Friday, November 7, 2008

Fantastic Bookshops

I've always been fascinated with the Shakespeare and Co bookshop in Paris, owned by a grumpy and highly eccentric American man, George Whitman, who offers makeshift beds to travellers that serve as tables for books during the day while they pay for their board by working in the shop.
Whitman bought the bookshop in 1951 for $500 and has played host to Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Now Whitman is in his twilight years the shop is run by his daughter, Sylvia Beach Whitman, who is named after the original owner of the shop.
What I love most is the resemblance to Black Books which is a fantastic British comedy about a bitter bookshop owner, Bernard Black, and his dusty, peculiar shop. After watching the documentary I've posted below I have become even more convinced that George Whitman was the inspiration for Bernard Black!

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
And have a look at Shakespeare and Co's website.
PS. A house that looks as though it is made entirely of books!

1 comment:

Ali said...

aww, I love bernard! I didn't make it to Shakespeare & Co, so sad... I wanted to especially after seeing Before Sunset!
There is actually a second hand bookstore in Prague called Shakespeare & Co, and it is lovely! just two small rooms, one with a piano, some chairs and a liquor cabinet, the other full of books. I love secondhand bookstores very muchly...