Also published on this date: Monday, March 8, 2019: Maximum Shelf: Red, White & Royal Blue

Shelf Awareness for Monday, April 8, 2019

Disney Lucasfilm Press: Star Wars: The High Republic Path of Deceit by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland

Ballantine Books: Central Places by Delia Cai

MIT Press: Rethinking Gender: An Illustrated Exploration by Louie Läuger

Holiday House: Owl and Penguin (I Like to Read Comics) by Vikram Madan; Noodleheads Take it Easy by Tedd Arnold, Martha Hamilton, and Mitch Weiss

Blackstone Publishing: Ezra Exposed by Amy E. Feldman

Clavis: Fall Preview


Walls of Books Coming to Cookeville, Tenn.

Walls of Books in Watkinsville, Ga.

A new Walls of Books store is under construction in the Shoppes at South Jefferson on 650 S. Jefferson Avenue in Cookeville, Tenn., the Herald-Citizen reported. The store will have a soft opening May 20, with a grand opening set for May 24. The Walls of Books store is part of Gottwals Franchising, which has 16 locations in Georgia, Kansas, Ohio, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Washington, D.C.

The 2,400-square-foot Cookeville location will carry about 30,000 new and used books, focusing primarily on used titles while also featuring major new releases and perennial bestsellers. Walls of Books will also stock educational toys and games for children.

"I teach literature, logic and composition so I love books," said owner Terry Gant, who will leave his teaching job at Highland Rim Academy at the end of the school year. "I have kind of wanted to start my own business for awhile, but I've never particularly had a good idea that I was qualified to do. Over this past summer, I started thinking that Cookeville needed a bookstore. The first thing that I went to was used books which would be a good way to differentiate from some of the (stores) here already."

Noting that he hopes the store becomes a "community meeting spot," Gant said response has been positive thus far in anticipation of the opening: "I try to keep the Facebook page updated pretty regularly, and I've gotten a lot of positive comments. When I get a chance to interact with people I don't know, one of the reactions I've gotten most is, 'Oh finally, a bookstore.' I think that's kind of interesting, but I think people want more of a local-feel bookstore."

Ebony Magazine Publishing: Black Hollywood: Reimagining Iconic Movie Moments by Carell Augustus

Booktenders' Secret Garden in Pa. Closing

Ellen Mager

Booktenders' Secret Garden children's bookstore in Doylestown, Pa., will close after 37 years in business. The Intelligencer reported that owner Ellen Mager "is mourning. The walls of a changing bookselling industry are caving in on her and her little slice of children's heaven.... The final chapter of her bookstore, she admits, was written last year when a water pipe burst in the store, ruining more than 7,000 books, one especially meaningful."

"It was a J.K. Rowling-signed copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone she signed when she was here in 1999," Mager said. "Cleaning that mess up from the pipe was exhausting at my age. With that and everything else, I knew it was time."

Booktenders' Wall of Fame

Mager hopes to sell the "crown jewel" of Booktenders, "four particleboard panels, several feet wide and stretching floor to ceiling. On them are some 200 autographs, illustrations, and personal messages to Mager by many renowned children's book authors who visited Booktenders on signing events throughout the years," the Intelligencer wrote.

"I hope someone will buy the walls and donate them somewhere where children and families can see them," she said. "Maybe donate them to the Michener or Mercer (museums). Or maybe to CHOP (The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia), where some of the children who have come with their parents to buy books here go to get cancer treatment. And the walls need to be sold all together, not a piece here and another there. The walls mean something together."

Mager added that she hopes to work at another bookstore: "I love the books. But I will miss the families most of all. You get to connect with the children and their parents, and they become like family. I've been to birthday parties and graduations of children who came to the store for books. It's those connections with all the familiar faces I'll miss most."

