Some time before the pandemic, I found myself on a 38 bus that stalled. The driver made a long announcement and pulled over. I was on the reread of As I Lay Dying that confirmed it as my favorite novel of all time. I didn’t pay much attention to what was happening; I was deep in Yoknapatawpha County.
A man turned around in front of me and politely asked if I’d caught that announcement. I said I didn’t, and held up the book. “Ah,” he said knowingly, “a little light reading.”
That was my last Faulkner foray until recently, when I stumbled onto Bird & Beckett in one of my favorite parts of town. Since 2020, I’ve gotten used to not seeing or hearing different things for safety reasons, but I never considered smell. Stepping into Bird & Beckett, I was hit with the rich scent of old books even through two masks. It was like a hug from a longtime friend.
I bought an armload of Faulkner and talked to the cashier (over the exciting live jazz on the PA system) about genre bending. I mostly stick to thrillers and horror, and would argue that Faulkner ventures successfully into both. He was inclined to agree, or at least consider it. The entire encounter took maybe ten minutes, max… but this was the most “normal” experience I’d had in months. I’m grateful. I’d recommend it.
Show Bird & Beckett some love. It’s a comforting environment and the staff really seems to know their stuff.