Bibliophile

When I was in primary school, I used to  save up my pocket money to buy  Chinese magazines for kids. I still remember the time when my mother brought me to the bookstores to shop for a prize for me and we settled for a book that comprised of picture tales about mothers of Confucius and Mencius. I wish I still had that book. Maybe it is somewhere in my possessions. Whenever I travel, I love to visit bookstores. If and when I have a chance to be in Paris again, the Shakespeare and Company bookstore is one of the places that I would like to visit.  The last time I was in Paris, I passed by the place and did not enter the bookshop. The original shop was opened by Sylvia Beach and it doubled as a library, publisher and boarding house for aspiring writers and it was closed during World War II.  George Whitman who passed away in December 2011 at age 98 had opened a bookshop called Le Mistral.  In 1964 he renamed and modelled his store after Beach’s legacy and his  daughter who was named after Beach runs things till today. Books, Baguettes & Bedbugs  is  an interesting memoir by Jeremy Mercer who used to be a crime reporter in Canada. Mercer ; when he became overwhelmed by his work life where he had seen too many crime scenes and crossed  too many moral lines, a threat finally prompted him to quit his job, packed his bag and got on a plane for Paris and left his old life behind . It was the end of 1999 where the world was placed on alert about the Y2K computer bug while celebrations were under way for the new  millennium, Mercer decided to fulfil his missing credit by doing the French language course which he was to required to complete his final year at the university. The author chanced upon the bohemian and dream like world of “Shakespeare and Company” and  in his memoir, he recounts his time staying at the bookstore and meeting aspiring writers whom  George Whitman had sheltered at the bookshop. The bookstore sits on the very left edge of the left Bank in Paris at Premises No. 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, France.

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