Monday, May 24, 2010

A Store of One’s Own

Why not be somebody at your local bookshop

Did you know you used to be able to borrow books in bookstores? They had lending libraries in the store and you could rent a book, for not much. Hemingway used to do that at Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare and Company, an English language bookshop in Paris during that famous time of Gertrude Stein and Hemingway and James Joyce. Beach got known for publishing Ulysses in 1922 when big publishers, and even big countries, like ours, wouldn’t touch it. Ex-pat writers would pick up their mail there, cash a check. Sounds great, doesn’t it.

Well, you could have a bookstore here where they know your name. Just pick an independent bookshop near you or one somewhere in town that you really like, and start going in there often. Order books from them. Email an order to them. Call them. You live in New York, like Hemingway lived in Paris. Order books like he did. Hell, be like Hem. Fish the Amazon, don’t
order books from it.

Caption: An American in Paris. Sylvia Beach fashioned the store and life (I think) she wanted.

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