Friday Favourites

Carturesti Carusel - probably the most beautiful bookshop in the world...

Carturesti Carusel – probably the most beautiful bookshop in the world…

This week’s selection of things that have interested me this week include the most beautiful bookshop I’ve ever seen; a fascinating lunch party in the 1920s, the intriguing life of a New York heiress and the sad tale of how Edinburgh’s architectural history is being gradually decimated…

With the opening of the Carturesti Carusel bookshop, Bucharest in Romania has now made it onto my list of places to visit.  This beautiful new bookshop has just opened with a stock of 10,000 books, 5,000 albums and DVDs, a cafe, a bistro, event space… The bookshop every bookseller would love to work in.  More pictures of the stunning interior and its very glamorous opening party here.

The Algonquin Round Table was a group of writers, publisher, actors, directors and journalists who met for lunch at New York’s Algonquin Hotel in the 1920s. Dorothy Parker, George S Kaufman, Harpo Marx, Jane Grant…. Those were lunches I’d love to have been at.

Staying in New York for the time being, this post on the always-fascinating Messy Nessy blog caught my attention.  Hugette Clark, an immensely wealthy American heiress died in 2010 at the age of 104, having spent the last 20 years of her life closeted away from her family in a private hospital.  She owned a number of stunning homes, including one in Connecticut that she didn’t visit from the time she bought it in 1951, and all were kept immaculately maintained despite her absence. When she died, her family fought over her will and there were court cases where the medical staff and lawyers who had benefitted from her largess in recent years were accused of manipulation and theft.  A book has been written by a journalist and one of the few relatives to have seen her in recent years and I think I’ll get hold of a copy. Such a sad life but intriguing.

Finally, this story in the Edinburgh Evening News flags up yet more of the demolition planned for the city centre. Given that a large chunk of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage site I’m always amazed by the council’s cavalier attitude to development, happy to see anything knocked down, regardless of its listing or historical significance, in order to build yet another cheap hotel or glass-fronted office block.  That UNESCO status must be under threat and the loss of that will surely dent the level of tourism and thus income currently enjoyed by the city.  Given that we can’t even add a dormer window to the listed building we own, it’s no wonder that council members are regularly accused of accepting fat brown envelopes from developers.

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