A Parisian reading list: Shakespeare and Company

As the dust settles after Paris Fashion Week, we asked Shakespeare and Company, the city’s famous English bookshop, to share their quintessential Parisian reading

Rooftops of Paris by Fabrice Moireau and Carl Norac
This stunningly designed book conjures you up to a levitated Parisian dimension. Artist Fabrice Moireau has an exquisite eye for quirky rooftop detail and surprising vistas – and see if you can spot Shakespeare and Company among the golden chimneys and mansard roofs.

Pure by Andrew Miller
Based on the true and disturbing story of Les Innocents – the Parisian cemetery destroyed in 1785 because the dead were literally bursting through cellar walls – this outstanding novel evokes a fevered and liminal point in history (it’s been read by many as a parable for the French Revolution) and oozes with grotesque atmosphere.

Shakespeare and Company by Sylvia Beach
What a piece of luck that as well as being one of the great patrons of modernism, bookseller extraordinaire, and doyenne of the 20s and 30s Parisian literary scene, Sylvia Beach was also a luminous writer. This chronicle of her fascinating life at the forefront of some of the greatest literary achievements of the 20th century is shot through with her legendary warmth and wit.

A Parisian Affair and Other Stories by Guy de Maupassant
No one probes the two faces of human nature – the dark and the light – quite like de Maupassant. These 34 short stories, many of which are set in the playboy and prostitute-ridden nouveau riche society of 19th century Paris, reveal the complexities of love and lust with style and insight.

The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
Pink hair, evening dresses in the daytime because everything’s in the wash, gossipy hangovers… The Dud Avocado, written and set in the 50s, follows utterly chaotic and lovable young heroine Sally Jay Gorce around Paris on her girl-about-town exploits and remains laugh out loud hilarious.