By David Makin

Montreal Times - - News -

There is noth­ing like how a sim­ple cup of cof­fee can have such power to be a cat­a­lyst for some sim­ple so­cial­iza­tion and in­ter­ac­tion be­tween peo­ple.And when you have it at your fa­vorite pub­lic place – whether it be a Star­bucks, a Tim Hor­tons or a small in­de­pen­dent cof­fee shop – that cup of cof­fee can also be a cat­a­lyst for some in­ter­est­ing con­ver­sa­tions.

Lo­cal au­thor David Makin has had his share of cups of cof­fee in his share of pub­lic cafes in down­town Mon­treal over the past 40 years, not to men­tion his share of con­ver­sa­tions be­tween sips of his fa­vorite types of brewed java. And he has shared some of his fa­vorite cof­fee klatches in his lat­est book Café Sto­ries.

The book is a col­lec­tion of au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal sto­ries of 40 years’ worth of strolling along St. Cather­ine Street and stop­ping off at his fa­vorite cof­fee places to grab a hot cup of cof­fee after do­ing some shop­ping, walk­ing or catch­ing a con­cert. Some of the places are fa­mil­iar (like Café De­pot) and some are long lost relics of the pre-Star­bucks era, such as Le Den and Café St. Cather­ine.

But the com­mon thread of all the sto­ries in the book are of the con­ver­sa­tions Makin has had – or has eaves­dropped – while en­joy­ing that cup of cof­fee. They range from a post-con­cert re­view with his brother Robert of a show by Styx at the Mon­treal Fo­rum; a chat be­tween a vis­it­ing Ver­mont cou­ple try­ing to find where they could par­take in Mon­treal’s best hot dog; a gos­sipy chat be­tween two young women over a home date gone wrong (which in­volved a jeal­ous ex-boyfriend); or the ca­reer of for­mer Mon­treal Cana­di­ens goalie (and Hall of Famer) Gump Wors­ley, who had the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing the last NHL goalie to wear a face mask.

The sto­ries are quite well told and en­ter­tain­ing to read (and how Makin has such a pho­to­graph­ic­type mem­ory to re­mem­ber these con­ver­sa­tions prac­ti­cally word-for-word is quite as­tound­ing). As well, he ex­hibits quite the pen­chant for trivia (list­ing some of the Mon­treal Fo­rum’s more memorable mo­ments), a unique way of show­ing grat­i­tude (check out his story of how he thanked a very help­ful sales­clerk named Shar­ron at the Delilah ac­ces­sory store at the Alexis Ni­hon Plaza), as well as his knowl­edge of how to make dif­fer­ent types of cof­fee bev­er­ages (which can be quite help­ful if you want to make your own cup of cap­puc­cino or latte).

So if you like a good cup of cof­fee in a com­fort­ing café set­ting, or en­joy a good chat with a friend or com­pan­ion over that cup of java, then bring Café Sto­ries with you. It’s a per­fect com­pli­ment for your cof­fee break as much as that pas­try or muf­fin, or that right dash of cream and sug­arYou’ll dis­cover what can tran­spire for the bet­ter over that sim­ple cup (or mug, or demi-tasse) of that uni­ver­sally pop­u­lar hot bev­er­age.

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