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The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
     

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

4.3 134
by Gabrielle Zevin
 

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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

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The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 134 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so lovely and perfect and yummy- can a book be yummy? Um yes! A.J is everything. I miss him already and i just finished the book moments ago. This is the kind of book that makes you feel. You feel cozy in his bookstore. You feel attached to Maya instantly. You feel angry and sad right along each character. I sorta secretly hope none of you read it so it can be my secret little love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a charming book that engages the brain and touches the heart. I am so happy to have come to know these characters, and feeler richer for the time spent in their company. I will be recommending this book highly to friends.
Fredreeca2001 More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful read. It would make a great romantic comedy movie. I laughed out loud and I found myself grinning as I was reading. Excellent!!
Barb00 More than 1 year ago
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin is a great book. It's fascinating and intriguing with each chapter having a little mystery. The book held my attention starting from the first moment I began reading. In a small town, where everyone usually knows everything, to me this book was a beautiful circle of life and love story. I enjoyed reading this book and definitely give it a five star rating. I believe book lovers would savour this novel, but I also recommend The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry to others because it's a fantastic novel and you will enjoy reading it. Thank you to The Book Report Network for a complimentary copy.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
“they say that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day." I thought of this quote when I thought of the main character A.J. and how he changed in this book. A.J. Fikry was the owner of a small town bookstore on Alice Island. He bought the store with his wife, who passed away almost two years ago and his only goals now are to drink himself to death and run the bookstore into the ground. Finding a hidden gem in a box of books, he plans to retire on the sale of that book so for A.J., his life is already planned out. Amelia on the other hand, is a sales rep and she comes to visit A.J. hoping to strike up some sales. Grouchy, rude A.J. cuts Amelia’s sales pitch short but not without Amelia pitching her favorite book for which A.J. turns down. Abruptly leaving the store, Amelia leaves the book behind just hoping that he will change his mind. Call it karma, call it whatever you want but years later A.J. opens up the book and a phone call later, he meets up with Amelia again. So much has happened in A.J. life since he has seen Amelia; you would not think this is the same man Amelia walked-out on. It all started when his retirement package came up missing, who would steal his book and what will become of him now? Finding an abandoned toddler in his bookstore after a morning jog, his life just keeps getting more interesting. Island Books has becomes a busy place and A.J.’s circle encompasses many more individuals than he ever thought possible. It’s a trip through life with its mysteries, joys, frustrations and affection. This is one of those books that once you get started, you don’t want to stop. The characters have depth and they all were so different and important. A.J. was a hard man at the beginning of the book and bitter with life but at the end of the book, he was like the Grinch. He had changed. The people in the town each had their own thoughts about him and this reflected back on him yet he acted the way he did. This said something about him. The writing was different, not a lot of emotion written in for you but you could feel it. There is so much to like about this book, from the characters to the bookstore setting to the relationships to the mysteries that surround the character’s actions. I highly recommend this book! Thank you NetGalley and Algonquin Books for this copy of this book to review. “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. We are not quite novels. In the end, we are collected works.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Delightful, enchanting read! The story itself was great, but I most enjoyed the "specials" along the way--meeting short story titles along the way, connecting with books sold in the book store, reading AJ's reviews, and recognizing his "thoughts" about writers and writing being used throughout the book. I loved watching the characters grow as they each encountered new experiences.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a simply lovely book! I felt like I was in the bookstore and it was so warm and comforting. A very quick read and I would love a sequel about Maya, I'm pretty sure she's goingto find her way back to Alice. But a wonderful read. Would reccomend it to anyone who loves books and neighborhood bookstores!
Katelynn1 More than 1 year ago
I have to say, this book is now of the top of my list of favorite book I've ever read. The characters and the story itself just felt so genuine and real and the ending left me completely satisfied. I literally just want to hold this book to my chest and never let it go.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just read this. I promise you won't regret it.
GrandmaSueReview More than 1 year ago
Very touching. Very beautifully done. A wonderful book.
dibbylodd More than 1 year ago
An unexpected jewel Some times I run across a reference to a book that I would probably otherwise never read. This can be a wonderful thing or not. THIS was, indeed, wonderful. Simply put, this is a book about words and love and people who say them and read them. It was a quick read, in large part because i was so engrossed in the characters and their story. I highly recommend this book.
Maertel More than 1 year ago
Wish I Had Been The Editor! This book has a FIVE STAR plot, but two things are missing: 1. What was Maya and A.J.'s life all about? > walks, food, talking, shopping, singing, playing games, and What was their experience of  the sounds, smells, and sights of Alice Island as well as impressions of the people they knew and met ? All the things that made up their days for all those years remain a mystery except for reading and sharing books.2. This book did not beg for, it demanded a sequel!There was/is no point to having A.J. Firky just die unless the author could not think of any other ending, which would be one sad thing to hear.
new-hampshire-reader More than 1 year ago
Not exactly what I thought it would be after I had read the overview. Slow moving. But it kept me interested enough to read it to the end. I admit I almost quit reading it several times, which I hate to do to a book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Compelling story and wonderful references to literature which makes this work an excellent choice for a high school English class.
The_Book_Wheel_Blog More than 1 year ago
