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The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel Paperback – December 2, 2014
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"The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, The Lying Game. Pre-order today
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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 Preloaded Digital Audio Player 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!)
From the get-go, it’s quite obvious the book is going to center around books and reading. It’s in every nook and cranny in the story, from the characters themselves to the plot, one cannot escape the obvious. For anyone else, it may seem to be overkill or confusing. But to those who shares in A.J., Maya, Amelia and company’s passion, it’s par for the course and in many ways, reflective of our own feelings and quirkiness. That is where the book’s charm comes from. It’s easy to see parts of ourselves within these characters who share the same passion as we do. It’s something that’s celebrated and not used to have people stand apart from the general populous. In this book, if you are NOT a reader, then you are the one left out of the loop.
With all that said, the overall work left me wanting more. I just felt like the story moved at a fast pace where the author, Gabrielle Zevin, just coasted along on some of the finer details that would’ve added more depth to the story. I would’ve loved to have a deeper exploration of A.J.’s unique personality (I feel the book would’ve benefited if it was in first pov of A.J.) especially since his is an interesting mix of surly, conceited and likeability. I wanted to know the origins or at least how his thinking process worked. As it is, I spent a good portion of the beginning not really liking him which affected my feelings on the book (fortunately he became more charming the further I read). I also was caught off guard by some of the revelations later on in the story (e.g. Tamerlane, Ismay/Daniel/Marian/Maya connection, A.J.’s lifelong condition). To me, they just seemed to come out of nowhere, as if Zevin almost forgot about the events in the beginning and decided to provide explanations to them. They happened abruptly and I had to shift my focus to try to fit the new information into what I have known. If there little clues, mild mentions or something written throughout the story that let the reader know that something is not right and unfinished business still exists then perhaps everything else won’t seem so sudden and out of the blue.
I’ve heard about this book for quite a while and how many people loved it. I wanted to be one of those people, I wanted to like it more. This book is like thinking you’re seeing something from your peripheral vision, but when you fully turned to look, there’s nothing there. The whole reading experience for me was as if I sort of got what I was reading but in the end I didn’t get the full story. I got the surface but nothing else below. The only thing that made the book interesting were the characters’ love of reading and books. That specific feature made the book a comfortable and relatable read and provided that unique charm that only those of us who shares the same passion for reading and books can understand and appreciate.
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