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Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs: the Left Bank…
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Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs: the Left Bank World of Shakespeare and Co. (alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi 2005; vuoden 2005 painos)

– tekijä: Jeremy Mercer

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
8562719,552 (3.72)83
If you ever come to Paris/ On a cold and rainy night & find the Shakespeare store/ It can be a welcome sight Because it has a motto/ Something friendly and wise Be kind to strangers/ Lest they're angels in disguise 'Shakespeare and Company' in Paris is one of the world's most famous bookshops. The original store opened in 1921 and became known as the haunt of literary greats, such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Bernard Shaw, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein and James Joyce. Sadly the shop was forced to close in 1941 when the owner, Sylvia Beach, refused to sell the last copy of 'Finnegan's Wake' to an occupying Nazi officer. But this was not the end of 'Shakespeare and Company'... In 1951 another bookshop, with a similar free-thinking ethos, opened on the Left Bank. Called 'Le Mistral', it had beds for those of a literary mindset who found themselves down on their luck and, in 1964, it resurrected the name 'Shakespeare and Company' and became the principal meeting place for Beatnik poets, such as Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, through to Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell. Today the tradition continues and writers still find their way to this bizarre establishment, one of them being Jeremy Mercer. After his life as a crime reporter in a Canadian city takes a terrifying turn for the worse, Jeremy packs his bags and, on a whim, heads to Paris to see in the new millennium. With no friends, no job, no money and no prospects, the thrill of escape soon palls but, by chance, he happens upon the fairytale world of 'Shakespeare and Co' and is taken in. What follows is his tale of his time there, the curious people who came and went, the realities of being down and out in the 'city of light' and, in particular, his relationship with the beguiling octogenarian owner, George.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:daviddix
Teoksen nimi:Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs: the Left Bank World of Shakespeare and Co.
Kirjailijat:Jeremy Mercer
Info:Weidenfeld & Nicholson
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):
Avainsanoja:-

Work Information

Time Was Soft There (tekijä: Jeremy Mercer) (2005)

  1. 00
    Shakespeare and Company, Paris: A History of the Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart (tekijä: Krista Halverson) (alanteder)
    alanteder: Another excellent recent book on George Whitman's legendary Paris book store "Shakespeare and Co."
  2. 00
    Shakespeare & Company (tekijä: Sylvia Beach) (sneuper)
    sneuper: Books about the bookstore Shakespeare and Company in Paris
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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 27) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
I read this book during my summer vacation from seminary. It resonated deeply with me. I hitchhiked around the U.S. and Europe in my youth. I've always aspired to be a writer. I've made bad choices and good choices. Most of all, I didn't quite fit in at a lot of places. Mercer describes all of this masterfully.

Yet as I was reading this, I kept thinking about how it related to my seminary education. Finally, I got to this:

“You know, that’s what I’ve always wanted this place to be,” he said. “I look across at Notre Dame and I sometimes think the bookstore is an annex of the church. A place for the people who don’t quite fit in over there.”

I think those of us seeking to serve in the church need to think about how we serve those who don't quite fit into the typical established church Sunday morning service. ( )
  Aldon.Hynes | Sep 14, 2021 |
NA
  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
As every book lover knows, there is something special about a bookshop, but the famous, Shakespeare and Company, in Paris is another level again. Originally founded in 1919 by Sylvia Beach, she was the first to distribute Ulysses by joyce, and counted among her friends Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway. After her death, George Whitman bought the stock and re-founded his own shop in homage to hers. Originally called Le Mistral, he renamed it Shakespeare and Company on the 400th anniversary of the bard’s birthday. Whitman had always been a wanderer, walking all over the States, Mexico and Central America. The charity and kindness that people showed him on his travels, inspired his philosophy “Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise.” The bookshop was to become a haunt and dwelling for aspiring poets and writers, and a number of the staff lived in the shop too. He called them Tumbleweeds; they had few responsibilities, but they included, producing a short autobiography, helping out in the bookshop for a few hours a day and reading a book a day.

Mercer started out as a journalist, reporting court cases and other news items for a local paper. After a run in with a criminal contact he decided that he need to leave Canada for his own safety. Arriving in Paris he turns up at the bookshop as he has heard that it can be a refuge. Whitman says he can stay for a while, and says he can stay in the Antiquarian room, but he must say to the current resident, a poet called Simon, that after five years it is time for him to move on. Simon proves elusive, and when he does catch up with him to pass on the news he seems distraught. They agree on a time period for him to go, but when Mercer says that Simon wasn’t going to leave, he expects a scene, but Whitman shrugs it off.

As he settles into Paris life and the bookshop, he starts to befriend the other people that are living there. Whitman is a man who collects favourites, Mercer becomes one at one point, before the latest new member overtakes him. It is a bit chaotic, he is forever leaving money in books, there are a number of thefts from unguarded tills, and there are always new people and others moving on. They have to find places to shower and bathe and having very little money himself, he is taught by Kurt the cheapest and best places to eat from. For a time they are fed by a staff member of the New Zealand Embassy, and have to sneak in and stay quiet so they don’t get caught. And in this place of misfits, great things have emerged. It is thought that at least seven books have been written there, and many times that have been started or conceived.

It was a really lovely book to read. Mercer has brought the bookshop and its many characters to life and gives us a flavour of Parisian life at the time. There are some funny parts too as they sail a little too close to the law. Whitman is quite a man too, flawed but generous, this bookshop that he has given to the world is now in safe hands as his daughter is now running it.

