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Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at…

Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co. (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Jeremy Mercer

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7081813,345 (3.71)67
Title:Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.
Authors:Jeremy Mercer
Info:Picador (2006), Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:non-fiction, books on books, France

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Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co. by Jeremy Mercer (2005)

  1. 00
    Shakespeare and Company by Sylvia Beach (sneuper)
    sneuper: Books about the bookstore Shakespeare and Company in Paris

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English (17)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (18)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Mercer spent several years as a newspaper crime reporter in his native Canada, wrote a couple of true-crime books, dodged a drug charge, fell into alcoholism and finally skipped town after angering the wrong guy. He was truly burnt-out from daily facing the worst of humanity but also feared for his life. Landing in Paris, he discovered the generous and erratic George Whitman, owner of the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore, who allowed destitute traveling writers to sleep in his store and help out with running the place. Whitman regularly provided meals and the writers, often young Bohemians, looked up to him as a mentor, though Whitman's many quirks seem to make it impossible for anyone to really get close to him.
Mercer describes how upon accepting his request to stay in the store, Whitman also told him he was responsible for evicting an old poet who had lived in the store for five years. The book tells how the many impoverished guests get by on very little or no money, learning how to pass themselves off as students for cheap meals, scavenging for thrown out food, using a cafe restroom to wash. Though he includes the confrontations and filth, the title of the book comes from Mercer's description of prison "hard time" as being the most difficult, while the time he spent at S&C as being as soft as it could be. ( )
  mstrust | Nov 27, 2012 |
I really, really liked this book. I enjoyed Paris through the eyes of the writer. I enjoyed meeting the characters that lived in Shakespeare and Co book store. I loved the owner George. I made me want to relive my youth and go and spend time living in the Paris bookstore..... ( )
  Smits | Nov 6, 2011 |
An enjoyable read, showing an insider's look at one of the World's most famous book shops. I'd love to go there one day, but now just knowing a little about George the owner, and some of the shop's history, the shop has come to be more alive for me. What a wonderful idealistic thing to do, allow complete strangers to come and live, sometimes for months at a time in your book shop, beds just scattered amongst the book shelves! ( )
  Fliss88 | Mar 26, 2011 |
If you love books this is a great store about a very interesting and historically significant bookstore. ( )
1 vote zmagic69 | Mar 13, 2011 |
Time Was Soft There: a Memoir a Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co. Jeremy Mercer. 2005. What a difference a decade or so makes! Had I read this in my 20s I’d have been ready to catch the next flight to Paris! The author, a Canadian newspaper reporter who fled Canada because of a possible threat on his life ends up staying at the famous Shakespeare & Company in the 2000s. As always, I love reading about Paris especially parts I am familiar with. Our hotel on the Rue des Carmes was a just a few blocks from the bookstore and we passed it many, many times and stopped by more than once. Whitman held forth as he did in the book and there were always plenty of young people around. They shopped at “our” market at Place Maubert and whiled away time sitting in the nearby park, one of our favorite places to look at Notre Dame so the book was a little homecoming present and interesting to me because of that. But these people were NOT the writers of Hemmingway’s Moveable Feast, and I am not sure that the book would be interest to a lot of people. ( )
1 vote judithrs | Apr 19, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Tender, disenchanted, self-castigating and bittersweet, Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs is a book that is consistently surprising.
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It was a gray winter Sunday when I came to the bookstore.
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The title is Time Was Soft There in North America, Books, Baguettes & Bedbugs in England.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312347405, Paperback)

Wandering through Paris's Left Bank one day, poor and unemployed, Canadian reporter Jeremy Mercer ducked into a little bookstore called Shakespeare & Co. Mercer bought a book, and the staff invited him up for tea. Within weeks, he was living above the store, working for the proprietor, George Whitman, patron saint of the city's down-and-out writers, and immersing himself in the love affairs and low-down watering holes of the shop's makeshift staff. Time Was Soft There is the story of a journey down a literary rabbit hole in the shadow of Notre Dame, to a place where a hidden bohemia still thrives.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:42 -0400)

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"With gangsters on his tail and his meager savings in hand, crime reporter Jeremy Mercer fled Canada in 1999 and ended up in Paris. Broke and almost homeless, he found himself invited to a tea party among the riffraff of the timeless Left Bank fantasy known as Shakespeare & Co. In its present incarnation, Shakespeare & Co. has become a destination for writers and readers the world over, trying to reclaim the lost world of literary Paris in the 1920s. Having been inspired by Sylvia Beach's original store, the present owner, George Whitman, invites writers who are down and out in Paris to live and dream amid the bookshelves in return for work. Jeremy Mercer tumbled into this literary rabbit hole, found a life of camaraderie with the other eccentric residents, and became, for a time, George Whitman's confidant and right-hand man." "Time Was Soft There is one of the stories of bohemian Paris and recalls the work of many writers who were bewitched by the City of Light in their youth. Jeremy's comrades include Simon, the eccentric British poet who refuses to give up his bed in the antiquarian book room, beautiful blonde Pia, who contributes the elegant spirit of Parisian couture to the store, the handsome American Kurt, who flirts with beautiful women looking for copies of Tropic of Cancer, and George himself, the man who holds the key to it all. As Time Was Soft There winds in and around the streets of Paris, the staff fall in and out of love, straighten bookshelves, host tea parties, drink in the more down-at-the-heels cafes, sell a few books, and help George find a way to keep his endangered bookstore open. Spend a few days with Jeremy Mercer at 37 rue de la Bucherie, and discover the bohemian world of Paris that still bustles in the shadow of Notre Dame."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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