Saturday, June 9, 2012

Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co, Jeremy Mercer

It was a gray winter Sunday when I came to the bookstore. As had been my habit during that troubled time, I was out walking. There was never a specific destination, merely an accumulation of random turns and city blocks to numb the hours and distract from the problems at hand. It was surprisingly easy to forget oneself among the bustling markets and grand boulevards, the manicured parks and marble monuments.

Jeremy Mercer, a crime reporter, left America to try and start a new life in Paris. However, he was soon deep in financial problems, among other things. Then he found Shakespeare & Co, a bookstore named after the original one owned by Sylvia Beach before World War II. The New Shakespeare & Co is owned by George Whitman. George let a lot of people live in the bookstore for free, and Jeremy Mercer was one of those people. This book recounts the various people he encountered there, and the way the bookstore took him in. It also describes George Whitman in depth.

Mercer was very perceptive to every detail, probably because of his crime writer training. He noticed a lot of things about the bookstore and made sure to include them in his book. I really liked that. Now I have to visit Shakespare & Co. the next time I go to Paris! He also describes some of the Paris tricks for cheap eating, which was funny. It also talked about some of the problems that Shakespeare and Co. had while Mercer was there, and how he helped them to cope with various issues, such as a wealthy man trying to buy up all the apartments in the building.

Read Time Was Soft There:
  • if you like books about Paris
  • if you like Shakespeare & Co. or just bookstores in general
260 pages.
Very Good! I would recommend this book!

1 comment:

  1. Cleo, the new background is great, but the yellow font is hard to read.