Thursday, December 18, 2014

Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs by Jeremy Mercer

What am I supposed to feel about this book??

Shakespeare and Co. is a really famous bookshop that even I've heard of. So of course any look into how the bookshop is run would interest me. But, it didn't really talk about anything but the inhabitants of the bookshop, and that's the part that I'm not sure I like.

Shakespeare and Co. is an unconventional bookshop in Paris. The owner's a communist, and he lets any writer sleep in the bookshop for free. As long as, you know, they help out. The author Jeremy Mercer arrives to Paris after being threatened for breaking a promise he made with a criminal. In an effort to save money, he ends up living at Shakespeare and Co., and rediscovers his dream to be a writer.

Except, not much writing seem to take place. Sure, he's required to read a book a day, and he mentions writing a few times, but the impression I have is that reading and writing take a backseat to the true stars - the eccentric characters living in the bookshop - Kurt, Nadia, Simon, George (the owner) and many others.

In fact, the cast was so 'interesting' that it drowned out everything. If I didn't know the book was set in Paris, I could easily imagine it set in a commune somewhere. The people in the book are talked about more for their eccentricities than for their writing. Whether you like this bunch depends not on whether you like their writing (because you don't see much of it), but whether you like their characters.

All in all, this was an amusing book. If you like the characters, you'll probably like it. If you want to read about a bookshop, you may be disappointed.

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