Vanity Fair Magazine has a great article on what might be the greatest book store in the world. I can’t say for sure–I’ve been to City Lights in San Francisco, Powell’s in Portland, and Rizzoli in New York City, but I’ve never been to Paris. I’m a book fetishist at heart–as fond of old volumes for their texture and scent as I am for what might be in them, and an absolute fiend for vintage pulp sci-fi paperback cover art. We have something like 10,000 books in our house, most of them on shelves but quite a few in boxes, waiting for their shot at daylight. Shakespeare’s gleams in the foggy distance like a beacon, a warm hearth in the murk. Someday….
Of course, Shakespeare’s is and was much more than a bookstore–think of it as an oasis for aspiring writers, heavily laden with a memories of Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and their beat brethren as well as earlier, even brighter luminaries like Hemingway, Pound, Fitzgerald, Stein and Eliot in their day–and a host of others before, betwixt, and after them.
Rather than reinterpret what has been said so well elsewhere, I’ve collected some links and photos of Shakespeare and Company, its owner, its history, and its place in the world as a literary mecca. I encourage you to indulge.