The Paris Bookseller

If you are looking for something inspirational to read (about females & written by a female) in honour of International Women’s Day, then look no further than The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher.

Author Kerri Maher writes a beautiful tribute to the remarkable Sylvia Beach, the owner of Shakespeare and Company – an English language bookstore and lending library in Paris, France. It’s not just a story about a book store, it’s a story about Paris in the 1920s. It’s a love story. It’s a story about friendships. It’s about the fight and determination in publishing Ulysess. It’s about literary giants, like James Joyce, Ezra Pound and Ernest Hemingway. More importantly, it’s a story about some absolutely incredible women & feminist activists, like Sylvia Beach, Adrienne Monnier, Gisèle Freund, and Simone de Beauvoir.

The inner liner reads “the dramatic story of how a humble bookseller fought against incredible odds to bring one of the most important books of the twentieth century to the world.”

This book is especially important to me and my family history because my paternal Grandmother, Margaret Hope Newitt worked at the famed Shakespeare and Company bookstore for none other than Sylvia Beach in the 1930s. In fact, that’s her in the below picture on the left, with her nose in a book, standing beside her then female boss, Miss Beach!

I was hoping that the book would cover that time span so that I could get more of a picture of the kind of life she lived there in Paris. The timeline of the book is from 1917 to 1936. Sadly for me, right before my Grandma started her stint in Paris. C’est la vie. I’m still glad for reading this if only to get a better idea of the kind of woman Miss Beach was, her inspirational story, her struggles and the people with whom she shared her incredible life.

If you’re interested to read about how I came to find out that my Grandmother worked at Shakespeare and Company, you can read my previous post here.

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