Latte Literature: The Geography of Bliss

Cabin fever got you down?

Then get out of your head and find your happy place while traveling the world in a book that the author describes as “One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World.”

Eric Weiner, a long time foreign correspondent for NPR, packed his suitcase and reversed his agenda from reporting on strife to discovering bliss.  But where to look? Moldova (where exactly is that)? What defines happiness –  passivity, weather, winning Powerball?

His search did not bring him to tropical locales advertised by “all-inclusive” vacation resorts, ones that sell visions of snorkeling, scratch golf, and bikini-clad baristas for one flat rate. (I can hear you asking, “why not,” – well, remember Jack Nicholson’s character in “Something’s Got to Give).  No. Eric’s quest brought him to places like Iceland, where “coffee is a staple, as necessary as oxygen,” to Bhutan, where much to this coffee snob’s dismay, “the government is corrupt, the roads slow, and the coffee instant,” to an ashram in India where no caffeine is allowed. Still, in spite of the familiar cup of joe in foreign environs, this book is not about the search for coffee bliss. Coffee is a sub-theme, a cultural reflection of the places the author visited in his search to usurp grumpiness.

If you take this literary exploration, will you discover bliss? There’s no guarantee. But what I assure you in the author is an engaging, funny, insightful travel companion. Just be sure to bring a to-go cup of your favorite brew.

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