it difficult much of the time, especially in the first half. Lummis provided a glimpse of New Orleans culture and life unfamiliar to most folks. I'm a native of Louisiana and believe it is a credible view of a slice of the city. I did a little research on Lummis and learned he has street creds in terms of knowing the parts of the city in which he unfolds his story. Some of the venues were familiar to me, and I enjoyably gained insight into other ...more
Michael Mildred
May 25, 2011 Michael Mildred rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A friend won this in the Goodreads giveaway and I stole it from her. Wow. Kudos to Mr. Lummis for having the courage to take on such issues as New Orleans corruption (despite his obvious adoration of the city), religious hypocrisy, and America’s collective amnesia about slavery and willful ignorance about its legacy in this country today. Not sure why some readers have trouble following when narrator B. Sammy Singleton digresses, since Lummis always clearly states the time frame in question, and ...more
Apr 21, 2011 Jacinda rated it liked it
Shelves: own
I wish there was a 3.5 star option. It is incredibly well written and the plot is interesting, but, like others, I struggled through the first half. It was difficult to keep track of who was who, and at what points in his life Sammy was ranting about. I am a big fan of non-linear story telling, so I like that the novel begins with Catfish's arrest and works in the back story through Sammy's memories, but I needed a few more clues or more history earlier to fully understand what was going on. Ove ...more
Sharon Henahan
Aug 13, 2014 Sharon Henahan rated it it was ok
Started this two times, and couldn't get past the first chapter. It rambled in odd formation and make no sense, kind of like a bad acid trip. Too many other good books to waste more time on it.
Charlotte Hamrick
As a New Orleanian I found this book to be quite enjoyable. The author takes you on a romp, via the main character, through the French Quarter and Marigny with bits of history thrown in. I found myself chuckling out loud many times while reading - the author has a great story-telling voice for southern tragic/comedic humor - which is why I was confused by the last chapter. The tone of the book completely changed and I felt as though I had picked up a totally different book. I think many will fin ...more
Jenna Copeland
Apr 09, 2012 Jenna Copeland rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nola
While there were parts of this book that I actually read out loud to others because they were funny or insightful, I felt that the book overall was very uneven. As another reviewer has said, David Lummis really didn't get to his point until the very end of the book, where he then slammed it into you like a cast iron skillet. And, then it ended. No resolutions at the end of the first book. None. I kept hitting the page forward button on my kindle to see if I'd missed something. I'm not sure that ...more
Jun 07, 2011 Jim rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
There were some very good stretches of great writing, followed up with a couple of stretches that seemed to drag. It made me wonder why they were even in the book. Overall the good certainly outweighed the bad, and by the end, the character development was thorough which should help with the continuance of the series. I was never sure of the plot, and the flow of the book seemed odd. It was one I was able to put down at times, but there were long stretches that flew by before I knew that I had r ...more
We chose to read this one after Marla's fabulous bday bash in the Big Easy. For me, it was a pleasant read, but very uneventful. I didn't quite finish it, but probably will in the next couple of weeks. I think only a few of us made it through--some didn't even get started but I think that was more a function of life events than disinterest. Like I mentioned, it was pleasant, but not compelling.

Susan - 3/17/2012
May 02, 2014 Deede rated it liked it
It was OK. I thought Lummis spent too much effort trying to "write like he speaks" which is very difficult. The book was too full of "alliteration and run-on sentences and mellifluously mixed metaphors" (page16) to make it easy reading. Did I mention run-on sentences? I suppose if you love New Orleans, whether you live there or want to live there, you might enjoy this book.
May 22, 2011 Wanda rated it did not like it
I received a signed copy of this book and wanted so much to like it. I have been unable to finish it. What I did like was the authors actual coffee shop reviews. The story has not been that interesting. I have gone on to other things and will not have time for it right now. I do appreciate the signed copy and letter from the author.
Jun 25, 2011 Britney rated it it was ok
I won this through the Goodreads First reads giveaway.

In the beginning it started off slow. The author just talked about things that to me weren't specific to the story. It was like he was just writing random thoughts down that he was thinking at that moment.

It would of been alot better story without the first part.
Aug 02, 2012 Tyra rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: current-year
Not what I thought. Didn't finish.
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