Chapter 4 (of 20) Shakespeare and Company
Chapter 1 (of 20), A Good Café on the Place St-Michael, will take you back in time to the story that began my French culinary experiences while reading A Moveable Feast, chapter by chapter. From there, each chapter will take you to the next chapter and culinary experience.
“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” Ernest Hemingway.
Chapter 4 (of 20) Shakespeare and Company accompanied by Escargots À L’alsacienne paired with Le Bouquet Rouge De Georges Duboeuf at La Petite Auberge, Islington.
Notes From Chapter 4: Shakespeare and Company
A WorkLife Book Club For One
Notes about the Long-Lasting Memories of Generosity and Kindness, Happiness and the Simple Things & Times in Life
“In those days there was no money to buy books. I borrowed books from the rental library Shakespeare and Company, which was the library and bookstore of Sylvia Beach at 12 rue de l’Odéon.”
“I was very shy when I first went into the bookshop and I did not have the money on me to join the library. She told me I could pay the deposit any time I had the money and made me out a card and said I could take as many books as I wished.”
“There was no reason for her to trust me. She did not know me and the address I had given her, 74 rue Cardinal Lemoine, could not have been a poorer one. But she was delightful and charming and welcoming and behind her, as high as the wall and stretching out into the back room which gave onto the inner court of the building, were shelves and shelves of the wealth of the library.”
“I told my wife about the wonderful place I had found.”
‘But Tatie, you must go by this afternoon and pay,’ she said.
‘Sure I will,’ I said. ‘We’ll both go. And then we’ll walk down by the river and along the quais.’
‘Let’s walk down the rue de Seine and look in all the galleries and in the windows of the shops.’
‘Sure. We can walk anywhere and we can stop at some new café where we don’t know anyone and nobody knows us and have a drink.’
‘We can have two drinks.’
‘Then we can eat somewhere’.
‘No. Don’t forget we have to pay the library.’
‘Does she have Henry James too?’
‘My,’ she said, ‘We’re lucky that you found the place.’
‘We’re always lucky,’ I said and like a fool I did not knock on wood. There was wood everywhere in that apartment to knock on too’.”
I love stories that remind me that the long-lasting memories that live on in our hearts and minds are often the memories of acts of generosity and kindness, happiness and the simple things and times in our lives.
A Moveable Feast was Hemingway’s memoir about his time in Paris. He wrote the book towards the end of his life and it was published posthumously. It has been said that he became increasingly anxious and depressed in his final years. I think of this book as a love letter to a time in his life when he was, perhaps, most happiest. And as he remembered the importance of those simple times and the simple things that contributed to his happiness, he also remembered the people who had shown him generosity and kindness.
This was a short, simple and yet, profound chapter.
As I sat to write this chapter, I was reminded of serendipitous happenings on the day I discovered La Petite Auberge – the French Restaurant where I read this chapter. I’ve written before about a practice I began some time ago, which I call #carmelinlondon exploring, discovering and capturing the beauty in everyday WorkLife. It’s a simple practice, similar to Hemingway’s daily practice of walking, exploring and discovering new places, people and experiences, which he then captured in words through his writing – I capture my happenings in words and photos, too, sometimes.
Anyway, as well as discovering the restaurant along my walk, I also discovered Charity shops along my route. I popped into the Crisis charity shop and picked up the book Shakespeare & Co. by Stanley Wells for a mere £4. I hadn’t looked ahead in Moveable Feast, so I didn’t know the next chapter I was to read at La Petite Auberge was to be … Shakespeare and Company.
Words of Wisdom
That’s the beauty of the life in and of books – they can be bought new or old, lent, borrowed or gifted. And that’s another beautiful part of life that contributes to long-lasting memories. For me, it’s a memory that connects to generosity and kindness – the people who share their books. Happiness, and the simple things and times in life – books have that simple, yet profound power to bind all these together.
Unlike previous times when I wasn’t sure when I’ll read the next chapter of A Moveable Feast over a glass and a plate. This time I know, because I read the next chapter over my main course and a glass of wine at La Petite Auberge
… Let’s see where A Moveable Feast the next chapter story is going to take me …
The Continuing Story …
… I can now share where Chapter 5 (of 20) People of the Seine story took me …
Today’s entrée, Escargots À L’alsacienne paired with a glass of Le Bouquet Rouge De Georges Duboeuf, was enjoyed at La Petite Auberge, Upper Street, Islington. Upper Street is the central thoroughfare of Islington, home to great restaurants and bars.
Se souvenir de toi, Norma.
#FunFact1. About Snails: Although, throughout history, the snail had little value in the kitchen because it was considered “poverty food”, in recent times it has been classified as a delicacy, thanks to the appreciation given to it by haute cuisine chefs. Although, long before that, Pope Pius V, who was an avid eater of snails, decided that they had to be considered as fish, in order to continue eating them during Lent, exclaiming: Estote pisces in aeternum! (‘you will be fish forever!’). While the origin of people eating snails seems to go back to Greece, today helicicculture (snail farming), occurs mainly in France, Italy and Spain, which are also the countries with the greatest culinary tradition of the snail. (Source Wikipedia).
#FunFact2. About Upper Street. Charles Dickens has been much quoted as describing Upper Street as ‘among the noisiest and most disagreeable thoroughfares in London’. It’s been said that “Charles Dickens applied his unique power of observation to the city in which he spent most of his life. He routinely walked the city streets,10 or 20 miles at a time, and his descriptions of nineteenth century London allow readers to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the old city.” (Source Charles Dickens Page). As a walker of the streets of London (10 miles a day), I smile and wonder if perhaps one day, my observations, musings and writings will allow readers in another century to experience London life of today – much has changed since the days of Dickens and nowadays Upper Street is home to some of the finest eating and drinking establishments in London – I have more to say on that – which I’ll save for another chapter of A WorkLife Book Club For One, over a plate and a glass.
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What is Self Directed Learning?
Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint.
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How To Pursue The Superpower of Happiness
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Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning. These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies. which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club.
That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers), it helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.