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Shakespeare and Company

Shakespeare and Company

May 2014
Events at a Glance
Friday 2nd May 7pm
Philosophers in the Library: Bill Johnston Monday 5th May 7pm
Aller Retour Paris: Launch Party
Tuesday 6th May 4pm
Aller Retour Paris presents Thirza Vallois Wednesday 7th May 3pm
Aller Retour Paris presents Katy Masuga & Mary Duncan
Friday 9th May 7pm
The Art of Criticism: Brian Dillon Monday 12th May 7pm
Ned Beauman on Glow
Wednesday 14th May 3pm
Children’s Hour with Kate Stables Thursday 15th May 7pm
John Berger on Cataract
Monday 19th May 7pm
Lisa Appignanesi on Paris Requiem Thursday 22nd May 6pm
Bard-en-Seine Reading:
As You Like It
A very happy new month to you all! We’re having a very vibrant spring-time so far here in Paris, out on the bright, blossomy streets and inside our bustling rabbit warren of a bookshop. We ended April in a very festive mood with a raucous adaptation of Tom Stoppard’s 15-Minute Hamlet, performed in the bookshop (front row audience members were very much caught up in the action!) by a stellar cast of Tumbleweeds and volunteers past and present. It was the perfect way to celebrate 450 years of the bard to the very date, and really put us in the mood for our next Shakespearean extravaganza… Watch this space for details about our Bard-en-Seine festival (23rd-27th July), whose show-stopper centre-piece will be a five night run of Macbeth, directed by Cressida Brown, and performed en plein air in the beautiful little park next to the bookshop.
But that’s getting ahead…there’s lots to anticipate in May, too. Roll up, roll up, Henry Miller aficionados! For the first week of the month, The Henry Miller Library gang are in town, all the way from sunny Big Sur, California, for their Aller Retour Paris Festival. They’ll be headquartered at Shakespeare and Company and we’ll be hosting a few special Henry Miller-themed events, but they’re getting out and about all over Paris, as well, so check out the full line-up here.
We’re also very, very excited about fiction readings with Ned Beauman and Lisa Appignanesi, and thrilled beyond belief to announce an event with John Berger, one of the most internationally influential writers and thinkers of the last fifty years.
(If you do not see the image, click here to view it) Shakespeare and Company in the 60s
(If you do not see the image, click here to view it) The cast of Tom Stoppard’s 15-Minute Hamlet takes a bow
May Events

Most events take place upstairs in the library (30 seats), on the ground level (50 seats), or outside in front of the bookshop. During the events, the sound from the readings and discussions is projected around the entire store. We recommend you arrive 15-30 minutes early to try and get a seat as there is limited space.
Friday 2nd May 7pm
Philosophers in the Library presents…

The mindful translator: Toward a praxis of literary translation

Practising literary translators have long been at odds with translation theory. At best, such theory fails to capture the complexity of literary translation; at worst, it seriously misrepresents the processes and products of translation, both simplifying and distorting to the point where translators no longer recognize their part in the endeavor. Part of the problem lies in a misconception of what theory is for—there is a widespread assumption among translators and the general public that theory precedes practice, and is intended to be “applied”. Another approach, though, is possible—to theorize practice, as one finds, for example, in the work of Donald Schön and others. This talk, by an experienced practising translator, will consider the possible uses of theory for the practice of literary translation. Bill Johnston has translated about thirty books from the Polish, including both poetry and prose. He has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities; his prizes include the inaugural Found in Translation Award for Tadeusz Różewicz’s new poems (2008) and the AATSEEL Translation Prize for Magdalena Tulli’s Dreams and Stones (2004), both published by Archipelago Books. In 2012 his translation of Wiesław Myśliwski’s novel Stone Upon Stone (Archipelago Books, 2010) won the PEN Translation Prize, the Best Translated Book Award, and the AATSEEL Translation Prize. He is currently a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, and is working on a new translation of the Polish national epic Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz (1798 – 1855). He teaches in the Department of Comparative Literature at Indiana University.
Monday 5th May 7pm
Aller Retour—The Henry Miller Library Goes to Paris!

Join us at Shakespeare and Company for the Aller Retour Paris opening night party, hosted by Ping-Pong, the official literary magazine of the Henry Miller Library (all the way from Big Sur, California)! Expect poetry, wine, music by Al Rose, and Henry Miller-inspired revelry all round! Speakers include New York City’s J Hope Stein, Paris-based artist Jean-Noël Chazelle, and editor Maria Garcia Teutsch.

Maria Garcia Teutsch will be reading from the new bilingual (French and English) edition of Pussy, as well as from her new manuscript, Whore-son, poems written in response to the underlined sections of Jean Genet’s The Balcony. She has been, or will be, published in: Otoliths, The South Carolina Review, Prairie Schooner, The Lullwater Review, The Cold Mountain Review, The Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, The Sierra Nevada Review, Women’s Arts Quarterly, and Whole Beast Rag.

J Hope Stein is the author of the chapbooks: Talking Doll (Dancing Girl Press), Mary (Hyacinth Girl Press), and Corner Office (H_ngm_n). Her poems are published or forthcoming in Verse, HTML Giant, Tarpaulin Sky, Everyday Genius, Ping-Pong, Talisman, and Poetry International. She is also the editor of poetrycrush.com and the author of poetry/humour site eecattings.com.

Jean-Noël Chazelle is a Paris-based painter who will read French poems published in Ping-Pong, including the works of Jean Arp and Guy Jean, as well as some of his own work.
Tuesday 6th May 4pm
Aller Retour Paris presents: Thirza Vallois

Join us for a talk in the library—followed by an optional literary stroll around the City of Lights—with Thirza Vallois, whose “Around and About” Paris books have been universally acclaimed as the best travel books ever written on the city. The talk will run from 4-5pm, followed by the walk, which should wrap up around 7.30pm.

To learn more about Thirza and her books, visit http://www.thirzavallois.com
Wednesday 7th May 3pm
Aller Retour Paris presents: How Henry Miller Can Change Your Life (Again)

We all know why we love Henry Miller (or even hate him), but do we know the real reasons why we should love him? Join us for an insightful discussion with Dr. Katy Masuga, author of The Secret Violence of Henry Miller (2011) and Henry Miller and How He Got That Way (2011), and Mary Duncan, Director of the Paris Writers Group and author of Henry Miller is Under My Bed: People and Place on the Way to Paris (2008).
Friday 9th May 7pm
For the next installment of The Art of Criticism series, we are delighted to welcome Brian Dillon, to discuss reviewing books, writing essays, eclectic interests, and tackling literary theory. We will be discussing his new collection of essays, Objects in this Mirror (Sternberg Press), of which Wayne Koestenbaum has written, “Like Roland Barthes and Virginia Woolf, Brian Dillon pays lavish attention to curious byways that usually go without saying. In sentences at once playful and majestic, he plumbs the intellectual depths of his subjects, and reveals a perverse, nearly dandyish love for odd facts and iconoclastic vistas. There is more than a touch of W. G. Sebald—the Wordsworthian wanderer, the romantic itinerant—in Dillon’s melancholy yet mood-spiked attitude toward the material objects that greet his sober, ever-evaluating eye. Reading Objects in This Mirror, we participate in Dillon’s restless perambulations, and we are delighted to be thus transported.” Brian Dillon is a writer and critic based in Canterbury. His books include Objects in This Mirror: Essays (Sternberg Press, 2014), I Am Sitting in a Room (Cabinet, 2012), Sanctuary (Sternberg Press, 2011), Ruins (MIT Press/Whitechapel Gallery, 2011), Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives (Penguin, 2009), and In the Dark Room (Penguin 2005). His writing appears regularly in the Guardian, the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, Artforum, and frieze. He is UK editor of Cabinet magazine, and teaches critical writing at the Royal College of Art. Dillon is curator of Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing — a Hayward Touring exhibition which is at De Appel, Amsterdam, 27 June -14 September 2014 — and Ruin Lust, at Tate Britain from 4 March -18 May 2014. He is working on a book about the Great Explosion at Faversham, Kent, in 1916.

Hilary Mantel reviews Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives in the LRB
Monday 12th May 7pm
“A singular, and almost recklessly gifted, young writer” — Time

We’re hugely excited about hearing Ned Beauman speak about his dazzling new novel, Glow.

A hostage exchange outside a police station in Pakistan. A botched defection in an airport hotel in New Jersey. A test of loyalty at an abandoned resort in the Burmese jungle. A boy and a girl locking eyes at a rave in a South London laundrette… For the first time, one of Britain’s hottest young novelists turns his attention to the present day, as a conspiracy with global repercussions converges on one small flat above a dentist’s office in Camberwell.

Ned Beauman was born in 1985 in London. His debut novel, Boxer, Beetle, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Desmond Elliot Prize and won the Writers’ Guild Award for Best Fiction Book and the Goldberg Prize for Outstanding Debut Fiction. His second novel, The Teleportation Accident, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the Encore Award and a Somerset Maugham Award. He has been chosen by the Culture Show as one of the twelve best new British novelists and by Granta as one of the 20 best British novelists under 40. His work has been translated into more than ten languages. Ned was also one of the judges for the Paris Literary Prize 2013.

Ned Beauman has a cool and interesting website here.
Wednesday 14th May 3pm
Children’s Hour—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, this lovely event has become an institution. There will be instruments to play and a lot of noise to make! Four euros donation appreciated. Due to space restrictions, we ask that you try and email Kate to confirm your place, and also that each child is accompanied by only one adult where possible. Thanks, all!
Thursday 15th May 7pm
We’re thrilled to announce that the magnificent John Berger will be joining us to discuss Cataract, one of his latest titles, and resonant themes in his work as a whole.

John Berger is a storyteller, essayist, novelist, screenwriter, dramatist, and critic, whose body of work embodies his concern for, in Geoff Dyer’s words, “the enduring mystery of great art and the lived experience of the oppressed”. He is one of the most internationally influential writers of the last fifty years, who has explored the relationships between the individual and society, culture and politics, and experience and expression in a series of novels, bookworks, essays, plays, films, photographic collaborations, and performances, unmatched in their diversity, ambition, and reach. His television series and book Ways of Seeing revolutionised the way that Fine Art is read and understood, while his engagement with European peasantry and migration in the fiction trilogy Into Their Labours and A Seventh Man stand as models of empathy and insight. Central to Berger’s creative identity is the idea of collaboration, with people, places, and communities as much as with other writers and thinkers. Democratic and open exchange is embedded into his project, and among those artists with whom he has worked are some of the most imaginative in their fields—theatre director Simon McBurney of Complicite, the late artist Juan Munoz, photographer Jean Mohr, composer Gavin Bryars, and film-makers Mike Dibb, Alain Tanner, and Timothy Neat.

In Cataract, John Berger works in collaboration with acclaimed Turkish illustrator Selçuk Demirel. In this book-length essay, published by the brilliant Notting Hill Editions (and Le Temps des Cerises in France), John Berger explores what happens when cataracts rob an art critic of his sight, and reflects upon his own experience of loss of vision.

John Berger: A Life in Writing

John Berger in conversation with Michael Ondaatje
Monday 19th May 7pm
We’re delighted to announce an evening with Lisa Appignanesi, who will, appropriately, be discussing her latest novel, Paris Requiem.

Paris, 1899. Capital of the crime passionel. Paris is electric with excitement. Everywhere preparations are underway for the universal exhibition and the new century—an age of speed and modernity. But the sensuous spectacle of the belle époque is shadowed by racial and social tensions. Street demos are rampant. Anti-Semites vie with the defenders of justice and the rights of man. Scientists propose hereditary explanations for the rise and rise of murder, madness, and nervous disorders. The police force is embattled, exposed in a scandal-mongering press. In the midst of all this, the body of a beautiful woman is found in the Seine. She is the performer Olympe Fabre. She is also Rachel Arnhem, a young Jewish woman, whom gossip, back in Boston, has linked to one of its favourite prodigals, Rafael Norton. James Norton, his elder brother, is charged with the task of bringing Raf and their high-spirited, though ailing, sister, Ellie, home from the hotbed of vice and murderous entanglements. It is a mission he confronts reluctantly. He and Paris have a history—not altogether unlinked to the turbulent present that now confronts him.

Lisa Appignanesi OBE is a prize-winning writer, novelist, broadcaster, and cultural commentator. She is past president of English PEN, served as deputy director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, and is chair of the Freud Museum. She appears regularly on Radio 3’s Night Waves and Radio 4’s Saturday Review. Her many books include Trials of Passion, Losing the Dead, Mad, Bad and Sad, All About Love, and The Memory Man. She lives in North London.

Discover Lisa Appignanesi’s top ten books about Paris
Thursday 22nd May 6pm
The Bard-en-Seine Readings

Throughout 2014, in honour of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, we’re hosting the Bard-en-Seine Readings. The goal is simple: to revisit and celebrate some of Shakespeare’s most loved plays. So, once a month, we will be hosting informal read-throughs in the library, which will be recorded and sent out as podcasts in this very newsletter.

For May, the play will be As You Like It and the reading will take place on Thursday 22nd at 6pm, in the library.

If you’d like to take part, please email Milly Unwin, and tell her whether you’d prefer a larger or a smaller role. Parts will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis, and we’ll let you know a week in advance of the reading whether you have a role. No preparation necessary, and we’ll provide the scripts. Please note that, due to space restrictions, the Bard-en-Seine Readings will only be open to those taking part.

The allocated plays for each remaining month of 2014 are as follows:

June – Henry IV (Part 1)
July – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
August – Othello
September – The Merchant of Venice
October – Hamlet
November – Twelfth Night
December – Anthony and Cleopatra

Please check the newsletter and website each month for dates and times, and details of how to apply.
Special Recommendation if You Live in Paris
Le Panier d’Alexandre

We love getting our weekly fruit and vegetables directly from the source: Alexandre. Alexandre grows his produces in the Oise region and delivers weekly to Paris — usually on his bicycle. He delivers to your door and it costs 20 euros for a full bag of delicious home-grown goodies which you can be sure haven’t been drowned in pesticides! For more information, check out his website.
Podcasts from Last Month’s Events
John Baxter on Paris at the End of the World The Art of Criticism: Lila Azam Zanganeh
The Original of Lolita: Celebrating Nabokov’s Birthday in Paris The Best Translated Book Award 2014: Announcement and Celebration (feat. Amélie Nothomb)
450 Years of Shakespeare: A Celebration
Staff and Tumbleweed Picks
The Temporary Gentleman by Sebastian Barry
This is an extraordinary, heart-breaking novel. Beautifully written, it is the perfect companion to On Canaan’s Side. Barry’s prose has a cadence that quietly gathers until it becomes visceral. His project is of retrieval; for him, novels are the true afterlife and The Temporary Gentleman is a work of magic. — Sarah
The Black Count by Tom Reiss
Superman, Batman, Thor… These guys would have been no match for General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, whose military and life achievements certainly surpass all his contemporaries. Son of a Haitian slave and a renegade French nobleman, the father of Alexandre Dumas was the inspiration for the Count of Monte Cristo. Indeed, much as Edmond Dantès was betrayed by his friends, Thomas-Alexandre was sent to exile by a jealous Napoleon Bonaparte who could not stand to ride in the shadow of his formidable black General. Written in the style of Dumas, this hectic biography is also a clever and well-documented description of France at the end of the 18th century. No wonder it won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography. — Alex G
A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
Sit up, read this, and be surprised. This novel throws you into the mind of a young woman and her relationship with her family. It is outstanding. The energy, the detail, and the originality of the prose are unforgettable. I haven’t felt this affected by a novel for a long time. — Sylvia
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
I’ve always been drawn to the dirty side of Paris… Here Orwell writes about the bedbugs so we can enjoy the history without enduring the bites! — Octavia
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
A haunting book about Ruthie and her family before her. Sentence for sentence, beauty can be found. This is a short, sweet novel about growing up in the wonderfully depicted town of Fingerbone. It is a novel full of light (or lack thereof) and a whole bunch of weather that twists and turns like a bad night’s sleep. If you want to know how to write a perfectly crafted little book, well, then you can’t go wrong with Housekeeping. — Thos
Antiquarian Picks
Naked Lunch by William Burroughs
First US edition / first hardback edition
New York: Grove Press, 1962
First published in paperback by Olympia Press in Paris in 1959 as The Naked Lunch, William Burroughs’s stupefying satire on addiction, what he described as the “algebra of need”, was banned from US publication by obscenity laws. The book was finally published by Grove Press in 1962, retitled Naked Lunch to match Burroughs’s original intentions, and with substantial changes that brought the text closer to a 1958 manuscript held by Allen Ginsberg. Fine in near fine dust jacket, this first US edition appears unread. A stunning copy.
The Journals of Anaïs Nin
First editions of volumes 1-3 sold as a set
Inscribed by the author
London: Peter Owen, 1966-1970
In her legendary journals, published in seven volumes, Anaïs Nin excavates her own mind to create an intensely candid journey through the years 1931 to 1974. They are where she deciphers or perhaps dreams all those things that make up her complicated myth: sexual freedom, bigamy, psychoanalysis, colossal lies, erotica, feminism, her relationship with Henry Miller in Paris. These first three volumes, taking us from 1931-1934, 1934-1939, and 1939-1944, are inscribed by Nin to the editor Beatrice Musgrave at her publishing house Peter Owen. An extremely special set in very good condition, signed “with friendship”.
Further Literary Tidbits
Thomas Piketty and Millennial Marxists on the Scourge of Inequality Matt Haig on Reading and Writing Against Depression
The Wizard of Oz Re-Imagined by Lisbeth Zwerger Paris People on Their Favourite Books about Paris (including tips from our own Sylvia Whitman)
New York Times obituary for Gabriel García Márquez ‘Having a Coke With You’ Illustrated by Nathan Gelgud
Seven Shakespearean Phrases and Concepts that Changed Western Culture On the Re-launch of Pelican Books
Charles Simic on The Great Poets’ Brawl of ‘68 The Art of Independent Publishing
The Last Words
“Thou seest we are not all alone unhappy:
This wide and universal theatre
Presents more woeful pageants than the scene
Wherein we play in.”
— As You Like It
“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”
– Iris Murdoch

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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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My Writing Journey

I have always read books. I read story books to my cousins when I was small and as I couldn’t really read when I was three or four years old I made up the stories to fit the pictures. As a child I loved comic books and read all I could buy or borrow. My mother always told me ‘if you read you are never lonely’. Mum was a reader. She loved history and the English language. She would disappear to her bedroom each afternoon to read. I always seemed to have a heaps of books to choose from in our home and I was allowed to read any book I wanted to. A treasured cache of books was found at my paternal grandmother’s house in an old trunk. Children’s books from the early years of the twentieth century; a lot from the twenties and thirties. Girls and Boys Own Annuals – the covers of which today are often seen on birthday cards. I read ‘Shirley Flight-Air Hostess.’ I saved my pocket money (given each week-no chores needed to be done to receive it!) and bought the series (all brand new books-what a treat!).A great source of reading when I was around twelve years old was the school library. A favourite book being ‘King Solomon’s Mines’. Once I discovered this book I read the other Rider Haggard books. I read all the books by the Brontes and lots of the classics. I read ‘The Woman in White’ by Wilkie Collins in one day. Heavens knows why my parents didn’t object when I read through breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the dining table, book propped up in front of me. As I ran away from home now and again when I was younger they probably thought at least they knew where I was now! Secondhand bookshops in Sydney and Kings Cross were visited regularly and I found many a still treasured book hidden on high up dusty shelves.
Next week I will write more about my love affair with books and my writer’s journey.

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The Selexyz Dominicanen bookstore in Maastricht

The Selexyz Dominicanen bookstore in Maastricht is a 13th century gothic architecture becomes a bookstore through continuos dialogue between history and modernity. In Maastricht, Selexyz Dominicanen is a project with multiple souls, where tradition and innovative solutions come together over a good book and a good cup of coffee.

In the Classical world, Mercury, the god of merchants, was also considered the messenger of the gods and the protector of swindlers. Since then, trade has been traditionally labeled as “amoral,” a notion that gained ground during Christianity, when St. Nicholas was named the patron saint of thieves and merchants and St. Thomas Aquinas concluded that traders would be kept from entering the Kingdom of Heaven seeing that temptation figured as an integral part of their profession.

The disorientation visitors encounter upon entering the Selexyz Dominicanen bookstore in Maastricht is likely atavic in nature. The building that houses the store is in fact a Gothic church consecrated in 1294 by the Order of Predicators founded by St. Dominic. The church has not hosted a religious function since 1794, when the church was confiscated by Napoleon’s army for military purposes. Since then, the space has been used as a town archive, warehouse and even an inglorious site for bike storage. In 2005, Boekhandels Groep Nederland (BGN) decided to give new life to the building by transforming it into what is now one of the world’s most incredible bookstores.

The interior design by the Amsterdam-based firm Merkx+Girod Architecten creates retail space by taking advantage of the spatial magnificence of the church’s architecture. To satisfy BGN’s need for 1,200 m2 of selling space and given that the church’s floor area is of only 750 m2, Evelyn Merkx and Patrice Girod thought to insert an over-sized walk-in bookcase. The two upper levels therefore compensate for the lack of surface area, enabling the transversal use of space.

The imposing bookcase created by Keijsers Interior Projects is positioned on the right side of the building, between the central and lateral naves, and encompasses the stone columns. A series of stairs lead visitors up the black steel walk-in bookcase, providing an up close and personal view of the vaults of the nave, enthralling them with a nearsighted view of the frescoes and revealing an unknown perspective. In stark contrast, the left side of the church retains the original height of the building with low tables placed parallel to the central nave as if to lead the visitor toward a sort of hypothetical altar. The left nave features low, horizontal tables and vertical book shelves along the walls to create thematic islands separated by the steady rhythm of the columns. The lighting, which is an all but integral part of the store’s design, manifests itself in the chorus by way of a traditional chandelier above the crucifix-shaped table located in the café area. Here, with the left side housing the bar area, a series of tables, poufs and armchairs mimic the curved line of the chorus to a raised platform.

The Selexyz Dominicanen bookstore, for which Merkx+Girod was awarded the Lensvelt de Architect prize in 2007, welcomes about 700,000 visitors each year and showcases 25,000 books and 45,000 volumes.

Design: Satijn Plus Architects, Merkx+Girod
Destination: Maastricht, Netherlands
Text: Giulia Gerosa
©2012 Mida Editore s.r.l


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The Coffee Shop of the Selexyz Bookstore in Maastricht


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The Paris Literary Prize

Writers around the world who have not yet published a book, now is your chance!
More details can be found on the Shakespeare and Company website.
About The Prize
The Paris Literary Prize is an international novella competition for unpublished writers. Any topic is welcome.
Shakespeare and Company has a long-standing tradition of opening its doors to aspiring writers and in keeping with that philosophy, the 10,000€ Paris Literary Prize is open to writers from around the world who have not yet published a book.
We have long been admirers of the novella, a genre which includes such classics as The Old Man and the Sea, Animal Farm, L’Étranger and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. The Paris Literary Prize celebrates this small but perfectly formed genre while giving a unique opportunity to writers whose voices have not yet been heard.
There are three Paris Literary Prize awards:

The Paris Literary Prize award: 10,000 Euros
Two Paris Literary Prize Runner-up awards: 2,000 Euros each
All three winners will be invited to a weekend stay in Paris to attend the
Prize ceremony and read from their work at a special event at
Shakespeare and Company.
Last year, the winner of the Paris Literary Prize was Rosa Rankin-Gee for The Last Kings of Sark ; the two runners-up were Adam Biles for Grey Cats, and Agustin Maes for Newborn.
Selection Process & Jury
The selection process for the Paris Literary Prize occurs in two phases. First, our dedicated team of readers (numbering 12 in 2011) goes through each submission in search of exceptional stories, voices and craft and a long list of roughly 10% of entrants is then chosen for closer inspection. After many hours of reading and debate, this is again reduced to form the short list, between 10 and 15 entrants. This is where our Jury takes over, spending a month with the texts before selecting the winner and two runners-up.
To ensure the quality and diversity of the selections, each submission is considered by several readers (for instance, in 2011 each text was viewed at least five times).
The identity of all entrants is withheld throughout the process.
2012 Jury
Erica Wagner will again be chairing the jury for this year’s prize, with the remaining members to be decided shortly. For the list of 2011 readers and jury go to the Paris Literary Prize site.

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A Modern Bookshop, NYC

Borders, NYC in the Time Warner Center, overlooking the Columbus Circle and the Columbus Stature. This is a beautiful bookstore. Modern, with lots of light and space.

Photo by sergei.y Flickr.com

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Cramped Bookstore, Calcutta

A cramped bookstore in Calcutta. I’d love to visit this bookstore. Imagine the treasures waiting to be discovered.

Photography: FriskoDude Flickr.com

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Inside Shakespeare and Company, Paris

ImageShakespeare and Company (bookstore)

I love old-fashioned bookstores and this is one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Shakespeare and Company

Location Paris, France
Type Bookstore
Opened 1951
Owner Sylvia Beach Whitman
Website shakespeareandcompany.com

Shakespeare and Company is the name of two independent bookstores on Paris’s Left Bank. The first was opened by Sylvia Beach on 17 November 1919 at 8 rue Dupuytren, before moving to larger premises at 12 rue de l’Odéon in the 6th arrondissement in 1922.[1] During the 1920s, it was a gathering place for writers such as Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Ford Madox Ford.[1] It closed in 1941 during the German occupation of Paris and never re-opened.[2]

The second is situated at 37 rue de la Bûcherie, in the 5th arrondissement. Opened in 1951 by George Whitman, it was originally named “Le Mistral” but renamed to “Shakespeare and Company” in 1964 in tribute to Sylvia Beach’s bookstore.[3] Today, it serves both as a regular bookstore and as a reading library, specializing in English-language literature. The shop was featured in the Richard Linklater film Before Sunset and in the Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris.[4]

Sylvia Beach’s bookstore



Poet’s Corner

Sylvia Beach, an American expatriate from New Jersey established Shakespeare and Company in 1919 on 8 rue Dupuytren. The store functioned as a lending library as well as a bookstore.[5] Beach moved to a larger location at 12 rue de l’Odéon in 1921, where the store remained until 1941.[1] During this period, the store was the epicenter of Anglo-American literary culture and modernism in Paris. Writers and artists of the “Lost Generation,” such as Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, George Antheil and Man Ray spent a great deal of time at Shakespeare and Company, and it was nicknamed “Stratford-on-Odéon” by James Joyce, who used it as his office.[6] Its books were considered high quality and reflected Beach’s own literary taste. Shakespeare and Company, as well as its literary denizens, was mentioned in Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. Patrons could buy or borrow books like D. H. Lawrence’s controversial Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which had been banned in Britain and the United States.

Beach initially published Joyce’s book Ulysses in 1922, which was banned in the United States and in the United Kingdom. Subsequent editions of Ulysses were published under the Shakespeare and Company imprint in later years.[7]

The original Shakespeare and Company was closed in 14 June 1940, during the German occupation of France during World War II. [2] It has been suggested the store may have been ordered shut because Beach denied a German officer the last copy of Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.[8] When the war ended, Hemingway “personally liberated” the store but, despite this, it never re-opened.[9]

[edit] George Whitman’s bookstore

In 1951, another English-language bookstore was opened on Paris’s Left Bank by an American George Whitman, under the name of Le Mistral. Its premises, the site of a 16th-century monastery,[10] are at 37 rue de la Bûcherie, near Place Saint-Michel, just steps from the Seine, Notre Dame and the Île de la Cité.[10] Much like the original Shakespeare and Company, the store became a focal point for literary culture in bohemian Paris, and was frequented by many Beat Generation writers, such as Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and William S. Burroughs.[10]

In 1964, after Sylvia Beach’s death, Whitman changed his store’s name to Shakespeare and Company in tribute to the original venture.[3] He described the bookstore’s name as “a novel in three words”.[3] and calls the venture “a socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore”.[11] Customers have included the likes of Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin, and Richard Wright. The bookstore includes sleeping facilities, with 13 beds, and Whitman claims as many as 40,000 people have slept in the shop over the years.[11]

Regular activities that occur in the bookshop are Sunday tea, poetry readings and writers’ meetings.[12] Whitman’s daughter, Sylvia Beach Whitman, now runs the shop.[12]

George Whitman died at the age of 98 on December 14, 2011.

[edit] Sylvia Beach Whitman

George Whitman’s daughter, Sylvia Beach Whitman, has now taken over the day-to-day running of the shop, and continues to run the store in the same manner as her father, allowing young writers to live and work in the shop.[12] She has also started a biennial literary festival, FestivalandCo, which has hosted such writers as Paul Auster, Siri Hustvedt, Jeanette Winterson, Jung Chang and Marjane Satrapi.[13][12] Sylvia Whitman has appeared on the Paris episodes of The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, which aired the week of August 1, 2011.


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