December 9, 2007 -- Sunday evening

Reading Shakespeare and Company, by Sylvia Beach, about Sylvia Beach's eponymous English language bookstore and lending library, which opened in 1919 and published the first edition of James Joyce's Uylysses....which left her in debt because later he went with another publisher.

The shop stayed open in tough times, helped along by generous donations and a popular, and exclusive paid-membership literary series, but finally had to close in 1941.

It is now open again as not just bookstore, but also museum and hostel. Passers through can work at the store for a couple of hours and stay (I think, this is what he said) for free. When he was in Paris last year, he stayed there and when he came across this book he had to read it.

Recently he read something by Martin Amis, an English novelist who writes comic, sarcastic fiction.

Something he recommends--though I have to say, he really felt uncomfortable picking just one book and he had to shout the title over the blare of his train approaching the platform-- Beneath the Underdog, by Charles Mingus, edited by Nel Kinh. It's the fictionalized autobiography of a jazz musician.