It was an age I wanted to read this book by Jorge Carrion
Intelligent, brilliant, this book is for whoever is in love, badly in love for books and has the desire of exploring the complicated, monumental, wonderful world of the most important, old, fantastic bookshops located in the entire world.
It's a trip this one that will touch a lot of lands, the entire Globe. The author will visit, explore and first of all will live for us the most remarkable bookshops in the world.
The book starts with several essays written by various authors, Sweig but also the italian Luigi Pirandello, about the importance of reading, taking in consideration some protagonists in love for reading. Reading is wonderful. My dream is that culture as also in Northern European Countries soon or late won't be a story just for the so-called "elite" but of masses and that ignorance would be replaced by desire of knowledge.
Bookshops are dramatically important for readers; they create a special place where to staying, where to create connections, new friends, and where reading or choosing the books we want to read or buying in complete peace. I don't know you but, personally, when I choose books, this process can take hours.
A favorite bookshop to my point of view is chosen by a reader because of political common views, because dreaming, because there we find that relaxation impossible to find somewhere else, because we can call that place home and we know that we will be always welcomed and no one will count the minutes we will stay there but they will ask us of staying, letting us appreciate the place.
Freedom. Words are this. Freedom from the scheme of our daily routine, freedom from our daily dues; reading a book we can fly away from the place we live in, seeing and visualizing other worlds, times, people, places, events. And it's life and you are living that life, because you are imagining it. So, this process of imagination is life,dreams, possibility, relaxation, hope, creation.
History of books, and of the first important library of Alexander of Egypt, still felt and lived of course as a horrible loss for knowledge is fascinating.
Italian bookshops have made the difference with the arrival of eminent italians, Americans authors; in Paris we have seen the arrival of two Shakespeare and Companies, with two charismatic owners: Sylvia Beach and George Whitman.
Let's return to Paris, do you want, my reader?
Let's speak of that historical moment, opened by two books that made the difference because in part prohibited: Les FLeurs du Mal and Madame Bovary. We are in the mid 1800 but these two books meant a moment of fracture with the past. There was innovation, there was desire of expressing in strong ways new messages through the powerful message of words.
Later, the expatriates in Paris at the beginning of 1900s understood something crucial: that maybe it was better to self-protect themselves, their creativity and the work that they were creating, but not only. They refused of following what was trendy in the literary market of the USA; they were searching for escapism and they were following originality; writers but also journalists loved to develop new messages with incredible creativity and fertility and thanks to the desire of coming out with something new in the mind. They promoted themselves.
Sylvia Beach fell "literary in love" for James Joyce launching this author in the Olymp of literature with the Ulysses. No one will be upset I hope, if I write that if James Joyce is so famous, is thank to her. Sylvia Beach encouraged, helped reporters as Ernest Hemingway and other ones at becoming great names in literature. George Whitman won't forget the model built by Sylvia Beach and will create a fairy-tale of bookshop where people, wagons during the decades slept there, helped George in the store, helping him to create this amazing reality, an utopistic world in the real sense of the world, that became reality because happily wanted by the owner. Whitman lived with these two mottos "Give what you can, keep what you need" and "Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise." Whitman trusted people, strangers, everyone, donating them the possibility of becoming different people, exploring the world of books, reading, writing, working in a field they loved so badly. Maybe sometimes these people were partially starved, but not of knowledge, abundant in Shakespare and Company. Not everyone maybe but most of these tumbleweeds became great, good writers.
Sometimes when I think at these two people, Sylvia Beach and George Whitman I think at the importance that Shakespeare and Company and their existences meant for many creatives and what would have happened if the creatives in the early 1920s or later would have been surrounded by a selfish Sylvia Beach.
The course of history would have been completely different.
The book explores the oldest bookshops existing in the worls, including one located in Cambridge.
When books became a real business? It happened with the Victorian age, with Sir Walter Scott and Charles Dickens in particular. We will see which chains are monopolizing the market in the various areas of the world not forgetting Oceania.
It's not important where you will pick up your next books, it is important that you find a magical place in great of giving to you comfort, hope, relaxation, calm.
I warmly suggest you this book, because informative, but at the same time a narration in grade of transporting you with warm everywhere. The homage at numerous italian bookshops is wonderful, like also at numerous italian authors. I didn't know these italian realities, but it will be for sure a pleasure to look at them more closely.
Anna Maria Polidori