Shakespeare and Company, Paris: A History of the Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart - Krista Halverson
Ten years after Sylvia Beach had to close her legendary Paris bookshop, another American ex-patriate, George Whitman, opened Le Librairie Mistral in a tumble-down 16th-century building on the rue de la Bûcherie. When Beach passed away in 1964, he renamed his “socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore” in her honor. Now run by his daughter and celebrating its 65th anniversary, the place has hosted tens of thousands of writers and, since these literary guests—aka Tumbleweeds—were welcome to stay indefinitely if they did a few hours of work for the store, read a book a day, and left a note, has almost as many stories to tell. Shakespeare and Company, Paris (DAP, $34.95) tells these stories decade by decade in rich collages of photos, poems, letters, and more. A book made for browsing, this volume recounts the store’s own life and times as well as inaugurating its new English-language publishing venture, headed by Krista Halverson. A former managing editor of Zoetrope: All-Story, Halverson guided the magazine’s art direction and worked with guest designers, experience she’s put to excellent use as editor of this sumptuous album of pictures and spirited anthology of testimonials left by writers ranging from James Baldwin to Ray Bradbury, Allen Ginsberg to A.M. Homes.