Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Meeting Ben McFall at the Strand (again)

Ben McFall and Joycelyn Moody at the Strand Book Store

The Strand Bookstore has a really impressive collection of books too, I had to remind myself on a recent return trip there on Saturday, June 22. I may have almost forgotten about the books there. I mean, I've been visiting the legendary bookstore to peruse and purchase books for more than a decade now.

The reason for the return this time was to introduce my good friend Joycelyn Moody to Ben McFall, also known as "the oracle of the Strand Book Store." Last month, my student Briana Whiteside had the good fortune of meeting Mr. McFall. So here again in the city, I couldn't pass the opportunity to see if he was in, and sure enough he was, working in the store where he's been for nearly 35 years now.

This time, like last, we had a really enjoyable conversation with Mr. McFall about a few different topics, especially Detroit, where he was born.  He grew up in a neighborhood filled with young people playing and adults having card and block parties. The city and especially his neighborhood had seen far better days back then than today. 

Somehow, during our conversation, we did not even talk much about books and the fiction section where Mr. McFall has his eyes, ears, and fingertips on hundreds of titles and authors. Next time, next time, I'll try to remember to ask the legendary book clerk about the items in the story. I've heard, you know, that the Strand has a few books.

Meeting Ben McFall at the Strand  

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