Sir Lancelot: Exploring the History Behind the Legend

There is no doubt that most of us, in our childhoods and later in life, heard all about the stories and legends of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. For many, the stories of Arthur and his exploits were the integral part of growing up, and they continue to be the central aspect of what is a quintessentially British identity. But today, we won’t be focusing on King Arthur. Instead, our story shifts to one of his closest companions – a knight equally dashing and brave, whose legend is the central part of the Arthurian legend: Sir Lancelot. Depicted as one of the most gallant and brave of all the  Knights of the Round Table , Lancelot of the Lake is considered the epitome of that traditional, chivalric  romance that served as an inspiration and an ideal to many over the centuries. Continue reading “Sir Lancelot: Exploring the History Behind the Legend”

January 30: Remembering Richard Brautigan on his birthday

BY 

He was a meteor.

He was an author of such works as Trout Fishing in AmericaIn Watermelon Sugar and The Hawkline Monster, wedged between the Beat Generation and the hippie movement. He showered readers of the 1960s and ’70s with inspiring spare, proletarian ideals in his novels.

He was a poet who foreshadowed the vise-like, smothering grip that technology has over us today in the poem “All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace.”

He was, as biographer and admirer William Hjortsberg noted in Jubilee Hitchhiker, a writer who combined an “easy offhand voice” with “concern for average working-class people, his matter-of-fact treatment of death, and his often-startling juxtaposition of wildly disparate images.”   

Then he was gone. Continue reading “January 30: Remembering Richard Brautigan on his birthday”

My favorite French books of 2020

I LOVE to read. It’s a very big part of my life, and I use books to help me better understand the modern world that we live in. So far in 2020, I’ve read around 98 books (not including the stories I’ve read to my son 50+ times ;)!) I know that there are some bookworms in my community, so I thought I would share some of my favorite French books with you today. Whether you enjoy fiction or nonfiction, chick-lit or more serious subjects, I’ve got a recommendation for you! Enjoy 🙂
Take care and stay safe.

Comme une Française

😘 from Grenoble, France. Géraldine

One of the Most Iconic Bookstores in the World Is in Trouble—but You Can Help

Shakespeare and Company has weathered many storms, but the pandemic has been the most devastating of them all.

For over a century the legendary bookstore Shakespeare and Company has beamed out from the Left Bank of Paris like a lighthouse of literature.

The former 16th-century monastery on Rue de la Bûcherie, and its previous site not far away at 12 Rue de l’Odéon, has been a home away from home for the Lost Generation in the 1920s and the Beatnik generation in the 1950s, a publisher and reading resource for the likes of James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway, and shelter for the estimated 30,000 “tumbleweeds”—young writers and enthusiasts allowed to stay for free—over the years.

But the economic disaster wrought by the coronavirus pandemic has hit independent bookstores in France, including this timeless Anglophone institution, hard. Deemed “non-essential” by the government even during the country’s second lockdown, they were forced to close to in-person customers, while commerce for online behemoths like Amazon has soared. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo herself warned city-goers: “Don’t buy on Amazon. Amazon is the death of our bookshops and our neighborhood life.”

Continue reading “One of the Most Iconic Bookstores in the World Is in Trouble—but You Can Help”

Iconic Paris bookshop asks for help amid virus losses

Shakespeare & Co., the iconic Paris bookstore that published James Joyce’s “Ulysses” in 1922, is appealing to readers for support after pandemic-linked losses and France’s spring coronavirus lockdown put the future of the Left Bank institution in doubt.

The English-language bookshop on the Seine River sent an email to customers last week to inform them that it was facing “hard times” and to encourage them to buy a book. Paris entered a fresh lockdown on Oct. 30 that saw all non-essential stores shuttered for the second time in seven months.

“We’ve been [down] 80% since the first confinement in March, so at this point we’ve used all our savings,” Sylvia Whitman, daughter of the late proprietor George Whitman, said.

Since sending the email appeal, Whitman says she has been “overwhelmed” by the offers of help Shakespeare & Co. has received. There have been a record 5,000 online orders in one week, compared with around 100 in a normal week — representing a 50-fold increase. Continue reading “Iconic Paris bookshop asks for help amid virus losses”