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The Taste of Many Mountains

3.40  ·  Rating details ·  87 ratings  ·  26 reviews
The global coffee trade is a collision between the rich world and the poor world.

A group of graduate students is about to experience that collision head-on.

Angela, Alex, Rich, and Sofi a bring to their summer research project in Guatemala more than their share of grad-school baggage—along with clashing ideas about poverty and globalization. But as they follow the trail of
...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 12th 2014 by Thomas Nelson (first published August 5th 2014)
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Average rating 3.40  · 
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 ·  87 ratings  ·  26 reviews


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Angie Fehl
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
**I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book from BookLookBloggers.com & Harper Collins Christian Publishing in exchange for an honest review.


The concept of this book really intrigued me and the idea of four graduate students traveling through Guatemala seemed like there might possibly be a decent adventure story included. Meh, not so much. The author in his introduction explains that he was inspired to write this novel (which was inspired by an actual research project that was done
...more
Felicity Gibson
Aug 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Taste of Many Mountains,
Bruce Wydick
Read 16th August 2014

Living in India makes me aware of many things at grass roots level. The coffee trade is one of them. I am familiar with coffee at all stages of its growth and the height required for coffee plants. In my garden I have an un-pruned coffee bush which is 25 foot high! I have a deep interest in all things which are grown. For me reading about the botanical aspect of coffee, the history of coffee and then the economics of selling coffee was
...more
Whitney Jo
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Just finished this tonight. A story written by an economics professor, based off of a research project regarding fair trade coffee and coffee plantations in Guatemala. As a novel, it doesn't read well. Very light\ sometimes cheesy, the dialogue is stilted & it's hard to get into. But as far as subject content, it's well informed & important information. Still pondering.:) Would recommend not as a pleasure read, but for anyone who is interested in learning more about the connection between the co ...more
Ven
Jul 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Your enjoyment of the book will depend on what you are looking for. Interested in Coffee, economics, Guatemala, and global trade? This book is for you.

I understand the criticism -- this is not the best fiction. It is more of an illustrative parable with world-class research backing it up. The characters serve to help the reader empathize with groups of people they may not have met, such as coffee growers. They also give voice to diverse opinions and theories.

I enjoyed this as an audio book. The
...more
Elena
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is well written with its unique creativity in economics. It was a bit shocking in some parts of the book the way the scenes are described in Guatemala. I had to read this book for my economics class and overall I enjoyed the characters and I got to know them a bit more.
Geo Low
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A must read about the impact of world economy and the real life stories of coffee growers. Long live Lourdes Asusana Guitz Alva. Peace.
Nicole
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting book. I enjoyed learning about the coffee distribution process and how this book followed it from third world Central/South America to wealthy America. I also liked the fact that it also had some fiction intertwined to make it an intriguing story.
Janet Sketchley
Aug 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
A team of graduate students from California travel to Guatemala to trace coffee beans from site of origin to final destination, identifying the profit at each stage. Their questions: Does globalization make things better or worse? Does Fair Trade actually help the farmers? What about organic certification? And if the coffee industry is booming, why are the farmers living at subsistence level—or below it?

Their findings might surprise you.
This book is fiction, but it's based on an actual assignmen
...more
Eliana
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Taste of Many Mountains

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Author: Bruce Wydick



I WAS GIVEN A FREE COPY OF THIS BOOK FROM BOOKLOOKBLOGGER.COM IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW.



Plot: This book is about the coffee market, that is the process of coffee production in Guatemala and the free trade market. In the book we follow the story of a few graduate students who work on a project on how the money is distributed throughout the different stations in the process of coffee production.

The whole book is more economic
...more
Hilary
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a fictional account, based on true stories and research, of graduate students in economics following the progress of fair-trade coffee beans from the Guatemalan farmers to the consumer, calculating the profit at every stage and creating an impact study on fair-trade coffee.

