Category Archives: Paris

Right at Home in a Bookshop

So many places to go…so little time! If you’ve visited my blog or Facebook page, then you probably know that I love to travel. But I also love to take a bit of home with me along in my suitcase. And a bit of home to me consists of BOOKS! Of course I love books and my home is full of them. Way too many books to fit on my bookshelves. So when I travel, I carefully choose two or three…or five books to take with me. Yes, I also have the requisite e-reader, but I still love books. Actual books with pages and covers. Besides, if I’m flying anywhere, I have to have a book for the beginning and end of the flight when the airline makes you turn off all electrical devices.

Anywhere I travel, I have to also buy books. I know, I have a serious problem. Is there a rehab place for bookaholics? I usually buy books about a location or if I visit a art museum then I might need (yes, need) a book about all the wonderful art.

There is something about traveling and finding a bookshop, that makes me feel suddenly right at home. This summer when we visited Paris, I was anxious to visit the famous Shakespeare & Co. bookshop.

This bookshop has quite a history in Paris. It sits on the Left Bank. The original shop was opened by Sylvia Beach in the 1920s and was frequented by luminary writers such as Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, and James Joyce. It closed during the Nazi occupation in 1940. However, a second shop was opened in the 1950s and renamed Shakespeare & Co. in tribute to Sylvia Beach.

The day we visited it was raining and crowded but oh it was so much fun to be there with so many books, which are really old friends. Most of the books are in English, and the shelves are crammed full of so many titles. Tables with new releases made me sigh with longing. Tables with classics made me smile with pleasure. Upstairs, someone played the piano. This typewriter sat in front of a window.

When you buy a book at Shakespeare & Co., they will stamp the inside cover of your book with a lovely stamp. It makes a nice souvenir. Of course, we bought several.

What is your favorite bookshop to visit, far or near? Do you travel with books or with an e-reader?

What I did on my Summer Vacation

Did you ever have to write an essay in school about your summer vacation? Worse, did you ever have nothing extraordinary to share? Of course, I have fond memories of family vacations, riding in a station wagon to Arkansas, an RV to Washington D.C., and a caravan of two Winnebagos to Colorado (which was my favorite!). I remember one vacation when we drove to the coast during Spring Break. We were driving an RV and hauling a boat. I don’t know why this happened but apparently we ran out of gas and my dad had to siphon gas out of the boat and put it in the RV. He simply used a tube and sucked on it. He turned a little green and the stubble of his beard turned white. LOL! I have such fond memories of finding sand dollars on the beach and traipsing through majestic pines. But you never knew what crazy things might happen.

Which is true of my own family’s vacations. When we went to the Big Island of Hawaii a few years ago.

The last morning as we were packing our suitcases and about to head to the airport, the island experienced an earthquake. Airports were shut down. Power was off on the main island. And we were stuck. How horrible, right? But oh, I remember swimming with the turtles and the taste of fresh pineapple. Bliss.

Then there was our trip to London a couple of years ago. London is one of my favorite places in the world! I’ve been blessed to go three times now (and hope to go again!).

We were in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and my dear daughter was called down because she got too close to a statue. She simply wanted to see what the ‘girl in marble’ was reading on her scroll. Thankfully, we were then shown several interesting bits and pieces. While this lovely man with a delightful British accent explained some amazing history to us, I saw a girl that looked like someone we knew. I whispered to my daughter, “That looks like…” And when the girl heard her name, she turned around. It was our friend! We both happened to be in the same gallery in the same museum so far away from our homes at the same time. What a small world! The funny part was that I then tried to explain to the museum guy that the young teens knew each other and had been orphans together. I’m sure he thought that was odd. What I really meant was that they were in the production of Annie together. LOL!

Through writing, I’ve been blessed to take my kids several places on research trips or to writing conferences. My daughter and I went to New York together, and were able to see a couple of Broadway shows.

We had a marvelous time eating barbecue throughout Memphis when I researched Elvis Takes a Back Seat.

When we visited Marfa, Texas for Once in a Blue Moon, we arrived at the same time as the annual Marfa Lights Festival and my kids got to ride the ‘bull’ on the town square.

In Scotland, we chased Princess Anne through Edinburgh. Not really. But we kept running into her.

I can’t seem to stop remembering now that I have gotten started down this happy trail. So many happy times. So many sweet memories. So many adventures. What stories will I have to tell when we get back from Paris? Au revoir! If you’re my ‘friend’ on Facebook then you know some of the craziness that happened in France, but I’ll share here soon.

By the way, this picture was taken by my fabulous travel agent, Caron Guillo.

Leave a comment about your favorite place to travel, and I’ll draw a winner next Monday (June 17th)! The winner will receive one of my books mentioned in this post!