Beckham’s Book Shop
228 Decatur St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
Walking into Beckham’s is like walking into a huge attic full of books. Slightly dusty and dark, as any good used bookstore should be. Beckham’s is a lot bigger than McKeown’s, though the literature section may be commensurate or smaller. The difference is in the much more extensive selection of nonfiction — an area I’m admittedly less than expert in, since I generally read literature. There are two floors in the bookstore, and climbing the creaky staircase to yet another large room of books is a delight.
The prices at Beckham’s can’t be beat. The shopkeeper told us they have the lowest prices in town, and it looks like that’s the case. I bought first editions of The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon for $6 and Scarlett, by Alexandra Ripley for $5 (the latter is a sequel to Gone With the Wind, of course written by a different author).
I’d read Scarlett before (like when I was 12) and thought it’d be a fun book to have, given that Gone With the Wind is one of my all-time favorites. Sure, The New York Times may have called Scarlett “cultural cannibalism,” but I think that’s unfair. Any reader of Scarlett likely is a huge fan of Gone With the Wind, and knows what he or she is getting into — a sequel that’s not written by the original author, could never come close to being as good as the original, but offers an interesting interpretation of what might happen to the characters later on.
The Shadow of the Wind is a book I’ve been trying to hunt down for awhile. I love historical fiction; it’s my favorite genre — especially novels set in Europe. I devoured the book. It’s set in Barcelona from the 1930s to 1950s, and it’s got everything I want — horror, intrigue, political history, love stories. Carlos Ruiz Zafon is an excellent writer; the novel’s Fermin Romero de Torres is one of the most humorous and amusing characters I’ve encountered in awhile.