Karl Ove Knausgaard

Hello, friends. I have nothing much to report right now, so I’m going to reprint a favorite post from last year. January is slow, slow, slow (and gray, gray, gray) – although I am meeting up with friends tomorrow to view a calligraphy exhibition …

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Tonight I witnessed a blatant display of hero worship directed towards Norwegian literary sensation, Karl Ove Knausgaard. And I shamelessly admit that I was one of the disciples. Well, sort of. When I learned that he was giving a reading tonight at the English-language bookshop, Shakespeare and Company, I jumped on the metro and headed over. The crowd was large.

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The gatekeepers at the door (below) told me it was standing room only. Seeing as it was only 6:20 pm and Knausgard wouldn’t be appearing until 7, I chose to wait outside. I’m too restless to stand in a crowd for 40 minutes. I must say that the staff at Shakespeare and Company are very professional and courteous. It’s an old, atmospheric, cozy bookstore oozing with history … and books!  Everyone was reading, it was great to see.

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Chairs and an audio system had been set up outside.

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With 40 minutes to kill, I walked around the block and took some photographs. When I came back to the bookstore it was 7 pm. We waited and waited, and then at 7:20 pm I looked up and saw our literary hero standing at the window on the second floor. He was smoking and talking with someone. Knausgard is a chain-smoker and, evidently, not a punctual man. He seemed oblivious to the crowd below.

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He finally came down to begin reading from his newest, yet-to-be-published book. Here he is, blurry, in the background. The outdoor crowd sat motionless while listening to his voice over the speaker system.

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I felt like I had stumbled across a cult gathering or a group of followers devoted to a preacher, a prophet or spiritual leader. Or a Norse mythic hero.

Later, as I walked back to the metro station, I thought to myself – Geez, is it any wonder we need heros today more than ever?

I recommend these articles that I really enjoyed. They’re called Passage through America

Karl Ove Knausgaard

IMG_7358

Tonight I witnessed a blatant display of hero worship directed towards Norwegian literary sensation, Karl Ove Knausgaard. And I shamelessly admit that I was one of the disciples. Well, sort of. When I learned that he was giving a reading tonight at the English-language bookshop, Shakespeare and Company, I jumped on the metro after work and headed over. The crowd was large.

IMG_7353IMG_7407IMG_7404

The gatekeepers at the door (below) told me it was standing room only. Seeing as how it was only 6:20 pm and Knausgard wouldn’t be appearing until 7, I chose to wait outside. I’m too restless to stand in a crowd for 40 minutes. I must say that the staff at Shakespeare and Company are very professional and courteous. It’s an old, atmospheric, cozy bookstore oozing with history … and books!  Everyone was reading, it was great to see.

IMG_7361IMG_7359IMG_7362

Chairs and an audio system had been set up outside.

IMG_7364

With 40 minutes to kill, I walked around the block and took some photographs. When I came back to the bookstore it was 7 pm. We waited and waited, and then at 7:10 pm I looked up and saw our literary hero standing at the window on the second floor. He was smoking and talking with someone. Knausgard is a chain-smoker and, evidently, not a punctual man. He seemed to be oblivious to the crowd below.

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Impatient now, I felt like standing under the window and shouting up “Hey! We’ve been waiting for you for hours … it’s time to come down now.”

And finally he did come down to begin reading from his newest, yet-to-be-published book. Here he is, blurry, in the background. The outdoor crowd stood motionless while listening to his voice over the speaker system.

IMG_7416IMG_7413IMG_7420

I felt like I had stumbled across a cult gathering or a group of followers devoted to a preacher, a prophet or spiritual leader. Or a Norse mythic hero.

As I walked back to the metro station, I thought to myself – Is it any wonder we need our heros today more than ever?

I recommend these articles that I really enjoyed. They’re called Passage through America

Margaret Drabble at Shakespeare and Co. bookstore

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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.”

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