The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

A Novel

Book - 2014
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A New York Times Bestseller, a #1 Indie Next Pick, and a #1 LibraryReads Selection

"This novel has humor, romance, a touch of suspense, but most of all love--love of books and bookish people and, really, all of humanity in its imperfect glory." --Eowyn Ivey, author of The Snow Child

A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner of Island Books, has recently endured some tough years: his wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and his prized possession--a rare edition of Poe poems--has been stolen. Over time, he has given up on people, and even the books in his store, instead of offering solace, are yet another reminder of a world that is changing too rapidly. Until a most unexpected occurrence gives him the chance to make his life over and see things anew. 

Gabrielle Zevin's enchanting novel is a love letter to the world of books--an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.

"Readers who delighted in Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows's The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Rachel Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, and Jessica Brockmole's Letters from Skye will be equally captivated by this adult novel by a popular YA author about a life of books, redemption, and second chances. Funny, tender, and moving." -- Library Journal, starred review

"Wade into summer reading with this sweet yet soulful tale of love, loss, the power of friendship--and books. Like sunshine on a breezy spring day, you won't want it to end." -- Family Circle

"Zevin perfectly captures the joy of connecting people and books . . . Filled with interesting characters, a deep knowledge of bookselling, wonderful critiques of classic titles, and very funny depictions of book clubs and author events, this will prove irresistible to book lovers everywhere." -- Booklist

"Zevin is a deft writer, clever and witty." -- Publishers Weekly

"A wonderful, moving, endearing story of redemption and transformation that will sing in your heart for a very, very long time." --Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain

Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2014.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781616203214
1616203218
Branch Call Number: F Zevi
Characteristics: 260 pages ; 22 cm

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a
arrol
Jul 27, 2020

Easy reading, good for spending one-two evenings with a story. Though I rather regret that I picked it up.

e
ellenorndorf
Apr 14, 2020

I read this book while at home during COVID-19. It was Susan's H-T suggestion for book club. It was a light read.

j
jcastelloe
Apr 07, 2020

Excellent

l
lunabookworm55
Mar 04, 2020

The main character was just too unlikable for me

d
Daisybates
Jan 14, 2020

Good story and tribute to books and reading. My five star ratings are saved for layered books and sagas.

c
CindyK1
Jan 14, 2020

I agree this book is difficult to review with justice. If you like books, you'll enjoy the book references. If you like book stores, you'll like reading about how it might be living above one. And if you like quirky characters and settings, you'll like these. Nobel Prize? Probably not. But will you be glad you took a couple of evenings to read? I am.

s
swheeler89
Oct 31, 2019

Quick read and well written. Would argue that it ended too abruptly - but maybe I just didn't want it to end....

k
kellydelancy
Sep 14, 2019

Meh

p
PiepieB
Aug 05, 2019

I really liked this book! Island Books, really the whole community of Alice Island, is a place where you want to stay... and stay... and stay and make friends and tell everybody you know about this place. The story of A.J. Fikry - a widower, a gruff and grouchy man, and owner of the island's only bookshop - is a story you should read. I can see why this book may border on young adult/chick lit... the very genres Fikry vehemently states at the beginning of the book that he does not like... this story is definitely likeable and definitely recommended. The audiobook was very well performed.

k
KyraJR
Jul 05, 2019

I had to read this book for a school assignment, and found myself pleasantly surprised on how I came to feel for the characters, especially odd man Fikry. Definitely a book for people who like books. If this is on a list of school-read options, I would give it a try.

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ellensix Apr 09, 2018

How about I tell you what I don't like? I do not like postmodernism, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn't be-- basically, gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the Holocaust or any other major world tragedy to be distasteful-- nonfiction only, please. I do not like genre mashups a' la the literary detective novel or literary fantasy. Literary should be literary, and genre should be genre, and crossbreeding rarely results in anything satisfying. I do not like children's books, especially ones with orphans, and I prefer not to clutter my shelves with young adult. I do not like anything over four hundred pages or under one hundred fifty pages. I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and, I imagine this goes without saying-- vampires.

ArapahoeAlicia Aug 09, 2016

The words you can’t find, you borrow.
We read to know we’re not alone. We read because we are alone. We read and we are not alone. We are not alone.
My life is in these books, he wants to tell her. Read these and know my heart.

JCLChrisK Sep 16, 2014

How to account for its presence [on this list of favorites] when I know it is only average? The answer is this: Your dad relates to the characters. It has meaning to me. And the longer I do this (bookselling, yes, of course, but also living if that isn't too awfully sentimental), the more I believe that this is what the point of it all is. To connect, my dear little nerd. Only connect.

JCLChrisK Sep 16, 2014

It is the secret fear that we are unlovable that isolates us, but it is only because we are isolated that we think we are unlovable. Someday, you do not know when, you will be driving down a road. And someday, you do not know when, he, or indeed she, will be there. You will be loved because for the first time in your life, you will truly not be alone. You will have chosen not to be alone.

JCLChrisK Sep 16, 2014

It's Amy's favorite. (She seems so sweet on the surface, no?) Amy and I do not always have the exact same taste in things, but this I like.

When she told me it was her favorite, it suggested to me strange and wonderful things about her character that I had not guessed, dark places that I might like to visit.

People tell boring lies about politics, God, and love. You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, What is your favorite book?

s
stephaniedchase
Apr 29, 2014

The first way Maya approaches a book is to smell it. She strips the book of its jacket, then holds it up to her face and wraps the boards around her ears.

s
stephaniedchase
Apr 29, 2014

Her [Amelia's] talents also include multitasking, selecting the right wine at dinner (and the coordinating skill, tending friends who've had too much to drink), houseplants, strays, and other lost causes."

s
stephaniedchase
Apr 20, 2014

“Infinite Jest is an endurance contest. You manage to get through it and you have no choice but to say you like it. Otherwise, you have to deal with the fact that you just wasted weeks of your life,” A.J. had countered.

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k
KyraJR
Jul 05, 2019

After the death of his wife, A.J. Fikry forgets what life was like before the darkness. As the senile book store owner goes about life shutting out all the feelings he once had, his prize possession gets stolen, and with it, the largest amount of money he's ever come into. When a little girl appears in his store with a note leaving her in his possession, A.J. decides to keep the child, not expecting her to change his life the way she does. Walk along side A.J. as little girl Maya teaches him how to love again, and maybe even build a tolerance to others along the way. And maybe you might even forget all about the money.

s
SALeav10
Apr 18, 2015

Imagine being a bookseller on a small island off the coast of New England. This book opens with the publisher's marketing person trying to sell their new list to the bookseller and proceeds from there. A wonderful story about a curmudgeonly bookseller, the adopted daughter and the people who are affected by them and change the bookseller's view of people.

siammarino Jul 27, 2014

Set on Alice Island of the coast of Rhode Island, this is the story of a widowed bookseller, A J Fikry, who finds a toddler in his store when he returns from a run. She is Maya, and the note from her mother says that Maya is smart, verbal, and should grow up around books. Loved the setting, the unusual characters, the numerous book recommendations (esp. YA), and the belief in love overcoming all obstacles. The ending is sad, but with a funny twist. If you liked Mr. Penumbra's 24 hr. Bookstore, you'll like this.

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Chief's Choice Book Club:
Jeffrey Deaver

Age

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k
KyraJR
Jul 05, 2019

KyraJR thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Notices

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KyraJR
Jul 05, 2019

Coarse Language: Some language when characters are upset

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