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The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel Paperback – December 2, 2014
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In this sweet, uplifting homage to bookstores, Zevin perfectly captures the joy of connecting people and books. A. J. Fikry, the cantankerous owner of Island Books, is despondent after losing his beloved wife and witnessing the ever-declining number of sales at his small, quirky bookstore. In short order, he loses all patience with the new Knightly Press sales rep, his prized rare edition of Tamerlane is stolen, and someone leaves a baby at his store. That baby immediately steals A. J.’s heart and unleashes a dramatic transformation. Suddenly, the picture-book section is overflowing with new titles, and the bookstore becomes home to a burgeoning number of book clubs. With business on the uptick and love in his heart, A. J. finds himself becoming an essential new part of his longtime community, going so far as to woo the aforementioned sales rep (who loves drinking Queequeg cocktails at the Pequod Restaurant). 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. --Joanne Wilkinson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“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
“Marvelously optimistic about the future of books and bookstores and the people who love both.” —The Washington Post
“You won’t want it to end.” —Family Circle
“A natural for book groups.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
“A reader’s paradise of the first order.” —The Buffalo News
“A fun, page-turning delight.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Captures the joy of connecting people and books . . . Irresistible.” —Booklist
“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
“Readers who delighted in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, and Letters from Skye will be equally captivated by this novel.” —*Library Journal, starred review
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Top Customer Reviews
Enter an absolutely delightful cast of secondary characters who populate the island and A.J.'s life. You're bound to love at least one - if not all - of them.
Next we have the unexpected hope and redemption of A.J. I'm not giving any spoilers here. Yes, it's a feel-good book. But it's more than that: it's a love letter to the power books have in our lives. If you have ever felt changed by a book, this novel will speak to you....you'll "get" it. And if you loved "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" or "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand" you'll find lots to love here, as well - not because the plots are similar, but because of the similar feel to the novels that comes from a good cast of eccentric townsfolk, a small community, and a sense of closeness among the characters.
So I'll leave you with this: if you love reading books, do not miss this one. (I wouldn't be at all surprised to see it made into a movie!)
I LOVE IT!!! I LOVE I!!!! and I LOVE IT!!!! more
A. J. Fikry is a lonely (his wife died two years earlier), snappish and cantankerous bookstore owner of Island Books in Alice Island. Sales has hit a slump and one of the most expensive book in his store, Tamerlane by Edgar Allan Poe, has been stolen. He has given up on the store, the people in the small community and the love of the books in his store and his heart. His books are how he has lived his life. His life experiences, relationships with bookstores, books and, in some cases if he really likes their work, authors, is really what I'm sorta made of. A life where when you read a book, you either lived it or what to live it. You talk, walk, breath, sing your day based upon the book you just finished reading or remember reading years ago.
It becomes a part of your memory where when you run into someone or something, you refer it to a book that had an impact on your life and that's how A. J. Fikry lived his life. Life just sucks for A.J. and I truly understand why, but one day out of the blue, a small package arrives at his store, a over the top and eccentric publication press sales women comes calling, and a chief of police who did not read much, until he was forced, not really forced, just wanted to keep an eye on A.J., became a savior and friend. Each word, each saying, each sub-story brings you closer to a book and another book and another. Inter wind into each character, especially A.J., is life at a bookstore or life in and out of a book. You will laugh, cry, become pissed and will love bookstores, especially independent book stores, over and over again. I literally cried when I finished this book, not because of something bad or good that happened in the book, but because I wanted to read more about each of the characters and see their lives unfold into the future.
If you love or even like small independent bookstores, buy this book, now!!!
A. J. made me feel so happy with my love of books, so very happy.
This book reminds me of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel and The Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey MooreThe Supremes at Earl's All-You-Can-Eat
Now my problem is finding another book to read. It's so hard to find another book to read after you read such a damn good book with simple and great writing. It's so ding dong hard.
A. J. Fikry is a crabby and bitter owner of a bookstore on a small island. His wife died and he is left to carry on her dream of running a bookstore. His business is failing because he will not keep up with the times and because he buys books that please him. Enter fresh, young and unconventional publishing house sales rep who has been warned about the nasty Mr. Fikry and plans to win him over. Unsurprising spoiler: he eventually marries her. But before that can happen, a two year old girl is left in his store with a note that the mother wants her to be raised in a bookstore. The child is adorable and precocious and loves books. He reluctantly keeps her and the mother meets a tragic end. Mr. Fikry is aided in life by his sister-in-law, her husband who is an author and a cad, and the chief of police. There is also a rare book by a young Edgar Allan Poe that goes missing from A. J.'s home.
Despite its flaws, I found this book compulsively readable. It was a pleasant and easy reading experience. You could easily finish this book in a couple of days. Each chapter begins with a book recommendation from Mr. Fikry and a few sentences about why he likes the book and why he is recommending it to an initially unknown person. That was clever and well done. There is also a passage in which A. J. is physically unable to speak to his daughter. It is beautifully written and really captures his anguish. If all the writing in the book was like that, I would give it 5 stars. My dissatisfaction with the book is based on the mostly predictable plot, the over-used theme of bitter person finds love, and the mostly basic writing style. I am not sure that I would read any other books by this author. However, if you are looking for something pleasant and easy to read then this is a decent choice.