Sunday, December 29, 2013

Meeting 'the oracle' Ben McFall was a notable book moment of 2013

Meeting the oracle at the Strand

Looking back on the past year, I have to say that one of the most notable book moments for me was meeting Ben McFall, a long-time book clerk at the Strand Bookstore. I've visited the Strand about once every year since about 1998. Somehow, I never formally met Mr. McFall.

Then in January, a story appeared in The Times identifying Mr. McFall as "the oracle of the Strand Book Store." I enjoyed reading the piece, and was surprised I hadn't met him before. I committed myself to introducing myself when I visited in May.

Mr. McFall has been working at the Strand for more than 35 years now. He knows the bookstore and especially the fiction section like the back of his hand. His knowledge of all those titles and authors is why the journalist for The Times referred to him as the oracle.

When I met him, we had a really good chat about books and authors and his experiences in New York. I stopped by to talk to him again in June on a return trip to the city and Strand. When I visit NYC and the Strand in 2014, I'll be sure to look him up.

Meeting the oracle was one of the notable moments for me in 2013.

Good book moments in 2013
Meeting Ben McFall at the Strand (again)
Meeting Ben McFall at the Strand  

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