Fairly traded goods attempt to guarantee the grower a minimum price in exchange for some labor and environmental compliance, so the question for these graduate students was simple: Why are the growers still in abject p
...more
Sasha
Jul 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014, nonfiction
I received an ARC of The Taste of Many Mountains through NetGalley. I was intrigued when I came across it because I read a lot of histories that focus on a specific commodity, such as diamonds or chocolate or aspirin, and I was interested to see how this type of book would play out in novel form. The format had potential: Telling the story of the coffee industry as it becomes revealed to a team of graduate students immersed in a research project. At the same time, the reader would theoretically ...more
Marnie
Aug 17, 2014 rated it liked it
This book seems to be a lesson on economics, packed into a fiction story to get people to read and understand the fair trade versus free trade debate. This story is centered on coffee and its path from the fields of Guatemala to the cups of coffee lovers in the Pacific Northwest. Graduate students Angela and Alex, the main characters, join researchers Sophia and Rich to start at the source in Guatemala. Angela was adopted from Guatemala as a baby and this is her first trip to her homeland. She f ...more
Bethany
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
First off let me say I am utterly shocked that there are so many negative reviews of this book, I have to say that it really is one of the best books I have read in quite some time with so much substance and depth to it. I really feel like this book was like college class in economics that was fictionalized and written so the average person with very little background in economics can understand.
I loved how this book explored and explained the concept of fair trade and the coffee industry, showi
...more
Jay Williams
Jul 16, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a fascinating discourse on the economics of poverty among the coffee growers of Guatemala. It included many interesting actions and interactions among all the characters and used a variety of emotional hooks to bring the characters to life and get the reader emotionally invested. Some of the pedantic discussions of the economic principles involved were difficult to follow, and I have an MBA with concentration on quantitative analysis. Wydick uses debates between the scholars to express a ...more
Maureen Tumenas
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Thanks to NetGalley for the copy of this book.

I wanted to like this book and there are many redeeming pieces, but it did not work well for me as novel.

First, please do not spend 15 introductory pages telling me why you wrote the book. I stopped reading after 5 and almost stopped reading the book.

The novel is actually much more of a stage for a lecture/debate on free trade vs fair trade with a graduate students in a strange land leitmotif. I don't drink coffee and actually did not have a good ide
...more
Harriet Smith
Jun 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: college students, coffee drinkers
Recommended to Harriet by: Net Galley
I received an advance copy through NetGalley for my review. This is a novel interlaced with numerous facts about fair trade coffee and the lives that it impacts. A team of students visits coffee producers in Guatemala and besides learning all about the production chain, the authors weaves a touching story of one person's heritage, another's love, and the pain met by many. The only issue I had with this work was that at times, it sounded like an economics lesson, which makes sense as the author i ...more
Tiffany Bradford
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book moved me. It isn't a beautifully written book, the writing style is average and sometimes clumsy, but the content is powerful. I finished this book and sat thinking about what it means to be an American and what it means to not be an American. I kept thinking about the quote from the Spider-Man movie, "With great power comes great responsibility.". That quote has almost become a punchline, but this book made me think about how much power Americans have, power we are often oblivious to, ...more
Amy
May 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
The 20% I struggled through read like an economics textbook at best. I was afraid of that before I started. Just not getting a real grasp of story on the author's part. Major and frequent author intrusions. POV headhopping. Distinct character descriptions but no distinct voices or personalities. A lot of prosaic and repetitive sentence structure. Dialogue mainly just a vehicle to lecture the reader. Not at all entertaining. I have too many books and too little time to continue struggling through ...more
Ma
Dec 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was a well-written and important book, but it really should have been marketed as non-fiction. The book is light on fiction and heavy on economic theory. Even using fictional characters, the book could have been marketed as an economics parable and succeeded in the non-fiction market. It fails completely as a novel, but I still loved it and will definitely recommend it to friends.
Amy Buckley
Oct 27, 2014 rated it liked it
He tries to create a story that is really an economic lesson of fair trade. The story is drowned out by soapbox arguments among characters about economic policy, and the story of the real people is lost in poor organization merged with an academic lecture. I was intrigued in the beginning, but halfway through he was losing my interest. Could have been great.
Laura
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was like listening in on college economics discussions related to poverty and globalization, informative even though you can tell the characters like to hear themselves talk. Recommend for those interested in coffee trade.
Denise
Aug 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fascinating! Actual research on the effects of fair trade coffee on coffee growers is shared via a fictionalized account of graduate students doing economic research. The economic concepts and terminology were plentiful, but I was pleasantly surprised by the personal themes also.
Cathy
Jan 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Good description of factors involved in fair trade coffee, but dramatically unsatisfying.
Umber
Mar 23, 2015 added it
Shelves: first-reads, dnf
I won this in a giveaway, but to be honest, it bored me and I didn't get far with it. I will attempt to read it again later.

Mills College Library
Fiction W978t 2014
Tim Hoiland
rated it really liked it
Sep 21, 2014
Rachel Red-horse
rated it it was amazing
Dec 13, 2019
Gretchen Schramm-Davis
rated it really liked it
Dec 31, 2019
Susan
rated it it was ok
May 16, 2019
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Bruce Wydick is professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco. He has published academic articles in leading economics journals and was the lead investigator of the worldwide impact study of Compassion International's child sponsorship program.

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