I’ll admit that I am a tough person to buy books for. I have wide-ranging but particular (and sometimes strange) tastes. If I mention that I’d like to check out a particular book, chances are it is already on its way to my “to be read” stack. To further complicate things, I receive review and advance reading copies of books that may be of interest from publishers. The result: friends and family usually do not buy me books for presents. So I was surprised when a large box with a familiar logo arrived on my door step a few days before my birthday. See “Exhibit A”:
The box turned out to be from my mom, and there was a story behind it. My mother had read an article in a magazine about the The Strand bookstore in NYC’s personal shopping service. It was written by a woman who knew that her dad, a literature professor, loved books, but she could never find the perfect book. The author called upon expert help. Enter Madeline Donahue, The Strand’s personal shopper.
Mom decided to call upon Ms. Donahue’s services (there is no charge). Between my mother’s input and five year’s of blog posts, Madeline was able to get a good read on my reading interests. See “Exhibit B” for the contents of my box:
Having now been on the receiving end of her consulting services, I feel qualified to say that Madeline Donahue is amazing at her job. There were books in there that I planned to pick up and – more impressively – books that I didn’t even know that I would be dying to read. The books were all individually wrapped, which my daughter enjoyed helping me open. (“It’s another book, Daddy!”) I can’t say enough about how amazing the whole experience is – it is like someone has been reading my mind. I can’t wait to dive into this stack.
As long as there are people like Madeline Donahue out there, the independent book store will never die. Thanks, Mom! Thanks, Madeline!