University of California Press: Dictee (Second Edition, Reissue, Restored);  Exilee and Temps Morts: Selected Works (First Edition, Reissue) by Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

Bankruptcy of Germany's Largest Book Wholesaler Shakes Industry

When German book wholesaler and distributor Koch, Neff and Volckmar (KNV) filed for bankruptcy in February, Europe's largest book market was deeply shaken. Coming hot on the heels of a controversial merger between two leading book chains--Thalia and Mayersche--KNV's plight added massively to the already fraught mood in the industry. If no buyer is found for the family-owned business, the implications could be severe, not only for the supply chain handled mostly by KNV together with competitors Libri and Umbreit, but for the German book industry as a whole.

Six weeks on, uncertainty prevails. Many had expected an announcement during the recent spring book fair in Leipzig, one of the major events in the German book calendar. That did not happen, so the feeling of unease in an industry already fraught with problems is growing steadily and the pressure is building on Tobias Wahl, appointed as bankruptcy administrator for KNV.

Not surprisingly, Wahl, an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, is playing his cards close to his chest, while talks with possible investors are being held. Having succeeded in his first task of reassuring customers that KNV is fully operational again after a few days of disruption, he has repeatedly said that he does not want to break up the company. Instead his aim is to find an investor who takes over KNV as a going concern and will keep intact its special business model--it is both a book wholesaler and a distributor for more than 300 publishers.

Wahl has called KNV the "indispensable hinge" between publishers and book retailers. His pitch for potential investors: "KNV is based on a good, viable business model that is trusted throughout the market."

KNV's weak spot--and what many see as the root of its current problems--will undoubtedly also come under close scrutiny: the state-of-the-art logistic center that opened in Erfurt, in eastern Germany, in October 2014. Covering 170,000 square meters (about 1.83 million square feet) and costing €150 million (about $168.5 million), the warehouse was plagued by problems for a long time, although it now seems to be running smoothly.

The administrator has just published a provisional timeline: while actively looking for an investor, he will send his assessment to the bankruptcy court in Stuttgart towards the end of April, which then could open bankruptcy proceedings as soon as May 1. The first meeting of creditors is expected to take place at the end of June or early July.

Wahl has been in close contact with the German book trade association, Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, which organized eight well-attended "road shows" in major German cities to discuss the matter with booksellers and publishers. In a statement, Wahl said he has been impressed how publishers large and small, as well as booksellers, have rallied to support KNV. "I have rarely seen so much closeness, loyalty and solidarity in an industry," he wrote.

There has been one exception to that. In a blow to KNV and Wahl, wholesaler Umbreit, the third largest wholesaler after KNV and Libri, has just cancelled their joint book truck delivery service (Bücherwagendienst) set up two years ago. As of May 1, Umbreit will team up with an as-yet-unnamed logistics partner to go back to delivering orders to bookstores on its own. While KNV and Wahl regret the decision, they say they do not see major logistical problems because most of the delivery areas in question have been serviced by KNV trucks anyway.

KNV Bücherwagendienst serves about 5,600 bookstores in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The company has 23 warehouses that ensure that 90% of all orders received by 6 p.m. will be delivered to the customer by 9 a.m. the next morning. Trust is an important issue: as most deliveries are done outside business hours, drivers carry keys to the majority of bookshops. All in all, KNV regularly stocks about 590,000 titles from more than 5,000 publishers in the German-speaking countries, of which approximately 63,000 are new media products, including DVDs, music CDs and audiobooks.

Because Germany has become an important export market for trade and academic publishers in Britain and the U.S., developments in Stuttgart are also closely watched by many in the international book community. To stock more than 54,000 English-language titles, KNV has built up close ties with Baker & Taylor and Gardners. --Anja Sieg, international editor, buchreport

Blair: A Girlhood: Letter to My Transgender Daughter by Carolyn Hays

Daniel Gorman Appointed English PEN Director

Daniel Gorman

Daniel Gorman has been appointed director of English PEN, effective this August. He will succeed Antonia Byatt, who is leaving to become CEO of First Story. Gorman joins PEN from the Shubbak Festival of contemporary Arab culture, where he is executive director and has, over the past five years, increased the festival's scale and scope.

Gorman's "extensive experience of working with writers and supporting artists in areas of conflict, both with Shubbak and as co-founder of Highlight Arts, makes him well suited to PEN's work protecting writers at risk across the world," English PEN said. "As a commissioner, he also has a brilliant track record of presenting new and diverse voices to audiences in the U.K.--also central to English PEN's mission."

