Having a favorite author sitting a few feet away from you is sort of awe-inspiring. I stared at the delicate features of 74-year old Dame Drabble (she was awarded Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2008) and felt admiration for the literary works she has produced over her lifetime. I was in the much-loved Parisian bookshop, Shakespeare and Co., to listen to her read from her new book, The Pure Gold Baby.
I spent my adolescent and early adult years reading Margaret Drabble and Iris Murdoch. Their novels were on my mother’s bookshelf. I read what my mother read.
For those who don’t know, her sister is A.S. Byatt. I highly recommend Byatt’s novel, Possession, for which she won the Booker Prize.
Book-lovers should visit Shakespeare and Co. It’s a snug, cozy place packed to the rafters with books.
“Established in 1951 by George Whitman, this atmospheric book store is a must-see. Near Notre Dame cathedral and just across the Seine, this book store is the epic centre of Anglo-Saxon life in Paris. Packed on three floors you’ll find English books literally everywhere. Even the stove is supported by piles of old National Geographics. The whole place breathes the atmosphere of more than half a century of a legendary literary and cultural oasis of English language in the heart of Paris. The bookstore spreads on three levels and is crammed with books on almost any subject imaginable. The top floor still serves as a writers room and an open library to all visitors.”