Shakespeare and Company

September Newsletter, Shakespeare and Company, Paris.

If you are lucky enough to be in Paris in September check out what events are on at Shakespeare and Company.

Monday 3 September 7.30pm
John Freeman on House of Stone by Anthony Shadid with Amin Maalouf, Ed Cody, Katia Jarjoura and Jihane Chouaib Wednesday 5 September 4pm
Brief signing with Ron Rash
Monday 10 September 7pm
Noel Riley Fitch, Rick Tulka and John Baxter on Paris cafés
Wednesday 12 September 3pm
Children’s hour with Kate Stables in the Library
Wednesday 12 September 5pm
Acoustic performance by Alyssa Graham Friday 21 September 6pm
Philosophers in the Library Lex Paulson on American democracy
Thursday 20 September – Sunday 23rd September
Festival America at Vincennes with author signings at our stand.
September is la rentrée littéraire when all French publishers release some of the most exciting titles of the year – here at Shakespeare and Company we’re buoyed up after a long warm August recommending books and flitting off to the sea at weekends.
This month we’re collaborating with one of Paris’s biggest festivals, concentrating on American literature, Festival Americafrom 20 – 23 September. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the festival hosts over 70 authors from over 13 countries. There will be readings, discussions and debates on a range of subjects, as well as writing workshops, films, concerts and art exhibitions. Authors participating include Toni Morrison, Wells Tower, Karen Russell, Aleksander Hemon, Patrick deWitt, Teju Cole and Vendela Vida and we will be the only stand selling books in English – all anglophone writers will do signings at our stand – so come and visit us! To get you into the spirit, see our book recommendations below from authors attending Festival America.
We’re thrilled to announce the forthcoming release of Shakespeare and Company: A Brief History of a Parisian Bookstore, a booklet chronicling the history of the shop. We delved deep into the bookstore’s archives to find the most gorgeous photographs, compelling historical documents, and terrific anecdotes–collecting them together in this single, exquisite volume. It’s a taster of the larger book we will publish early next year. The booklet includes an essay by Sylvia Whitman (owner of the shop and daughter of founder George Whitman), along with writing from Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Anaïs Nin, Tumbleweeds, and Allen Ginsberg, who penned a poem extolling George Whitman and the store. The booklet debuts mid September, but we’re taking pre-orders at the website now – and the first 500 copies purchased through the site will be signed by Sylvia and inked by the Shakespeare and Company stamp. Don’t delay!
Don’t forget if you are unable to come to a particular event and want a signed copy of one of the author’s books (we can also post it to you) please email Alice.

Most events take place upstairs in the library (seats 40), on the ground level (seats 50) or outside in front of the bookshop. The sound from the reading and discussions are projected around the entire bookshop during the events. We recommend you arrive 15– 30 minutes early to try to get a seat as there is limited space.
Granta’s John Freeman presents House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family and a Lost Middle East by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Anthony Shadid, who passed away last year. John will be in discussion with one of France’s most acclaimed writers, Amin Maalouf; Shadid’s colleague from the Washington Post, Ed Cody; journalist/filmmaker Katia Jarjoura (and friend of Shadid’s) and Jihane Chouaib, the director of the documentary Dream Country. House of Stone ‘…offers a powerful reminder of the impact that never-ending insecurity has on people long after the violence that ruined their lives has been forgotten by the rest of the world.’New York Times
In spring 2011, Anthony Shadid was one of four New York Times reporters captured in Libya, cuffed and beaten, as that country was seized by revolution. When he was freed, he went home. Not to Boston or Beirut where he lives or to Oklahoma City, where his Lebanese-American family had settled. Instead, he returned to his great-grandfather’s estate in Lebanon, a house that, over three years earlier, Shadid had begun to rebuild.House of Stone is the story of a battle-scarred home and a war correspondent’s jostled spirit, and of how reconstructing the one came to fortify the other. Shadid creates a mosaic of past and present, tracing the house’s renewal alongside his family’s flight from Lebanon and resettlement in America. He memorializes a lost world and provides profound insights into this volatile landscape.House of Stone is an unforgettable meditation on war, exile, rebirth and the universal yearning for home.
Come for a *brief signing* by Ron Rash, award-winning poet, short-story writer and novelist. His most recent story collection, Burning Bright, won the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and his novel, Serena, was a New York Times bestseller and the movie based on this will premiere in Cannes next May. His latest novel, The Cove, is a gloriously dark work of historical fiction set in the Appalachian mountains (Irving Welsh has just written the screenplay). ‘appears to derive quiet, almost religious, pleasure in descriptive clarity, so that sentences become little paradigms of the events they describe … because of its simplicity, the hard won elegance of its telling, it stays singularly in the mind after it has finished’ – Tim Adams, The Observer.
Noel Riley Fitch, Rick Tulka and John Baxter will discuss the Paris café and its central role in art and literature. Why is the Paris café central to artistic history? How is the café portrayed in art and literature? What has the café offered the artist? What historical events have occurred in cafés? Why are its numbers diminishing and what future can we foresee?
Three distinguished panel members will discuss these and other questions: Rick Tulka, who has drawn the clientele and staff at the café Le Select almost every afternoon for over 17 years; Noel Riley Fitch, author of three books on the history of cafes, including one with Rick Tulka (Paris Café: the Select Crowd); and John Baxter, author of The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris.
Music, rhythm and stories for kids: Bring your children (2-6 year-olds, siblings welcome too) to the library at Shakespeare and Company for an hour of music, songs and stories in English (for all nationalities even those who don’t speak English!). Led by the magic Kate Stables, mum and singer/songwriter from This is the Kit. There will be instruments to play and noise to make! 4 euros donation appreciated.
Come and hear an acoustic concert (upstairs in the library or outside if it’s fine) with the stunning American musician Alyssa Graham. Blending ’60s folk rock with hints of Neil Young, Nick Drake and Bob Dylan, Alyssa’s Lock, Stock & Soulhas garnered praise from all corners including The Huffington Post, AOL Music, Paste Magazine, Daytrotter, Marie Claire andAmerican Songwriter. Her debut album,Echo, was chosen by The New York Times as a Critics’ Choice CD. “The right voice…a sumptuous and flexible croon”
– New York Times
The September edition of Philosophers in the Library will centre on the roots, troubles and redemption of American democracy. Led by Lex Paulson – a veteran of the Obama campaign and author of the “Applied Classics” series, who’s currently pursuing a philosophy PhD at the Sorbonne–the talk will explore the subject with the help of two illuminating texts, Polybius’s Histories and Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. A Greek captive in 2nd-century BC Rome, Polybius wrote the seminal account of how Rome’s balanced constitution accelerated her conquest of the known world; Rome’s republican system, in turn, was the primary influence upon America’s founding generation as its new republic was born. De Tocqueville, a young French aristocrat sent to study American prisons in the 1830’s, produced instead the most insightful, readable, and enduring account ever written on America and its civic life.
What light do these ancient texts shed on the campaign of 2012? Can American democracy, for all its dysfunction, still be saved? Copies of the two texts will be available ahead of time (in the library? behind the front desk?). See you in the library!