The organization noted that since 2017, Byatt "has successfully put PEN on a firm financial footing and kicked off an exciting program for PEN's centenary in 2021. Daniel will join a committed team to develop the program and to build English PEN for the next period so that it can continue to champion freedom of expression and ideas across the world."

Graphic Mundi - Psu Press: Hakim's Odyssey by Fabien Toulme and Hanna Chute

April Indie Next List E-Newsletter Delivered

Last Thursday, the American Booksellers Association's e-newsletter edition of the Indie Next List for April was delivered to more than half a million of the country's best book readers. The newsletter was sent to customers of 139 independent bookstores, with a combined total of 541,883 subscribers.

The e-newsletter, powered by Shelf Awareness, features all of the month's Indie Next List titles, with bookseller quotes and "buy now" buttons that lead directly to the purchase page for the title on the sending store's website. The newsletter, which is branded with each store's logo, also includes an interview (from Bookselling This Week) with the author whose book was chosen by booksellers as the number-one Indie Next List pick for the month, in this case I Miss You When I Blink: Essays by Mary Laura Philpott (Atria).

For a sample of the April newsletter, see this one from Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, Fla.


Image of the Day: Naughty But Yummy

The seventh annual Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Arts Council Edible Book Festival was held on Saturday, near Seattle, and one of the most popular cakes was this one for Peter Rabbit. (photo: Devon Ashby)

Cool Idea of the Day: MIBA Spring Roadtrip

On March 25, the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association held its first Spring Roadtrip, to Dragonfly Books in Decorah, Iowa. Some 40 booksellers from 20 stores attended, and the event was such a success that MIBA is planning another in spring 2020 and is calling for pitches from MIBA booksellers and publishers at large. Those interested should e-mail MIBA executive director Carrie Obry for more details. The deadline for pitches is June 1. The destination will be selected in June and announced at the Heartland Fall Forum in Cleveland, Ohio, this October. The association is taking pitches for creative ways in which publishers can be involved in future roadtrips.

The Dragonfly Books visit began with a literary open mic opening event that featured owner Kate Rattenborg reading a piece on the value of being part of a strong bookselling community and was followed by a full day of programming at a local hotel that included discussions with business people in town, bookseller breakout sessions, how Dragonfly promotes Midwest Connections titles, author presentations and a closing reception at the store.

Personnel Changes at Bloomsbury Children's

Faye Bi is joining Bloomsbury Children's as director of publicity, effective April 11. She has been publicity manager at Holiday House.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Nathaniel Rich on Fresh Air

CBS This Morning: Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer, authors of The Hill to Die On: The Battle for Congress and the Future of Trump's America (Crown, $28, 9780525574743).

Fresh Air: Nathaniel Rich, author of Losing Earth: A Recent History (MCD, $25, 9780374191337).

Ellen: Chelsea Handler, author of Life Will Be the Death of Me: . . . and you too! (Spiegel & Grau, $27, 9780525511779). She will also appear tomorrow on the View and the Tonight Show.

Late Night with Seth Meyers: Chelsea Clinton, author of Don't Let Them Disappear (Philomel, $17.99, 9780525514329).

Good Morning America: Ian K. Smith, author of Clean & Lean: 30 Days, 30 Foods, a New You! (St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9781250114945).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Emily Bazelon, author of Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration (Random House, $28, 9780399590016). 

Daily Show: Abby Wambach, author of Wolfpack: How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game (Celadon, $20, 9781250217707).

TV: I Know This Much Is True

Melissa Leo, Rosie O'Donnell, Archie Panjabi and Imogen Poots will star alongside Juliette Lewis, Kathyrn Hahn and Mark Ruffalo in I Know This Much Is True, a six-episode limited drama series based on Wally Lamb's bestselling novel. Deadline reported that the project, which has a production commitment from HBO, comes from Mark Ruffalo, who stars in a dual role and executive produces; Derek Cianfrance and FilmNation Entertainment. The series will be written, directed and executive produced by Cianfrance.

