photo from here
Today my sister and my father arrived in Paris from the US! We're just missing my mum, and then we'll all be here... I can't wait! But after we had unpacked and designated rooms and the like, my siblings and I headed out to the 5th to Shakespeare And Co, which is actually my favourite bookstore in the world.
It's not just that it's English books in France, or that the place is, you know, named after the bard, or even the stories about the owners letting travelers stay the night for free. It's not about the little ladders or the well in the middle of the floor. It's that the entire place is jammed full of books. They're shoved into the windowsill and under the stairs, stacked every which way in old cabinets that look like they used to hold China. They look as if they're in danger of collapsing onto your head if you pull the wrong one out.
The last time I went there, I found a copy of Rudyard Kipling's "Just So Stories" from the 1940s and a couple of ancient, tattered volumes on long-gone religious sects. There are shiny new paperback books and cookbooks with glossy photos and the well-loved used books that inhabit the rafters and live on stacks on the floor. It is friendly and bookish beyond belief, and that is why I love it. Unfortunately, we couldn't stay as long as I would have liked (you know, long enough to find a quiet corner and read Infinite Jest), but I'm pretty sure we'll be back.