Must pay it a visit one day.
( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
“A bookshop can be a magnet for mavericks and nomads. A community hub, a haven, a platform for cultural ideas. A centre of dissent and radicalism.” — Henry Hitchings, “Browse: The World in Bookshops”

Henry Hitchings was talking specifically about Lawrence Ferlinghetti's City Lights bookstore in San Francisco when he wrote those words, but he just as easily could have been thinking of Shakespeare and Company, the famous English-language bookstore in Paris within sight of Notre Dame Cathedral. Shakespeare and Company and its long-time owner George Whitman are the subjects of Jeremy Mercer's fascinating 2005 memoir “Time Was Soft There.”

Mercer was a crime reporter for a Canadian newspaper, and at times in trouble with police himself, when he made the mistake of revealing a source, who then threatened revenge. Mercer fled to Paris with little money and no prospects. Like so many young people in Paris under similar circumstances, Mercer found his way to Shakespeare and Company. For decades Whitman, a devoted socialist, had operated the bookstore as a free boardinghouse for "mavericks and nomads," with preference given to aspiring writers. Over the years some 40,000 people had spent nights in the bookstore, some for years at a time, sleeping wherever they could find room.

Whitman, an American, liked to tell people he was the son of Walt Whitman, which was true but it wasn't THAT Walt Whitman. He was in his mid-80s when Mercer was his guest, but still not nearly old enough to be the poet's son. Despite his socialist ideals, Whitman enforced a class system in his shop, allowing those he judged to be the best writers to use actual bedrooms on the upper floors, while others, like Mercer, had to look for space on the floor. Whitman also favored new guests over those he was starting to get tired of and attractive women over everybody else. Even at 86 he was still falling desperately in love with young women.

Whitman, Mercer tells us, was also a petty thief, stealing from his own guests. His favorite reading in his own bookstore were the diaries he stole from women who stayed with him. Mercer describes Whitman wrestling with a priest over a book being sold cheaply at a book sale. He wanted the book to resale in his shop. The priest presumably wanted to read it.

For all Whitman's faults, Mercer came to admire him and to want to help him protect the future of the store, which was being sought by developers because of its prime location. Mercer was able to track down Whitman's daughter, his only child and the product of his brief marriage to one of the women he fell in love with in his store. Today, following Whitman's death in 2011, Sylvia Whitman operates the store.

Mercer's title refers to prison slang. For prisoners there is hard time and then there is soft time. At Shakespeare and Company, he says, time was soft.

I visited Shakespeare and Company when I was last in Paris two summers ago. How I wish I had read Mercer's book first. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Mar 3, 2020 |
What an awful read. Thoroughly disappointed in what I had hoped would be a memoir about working and living in a bookstore instead of the territorial shenanigans and drama between its employees. Perhaps I had a rather romantic view of what this book would be, but I just found the execution rather tedious and annoying.

It's a lot less about the bookstore and books than it is about the people who work there. I suppose that it makes for more interesting reading, but I was not at all interested in the escape from the past background of the narrator, or his romantic entanglements, or his territorial powerplays with the other residents. Also wasn't to interested in the romantic dramas with the other people who lived/worked there, nor could I summon much interest in the dangers of the possible loss of the store. Based on the author's description of how it was/is run, it was not really a surprised.

As the author left Canada for Paris, I had hoped there might be some discussion of similarities/differences between bookstores at home and those in France. Anything, such as how they were run, the corporate nature of large chains vs. a store like Shakespeare & Co., etc. That was not the focus here, unfortunately.

This was more about the author exercising his own personal demons. There's a whiff of a "Gary Sue" to him that just doesn't make me root for him. I personally disliked his anecdote of revealing a prominent doctor seeing prostitutes. The doctor staged a successful PR campaign that even turned the newspaper against Mercier and his reporting partner. They claimed that this was a health risk and of public interest. Uh, no. Health risk possibly, but not of public interest.

He thanks the store and George for his time there, but it's just not a compelling read.

I'm mad I bought it. Library book for sure. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Feb 11, 2018 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 27) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Tender, disenchanted, self-castigating and bittersweet, Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs is a book that is consistently surprising.
 
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
Kanoninen teoksen nimi
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Alkuteoksen nimi
Teoksen muut nimet
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Tärkeät paikat
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Tärkeät tapahtumat
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Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
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For Julie
Ensimmäiset sanat
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It was a gray winter Sunday when I came to the bookstore.
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The title is Time Was Soft There in North America, Books, Baguettes & Bedbugs in England.
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Viittaukset tähän teokseen muissa lähteissä.

Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

-

If you ever come to Paris/ On a cold and rainy night & find the Shakespeare store/ It can be a welcome sight Because it has a motto/ Something friendly and wise Be kind to strangers/ Lest they're angels in disguise 'Shakespeare and Company' in Paris is one of the world's most famous bookshops. The original store opened in 1921 and became known as the haunt of literary greats, such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Bernard Shaw, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein and James Joyce. Sadly the shop was forced to close in 1941 when the owner, Sylvia Beach, refused to sell the last copy of 'Finnegan's Wake' to an occupying Nazi officer. But this was not the end of 'Shakespeare and Company'... In 1951 another bookshop, with a similar free-thinking ethos, opened on the Left Bank. Called 'Le Mistral', it had beds for those of a literary mindset who found themselves down on their luck and, in 1964, it resurrected the name 'Shakespeare and Company' and became the principal meeting place for Beatnik poets, such as Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, through to Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell. Today the tradition continues and writers still find their way to this bizarre establishment, one of them being Jeremy Mercer. After his life as a crime reporter in a Canadian city takes a terrifying turn for the worse, Jeremy packs his bags and, on a whim, heads to Paris to see in the new millennium. With no friends, no job, no money and no prospects, the thrill of escape soon palls but, by chance, he happens upon the fairytale world of 'Shakespeare and Co' and is taken in. What follows is his tale of his time there, the curious people who came and went, the realities of being down and out in the 'city of light' and, in particular, his relationship with the beguiling octogenarian owner, George.

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