The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
A NovelBook - 2014
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
From the critics
QuotesAdd a Quote
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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."
SummaryAdd a Summary
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.
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.
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.
A Prayer for Owen Meany
Their Eyes Were Watching God
I Capture the Castle
The Beauties- Checkov
The Doll's HOuse-K. Mansfield
A Perfect Day for Bananfish-J.d. Salinger
Brownies or Drinking COffee Elsewhere ZZ Packer
In the Cemetary Where AL Jolson Is Buried A. Hempel
Fat R. Carver
Indian Camp e. Hemingway
Secret Life of Octavian Nothing
Chief's Choice Book Club: