For you, the dress code is casual.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

in answer to a comment

jasmine asked if i'd ever been to the shakespeare & co. bookstore in paris, and no, i've never been to the city of lights. i will, though, and the photos will be spectacular. i dream of that sometimes. money's never been a friend of mine, but one day, we'll buddy up and i'll get lavish and continental.

the bookstore, though, was started by sylvia beach, a lover of authors and literature. an american expatriot heiress, she started the store just at the turn of the 1920s, and before the decade was out, had befriended every great literary author in the city, which was flooded with the great americans and other expats of the day-- hemingway, ireland's joyce (who slept on a cot in the backroom as he pounded out his opus, ulysses), fitzgerald, et al.

she'd loan her books out to the impoverished writers she loved so much, but would sell 'em to the masses. when all the world mocked the amorality of ulysses and refused to publish it, she did. when it was banned in the US and other nations (never Canada) she spearheaded the campain to smuggle it into the ignorant nations. even hemingway would smuggle copies, trip after trip, under his coat over the ferries from ontario to the states.

no one loved writers more than sylvia beach. and writers loved her more than anyone, too. when the city was liberated in the second world war, hemingway personally killed all the nazis in the closed shop, which beach shut down instead of agreeing to sell books to nazis, when she was asked to do so one day early in the occupation.

there's a hotel now, in newport oregon, named the sylvia beach hotel, and it's perhaps the greatest place to be if you love books. and you can't afford to jaunt to paris to see the store. ;)