What’s Your Favorite Literary City?

Sylvia Beach, Ernest Hemingway, and others in front of the original Shakespeare & Co.

As I get ready to head off to Paris this week, I can’t help but wish that Midnight in Paris wasn’t just a fictional dream played out by Woody Allen. Tell me when and where to meet the car and I’d gladly wait for Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, and others of the Lost Generation each night to catch a glimpse into their world. Barring that, I’ll take in the ambiance and still feel the history of the place while I am there. I am one of those freaks who orders people to “Stand right here… no right HERE… this is exactly where he/she stood when they made this/that speech and/or fell down drunk after coming up with the idea for such and such a novel… can you feel it???” To which they usually roll their eyes and tell me I get two more of those commands for the remainder of whichever trip we are on and then I have to give it a rest.

I may also be the person who (after strict instructions in each room by a very serious tour guide to not touch anything in Orchard House) “accidentally” not only ran my hand along fell into Louisa May Alcott’s desk on which she penned Little Women, but also slightly faltered backwards into her bed so I could touch catch myself on the famous quilt her mother made for her and which she had on her bed for much of her life. In most things in life, I am a total rule follower – to a fault (and to the annoyance of most of my fun-loving friends), but in matters of historical people whom I am in love with (aka obsessed with), I have no shame. So, it is possible that I’ll be the crazy girl who sits in each spot in Le Sélect just to make sure I’ve covered the bases and touched my butt where every possible writer could have sat.

I’ll assume that most of you aren’t as crazy (or, as I like to say, dedicated) as I am, but surely you at least have some favorite literary cities (and places in those cities) that flip your skirt up. Please, do share…

We've got a sweet little Instagram account. Books, recommendations, and a whole bunch of reader-nerd stuff. Come check it out: instagram