See some of the authors at Festival America
The Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison’s 10th book, Home, centres on the tragic homecoming of Korean War veteran Frank Money. After escaping barefoot from the hospital where he is locked up Frank begins his long journey south to Georgia. Faced with an America which is still as violent and racially divided as he left it Frank must also contend with the close memories of battlefield horrors and lives which slipped through his fingers. Through a series of vignettes the story expands with a cast of characters from Frank’s hometown of Lotus. Tragedies of war are met with tragedies at home but the difference between the two battlefields is that in Korea the enemy had a name. For the people living back in Lotus the way forward is more difficult to grasp. With Home Morrison has assembled a truly fascinating picture of America on the cusp of civil rights revolution. –Grove
Undoubtedly one of the most complex and intricate plots I have ever come across, and any attempt to summarise here would be futile. Suffice to say Nicole Krauss manages to connect two narratives which connect an old man in search of his son and a young girl searching for a cure to her widowed mother´s loneliness. It is a long lost book “The History of Love”, which is at the centre of all the parallel texts which are woven together into a dense and rich tapestry.

It is stylistically very inventive and Krauss´s writing is instantly addictive, tender and precise. Unusual, imaginative and in the end deeply moving. A superb novel.
– Lola
I loved this book. Read it! I haven’t felt so transported into fictional lives since reading Franzen’s Freedom last year. As you may get from the novel’s title, the book is set in north-west London and that area is certainly one of its vibrant characters. Meet Leah, who is hesitant to grow up, and her best friend Keisha, the seemingly successful lawyer with a perfect family. Smith deals with dialogue brilliantly in this book. One of the most memorable moments in the text is the depiction of adolescence and women turning 30 in list-form and Skype message. – Sylvia
A powerful and unsettling exploration of friendship and the concept of debts owed to those who are closest to us. There is no whiff of First Novel about this one at all, it is an incredibly accomplished debut drawing comparisons – with good reason – with the likes of Steinbeck, Faulkner and McCarthy. A murky story, seriously told. – Linda
Franzen calledLeaving the Atocha Station ‘hilarious and crackingly intelligent, fully alive and original in every sentence’ and oh yes it is. I was laughing out loud a few pages in. Lerner is also a poet and his writing is rich, and exacting, capturing life in all of its weirdness. There’s something heartening about this awkward self-conscious narrator and Lerner really gets what it is to be young, artistic and alien in a foreign city. -Jemma
This is a romance set in America’s near future where every functioning member of society is perpetually virtually attuned thanks to their personal äppärät, the iPad’s descendant, and the only reliable dollar in the declining economy is “yuan-pegged.” In this bleak future, a very average Lenny Abramov (taking after his Chekhovian role models) kindles a relationship with a tortured twenty-something, Eunice Park, and the two of them cling to each other as the world falls apart around them. The eloquence and intelligence of Shteyngart’s prose becomes increasingly evident as the novel continues, vacillating between Lenny’s diary entries and Eunice’s blog posts. Shteyngart paints a picture of a recognizable future: one that is simultaneously despicable and predictable, hilarious and heart-wrenching, in this fast-paced, creative, and sincere novel. -Amelia
Unlike What is the What and Zeitoun, A Hologram for the King is not based on a true story, and its main character is anything but heroic. Alan Clay, a divorced senior salesman, is sent by his company to Saudi Arabia to present to King Abdullah a new hologram communication device that could equip the new King Abdullah Economic City. When he gets there with his young team, Alan discovers that the high-tech utopia is still at a very theoretical stage-a canal, some palm trees, a few glass buildings in the middle of the desert-and that King Abdullah’s date of visit is very uncertain. The story turns into a Beckettian novel about waiting. Alan is waiting for the King, waiting for money to pay for his daughter’s tuition fee, waiting for something that will extract him from his state of apathy. The numerous and surprising encounters Alan makes give the story its fast rhythm, its lightness, and its warmth. And like in a Beckett tale, we laugh, we reflect, we wonder. Eggers starts the novel with a quote by Beckett: “It is not every day that we are needed.” There is sense of uselessness engendered by global capitalism. Through Alan’s memories and experience as an entrepreneur, Eggers offers an allegory of the decline of the United States, a country that lost a big chunk of its industry (and pride) to the Chinese and other new economies … a country now selling holograms in the desert. -David

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