Let Me See…What Should I Buy My Daughter? Curious George or a Biography of Heinrich Himmler

Today I went to work on the retail floor at Book Passage in Marin. I did it last year for several days during the  Christmas season. And I’m excited about doing it again. I spent 35 years in retail.  My favorite job was recommending books to my customers.  And when I took the time to do that, I got an amazing sense of what book lovers care about. I also had a chance to express my passion for my favorite titles and to try to share that passion with others. When customers came back and thanked me for a book I recommended, I felt pretty good. It made everything else worthwhile. Now that I’m a literary agent, sometimes I feel out of touch with the people who are really the  heart and soul of  the book world… the book lovers.   I think everyone in the book business ought to spend a few days helping customers in book stores. We could all learn a lot by doing it.

But that isn’t what this blog post is about. I wanted to share a very weird bookstore moment with you.  It happened today at Book Passage. One of the nice things about working on the floor is that I see books that grab my attention and I sort of thumb through them.  So anyway, I’m standing in the history section. I read a lot of history. I studied German history in graduate school. So I picked up this 1000 page brick of a book. Heinrich Himmler: A Life by Peter Longerich. It’s published by Oxford University Press. It is an important work of scholarship about a figure in history for whom most people have very little sentimental attachment.  One of the Book Passage employees came up to me and asked me if I was holding Curious George. I can only assume that the holiday frenzy had disturbed his mental equilibrium.

Well, gentle readers. I suppose I would like to say that whether you intend to put Curious George under the tree this holiday season, or perhaps Heinrich Himmler: A Life, I hope you have a very happy and peaceful holiday and get all the books you want on Christmas day.


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6 Responses to “Let Me See…What Should I Buy My Daughter? Curious George or a Biography of Heinrich Himmler”

  1. Rick Barry Says:

    I can scarcely imagine the enormous amount of time needed to compile the brick of information about Herr Himmler. Laura Hillenbrand took seven years writing Unbroken, and she had the advantage of a living subject she could interview. Thanks for the post!

  2. sheafferhistorian Says:

    Amazing how Himmler was running a quasi-government in the final days…even contacted Churchill several times…but I always will side with history.

  3. Andrew Says:

    There is nothing quite like the retail experience. Delivering a product to satisfied customers is fulfilling work, especially when books are involved. I hope Book Passage has a strong holiday season. All the best to you and your family at this time. I will look forward to your next post.

  4. Marde Ross Says:

    I just got my library out of storage and am heaving as much as I can into boxes to give to the library. It is very difficult to part with favorite ones, but I ask myself just what are the odds that I will read some of these again with new ones beckoning! As soon as I have given them away, however, something pops up that makes me wish I still had one or another of them.

    By the way, does Cousin Clifford still have the rights to Curious George? And a very Happy Holiday season to your family!

  5. chaulaode Says:


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