"A Bookshop of My Own"

 In looking at Sylvia Beach's memoir, I was particularly drawn to "A Bookshop of My Own." I had the opportunity to visit the current Shakespeare & Company store in Paris when I studied there this past summer, and I didn't know much about it before I walked in. I honestly had no idea how famous it was but I loved everything about it from the time I stepped inside because it was just overrun with books everywhere, squeezed into every nook and cranny. Even the staircase had books lining the wall. The one thing that struck me as odd, however, was the fact that I could not find a single book in French. Even though I was in the heart of Paris, everything was in English. I didn't really understand it but reading this memoir now makes more sense of that.

I particularly like "A Bookshop of My Own" because it shows how passionate Beach was about opening a bookshop and the notion of lending books instead of selling them in a shop setting is not something I am otherwise familiar with. This combined with the shop holding solely American works makes it quite different, I think. It's also amazing that it's lasted so long in Paris because in my experience, the French are very proud people who don't necessarily embrace American culture invading their own. It's also just interesting that this place was not quite a bookstore and not quite a library, but sort of a hybrid of the two in how I think of them.