Books & Authors

Awards: Albertine Shortlist; Minnesota Book Winners

The five shortlisted titles for the 2019 Albertine Prize, co-presented by Van Cleef & Arpels and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and honoring American readers' favorite work of contemporary Francophone fiction, are:

Waiting for Tomorrow by Nathacha Appanah, translated by Geoffrey Strachan (Graywolf Press)
Disoriental by Négar Djavadi, translated by Tina Kover (Europa Editions)
Small Country by Gaël Faye, translated by Sarah Ardizzone (Hogarth)
The Perfect Nanny: A Novel by Leïla Slimani, translated by Sam Taylor (Penguin)
The Order of the Day by Éric Vuillard, translated by Mark Polizzotti (Other Press)


The winners of the 2019 Minnesota Book Awards, sponsored by the Friends of the St. Paul Library, are:

Novel & short story: Laurentian Divide by Sarah Stonich (University of Minnesota Press)
Genre fiction: The Voice Inside by Brian Freeman (Thomas & Mercer)
Poetry: GeNtry!fication: or the scene of the crime by Chaun Webster (Noemi Press)
General nonfiction: Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick by Maya Dusenbery (HarperOne)
Memoir and creative nonfiction: Chinese-Ness: The Meanings of Identity and the Nature of Belonging by Wing Young Huie (Minnesota Historical Society Press)
Minnesota nonfiction: The Crusade for Forgotten Souls: Reforming Minnesota's Mental Institutions, 1946-1954 by Susan Bartlett Foote (University of Minnesota Press)
Children's literature: The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld (Dial Books for Young Readers)
Middle grade literature: The Key to Every Thing by Pat Schmatz (Candlewick)
Young adult literature: Dream Country by Shannon Gibney (Dutton Books for Young Readers)

Book Review

Review: From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home

From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home by Tembi Locke (Simon & Schuster, $26.99 hardcover, 352p., 9781501187650, April 30, 2019)

It may sound familiar: an American woman goes to Italy, indulges in love, wine and good food, and leaves sensually and spiritually transformed. But while this template technically describes From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home, Tembi Locke's story is different from ones you've heard before.

Locke, now a Hollywood actor, met Sicilian chef Saro while studying in Florence as an undergraduate in the early '90s. Their connection was immediate, and they married soon after. Over the next 20 years, they made a home in Los Angeles, adopted a daughter and lived a happy, beautiful life together nourished by love and Saro's transcendent cooking. But, from the beginning, heartbreak lurked beneath the surface. The first was that Saro's deeply traditional family disapproved of him marrying a black American woman, and refused contact with the couple for years. The second heartbreak--one that, unlike the estrangement, couldn't be overcome--was cancer, and in 2012, Saro died after the recurrence of a malignant tumor that had first appeared 10 years before.

Undone by grief, but determined to forge a new life for herself and her young daughter, Locke begins the slow, painful work of healing. For Locke, this means traveling to Saro's home village and communing with her also-widowed mother-in-law, Croce. Over the course of three Sicilian summers, Locke and Croce--two women of vastly different experience--come to share a profound intimacy and a fuller understanding of the man they both loved.

Locke's resilience and persistence in the face of such loss is incredibly moving, as is her open-hearted curiosity about a place that was not, initially, especially welcoming to her. Family, forgiveness and belonging are constant themes throughout and, as a character in own story, Locke comes across as a deeply empathetic and insightful person with a deep well of courage to draw upon.

Candid, wise and with a flair for vivid metaphors, she is also a beautiful and powerful writer. She tells the story of her early romance with Saro, their marriage and her widowhood almost concurrently, and rather than being chronologically confusing, these alternating chapters are instead a poignant reminder that, in grief, memory is inextricably bound with the present.

As a bonus, she animates hot, complicated, old-world Sicily with color, humor and--most importantly--flavor; readers will want to eat the meals she describes right off the page. --Hannah Calkins, writer and editor

Shelf Talker: Tembi Locke's moving, vivid memoir is an epic cross-cultural romance, a tragedy, a tale of self-discovery and, best of all, a testament to the simple healing powers of good food.

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