Two Famous Bookstores Celebrate Anniversaries

by Staff

Two of the world's most famous bookstores are celebrating fifty years of business in June.

City Lights Bookstore, founded in San Francisco by Peter D. Martin and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, is an icon of literary culture in the city. To celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, organizers are planning a month-long schedule of events, including readings by Andrei Codrescu, Diane DiPrima, and Michael McClure.

Across the Atlantic Ocean—5,580 miles east of San Francisco—Shakespeare and Company in Paris is also celebrating a half century of selling books. Although the original bookstore was opened in 1921 by Sylvia Beach (and closed twenty years later when Paris was under Nazi occupation), the anniversary marks the opening of a bookstore by George Whitman, a bibliophile from New England who, with Beach's permission, renamed it Shakespeare and Company. In June, the store will host a literary festival featuring readings, plays, musical perfomances, film screenings, literary tours, and more.