Shakespeare And Company – Surviving And Thriving

Elizabeth Harper - Shakespeare And Company - 2010

Some of you may be thinking,” What does the famous Shakespeare And Company bookstore in Paris have to do with Surviving And Thriving? ” Aside from the obvious fact that American George Whitman’s bookstore has survived and thrived since he established it in 1951 across from Notre Dame, today’s post has to do with the ways in which we may unknowingly affect others in the blogging community.

I can’t remember if I visited this bookstore the first time I came to Paris in 1980, but I do have a photograph of myself standing in front of it in 2000 and again in 2009. While it may seem pretty touristy to have your picture taken in front of such a well-known shop, it has become a bit of a tradition for me now to stop by George Whitman’s eclectic bookstore to see what’s happening.

It’s funny how people pop into your mind when going through your day and when I mentioned to Donna Freedman in an email recently that I thought of her during my trip to Paris last month and she could not imagine how or why Paris might have triggered a thought about her. It makes perfect sense to me as I am sure it will you once I share a few things about the day.

You may remember that I have mentioned Donna in the past. She writes a great deal about living frugally and makes it sound almost like a game to enjoy versus anything close to deprivation. While strolling in and out of various places in Paris, there were endless opportunities to open my wallet and spend on things I did not need. I found myself having conversations in my head that generally went something like, ” Oh, isn’t that just the cutest thing, maybe I should get it to help remember my trip to Paris.”

Never mind that I had already accumulated about 3,000 photographs of Paris to help trigger my memory, while walking through Shakespeare And Company I decided ever so briefly that I needed another canvas tote. How many of these bags I currently have did not even matter when I discovered the cool bag in the photo below. I went back and forth, buy it – don’t by it … until finally I thought about what would Donna do and I put it back.

Bag Design By Badaude And Image From Her Site

It was a lovely bag by Badaude and I would have snatched it up in a hurry if I did not already own more bags than I have use for, but that did not stop me from considering several books just as I always do. I was on the verge of another purchase when I picked up the book below. (The full image is in the first photograph)

It’s Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich and finding it reminded me of how many in the US are struggling just to get by and how the scarcity of jobs has many people working for far less than they would have considered in the past. That thought led me to frugality, which once again made me think of Donna Freedman and even though she didn’t write this book, I still said to my sister, ” Take my picture for Donna.”

Earlier this morning I finished reading a piece she wrote for Get Rich Slowly that has tons of information and tips for both the underemployed and the unemployed. Donna writes regularly at MSN Money as well and has her own site that I mentioned in the title above. She also has a contest every week over at her blog home, Surviving And Thriving and even though I have not won anything yet, I feel like I take something away with me every time I stop by to see what she has to say.

So there it is, a message about how Donna Freedman inspired a thought and photograph in front of a famous bookstore, in the shadow of Notre Dame. It could be you next time.

6 thoughts on “Shakespeare And Company – Surviving And Thriving

  1. Good heavens! I’m touched beyond measure that you were thinking of ME when you were in Paris!
    I’m with you on the idea of thinking and re-thinking a purchase. I run purchases through a mental filter: Do I really need it? If I do, is there a way I could get it cheaper (or free)? Do I already have something that would suffice? How often would I use it? Where would I put it?
    Certain things get the go-ahead. Others get put back.
    And your post reminded me of another way to get around buying something: Take a picture of it! For example, I wouldn’t need a watercolor study of the Eiffel Tower at night if I’d taken a photo of it — I could either choose to print it and frame it, or just look at it now and then to trigger memories.

  2. Very nice thought provoking post. I, too, buy less and less on vacations. The photos are the best souvineers, and when they are digital, they take up no space.

    What is the significance of this famous book store? I’d love to know it’s history.

  3. This is a wonderful post! I’m going to check out some of the links you mentioned. Since Mom and I moved to Evergreen, Colorado and I’ve still been without a job, we’ve learned how to be frugal in many ways. Ironically, rather than feeling deprived, we feel like our quality of life has improved!

  4. I agree with Suzanne. I went to eh usa for 3 weeks and 5 months later was still there with walking boots, trainers and a pair of sandals, 2 pr tousers, 1 pr shots, a ew t shirs t and me underwear…I bought a few more T shirts and some more underwear, and by and large didn’t miss a thing. Gee it was an eye opener. I dreaded coming back, to have to go through the exercise you speak of in your last post, and let go of stuff some of which still has the tags in ’em…and don’t fit! Managed to have a business meeting with the NPS while Stateside, wore the hilking boots and fit right in!! We are all so silly to be so acquisitive, and not having all this stuff is indeed a good thing. I think it frees us up more to meet ourselves. I have wondered if that is what I am afraid of, and that is why I acquire in such a self defeating way.

  5. What a beautiful bookstore. I hate the way most of the charming, independent book stores have been wiped away by the mega-stores. We have a lovely little place where I live called the Book Loft and I try to support it as much as I can.

    Great post. Full of interesting links. I’m off to explore some!

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