Monday, November 13, 2023

Blog Tour: The Door to Door Bookstore by Carsten Henn

Is there anything that a book lover loves more than a book about books? I am sure that it is appealing to most of us, and this is a good one! And given that this was originally published in Germany, this love is worldwide.

Carl Kolhoff has worked at the City Gate bookstore for many years, almost considered part of the owner's family. But things are changing. His boss has retired, and his daughter Sabine has taken over and is making some changes. Carl's job is to hand deliver books to a select group of customers. He knows exactly which book that each of them needs, and he meticulously wraps each book ready for delivery.  Carl has made up literary nicknames for each of them, and whilst he would like to have a more personal interaction but his own rules prevent him from getting too involved. One of his main rules - he delivers alone. Well, except for the cat he has named Dog.

Among the people he delivers to are an impeccably dressed woman whose smile never reaches her eyes, a nun who refuses to leave her nunnery, and a man who reads to the the works in a cigar factory as they roll the cigars. 

One day, Carl is not pleased to be joined by a young girl called Schascha, despite his protests. She doesn't respect his rules and soon his interactions with his customers are changing. This is not the only thing that is changing. The kind of service that Carl provides doesn't really have much of a future in this world where you can order online, but the question is, who would Carl be if he wasn't the Book Walker?

There were so many things to love about this book. Obviously, a book about books is already a bonus, but adding in things like a heartwarming cross-generational friendship, and the development of community makes it a winning combination.

I thought in closing, I would share a quote about readers:

Carl divided readers into hares, tortoises, and fish. He himself was a fish, allowing a book to carry him in its current, as its pace moved between fast and leisurely. Hares were speedreaders, hurtling through a book and promptly forgetting what they had read just a few pages earlier, forever needing to flip the pages back to check. Tortoises flipped back too, because they read so slowly that months passed before they finished a book. Every evening they would read a single page, then fall asleep. Sometimes,they would read the same page again the next night, because they weren't sure how far they'd got. Each of these animals could, at a moment's notice, transform into a curious lapwing, leaping to the back of the book to see the ending first, before reading the rest. To Carl's way of thinking, that was like going to a restaurant and eating dessert first. Of course it was sweet and delicious, but the anticipation fueled by the preceding savory courses was lost.

Regardless of which animal a reader was, opening a new book was always a significant moment. It made Carl uneasy each time. Would it live up to the expectations generated by title, cover, and blurb. Would the language and style succeed in moving him?

This reader's expectations were definitely met!

Thanks to the publisher, Netgalley and Rachel's Random Resources for the review copy. My apologies for being a couple of days late with my review. Unfortunately there was a death in the family which meant I had to travel interstate at short notice.

Rating 4/5

About the Book

The Door-to-Door Bookstore

There's a book written for every one of us...
Carl may be 72 years old, but he's young at heart. Every night he goes door-to-door delivering books by hand to his loyal customers. He knows their every desire and preference, carefully selecting the perfect story for each person.

One evening as he makes his rounds, nine-year-old Schascha appears. Loud and precocious, she insists on accompanying him - and even tries to teach him a thing or two about books.

When Carl's job at the bookstore is threatened, will the old man and the girl in the yellow raincoat be able to restore Carl's way of life, and return the joy of reading to his little European town?

THE DOOR-TO-DOOR BOOKSTORE is a heart-warming tale of the value of friendship, the magic of reading, and the power of books to unite us all.

Translated by Melody Shaw

Purchase Links

About the Author

Carsten Henn has worked as a radio presenter, wine and restaurant critic, and has published a number of successful novels. He lives in Germany.

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