If you love books and read one book this Fall, please, please, please let it be The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. Not only is this book that celebrates books, it’s THE book for book lovers. Not only was it recommended by Patti Callahan Henry as part of #30Authors, it’s one of the rare books that I read in one sitting. If you’ve ever been surprised in life and yelled, “plot twist!” or think about the people in your life in terms of main and secondary characters, then you will definitely relate to A.J. Fikry. In short, the book is a stunning tale of a bookstore owner navigating life after the untimely death of his wife. The long version is that it’s the story of a man who retreats into the safety of his books following his wife’s death, isolating himself from his friends, coworkers, and neighbors. Of course, A.J. lives in a small town, so when he locks himself in his apartment over the bookstore every night, people take notice. His sister-in-law frequently checks in to make sure he’s eating and cleaning and the former, non-reading cop becomes heavily invested in A.J.’s well-being. Following a robbery and the arrival of an unexpected package, A.J. slowly begins to emerge from his isolation and rejoins the world of the living, although he does so cautiously and somewhat reluctantly. Clever, dazzling, and poignant, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is one of those rare books that resonates with the readers in ways that go beyond the storyline itself. The main character’s love, passion, and respect for the written word is an integral part of the story because it’s the background, the setting, and the reason for reading on. - Allison @ The Book Wheel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an entirely delightful book! Well written, literate, well-developed characters that were both human and likeable. I strongly recommend this!
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
The Collected Works of A.J.Fikry (aka The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry) is the fifth stand-alone novel by American author, Gabrielle Zevin. Alice Island, a New England summer destination requiring bus and ferry travel, boasts a main street book store. Island Books is owned by recent widower, A.J.Fikry, an opinionated, often cranky man in his late thirties with a (self-described) porcupine heart. Since the unfortunate accidental death of his beloved wife, his plan has been to drink himself to death and drive his business to ruin. This plan is derailed by three occurrences: thirty-six-year-old sales representative for Knightley Press, Amelia Loman makes her first visit to Island Books to present the publisher’s Winter List (and is treated rather shabbily by A.J.); A.J.’s escape valve, a rare and valuable edition of Tamerlane, a collection of poems by Edgar Allan Poe, is stolen; and a bright two-year-old girl named Maya is left in his bookstore. Against all odds, A.J. finds himself (with frequent help from Google and occasional input from the Island’s residents) bringing up a young girl. Zevin has given the reader characters who are appealing despite their flaws, or perhaps because of them. The story has an element of mystery and the plot has a few unexpected twists. Each chapter is prefaced with a paragraph of A.J.’s comments for Maya about a certain literary work: advice for writing and advice for life. It contains many words of wisdom, making it, as others have said, a very quotable book: “Sometimes books don’t find us until the right time” and “We are not quite novels. We are not quite short stories. In the end, we are collected works” will resonate with many readers. This book is filled with lightness and dark, with laugh-out-loud moments and lines that will have the most cynical reader choking up. It is a book for anyone who loves to read or loves book stores, and lovers of fine literature will be especially captivated. This delightful read is one of those books that is almost impossible to put down and most readers will be sorry to reach the end. A keeper. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a delight! The characters are carefully delineated and well-drawn, and the plot line is simple, direct, and true. I laughed and smiled many times and enjoyed every sentence. This is an exceptionally good book, and reads quickly; a few hours of your time and you will be done......but then you will be missing the sweet characters you have met. A little gem of a book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. A great read.
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
As the story starts A.J. Fikry is a lonely sad man.   He has lost his wife and owns a book store that is barely making ends meet.  He is extremely opinionated and never hesitates to tell whoever asks exactly what he thinks.   I had a hard time connecting with A.J. Fikry.   He was not a person that I liked, I did feel bad for him living such a sad life.  As the story continues I begin to understand A.J. a little more.  As people start coming into his life, I see him coming out of his sad world a little more.   One thing that I always liked about A.J. is his absolute love of books, even if I didn’t always agree with his tastes. My favorite thing in this book is the bookstore.   I would love to find a small and hometown bookstore that stocks only books that will sell, but not always the most popular books.  Imagine finishing a book, walking into your own home (which is the bookstore) and just picking up another.  Never having to worry about what to read next.  You can change your mind at a whim and pick up another book.   That would be dream like to me.   This bookstore seemed to bring in people, not just readers, but people who were looking after A.J. and the bookstore.  People who cared about what happens to their town and want the bookstore to succeed.  These people became friends and some even family.  
LisaDunckley 4 months ago
This is a heartwarming, lovely, and literary tale. The premise is not necessarily unique—curmudgeonly man finds love—but the execution is wonderful! The setting is Alice Island, a fictional island off the coast of Massachusetts. AJ Fikry owns an eclectic neighborhood bookstore that he originally purchased with his wife, who was killed in a car accident two years ago. Amelia Loman is a newly hired book sales rep for a publisher. They instantly dislike each other. There are two incidents that happen early in the book that engineer everything else. The first is that the most valuable and rarest book that AJ owns is stolen out of his home. The second is that a two year old girl is abandoned in his store. These things serve to sort of wake AJ up from the half life he's been enduring since the death of his wife. His unmelting and opening up is gradually realized and very moving. Of course, AJ is unable to turn the girl, Maya, over to the social worker when the time comes, and he becomes her foster father and eventually adopts her. His education in child rearing is hysterical: “She always wants to read the same book. And it's, like, the crappiest board book. The Monster at the End of This Book?...Believe you me. She's got terrible taste in books.” I remember this book! And in fact, it was my book of choice to read to younger kids. The characters are wonderfully drawn. Some, like AJ, are not initially sympathetic but creep up on you. Some, in particular the police officer Lambiase, are likable immediately. Lambiase is the officer who has to inform AJ that his wife has been killed. In spite of this beginning, they form a friendship and Lambiase is drawn into a love of books despite himself. The book is funny and literary, with little vignettes about books (some real, some made up), and is one of those books that is going to stay with me, and that I will want to reread every year.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Touching story of what could be real people living life and seeking connection.
Anonymous 9 months ago
I read this book in a single evening, in approximately four hours. I laughed out loud at numerous passages, and shed actual tears at the end. The main character is the titular AJ Fikry, and in his initial appearance he is depressed and curmudgeonly. From the blurb on the back cover, I expected his stolen collection of Poe poems would be returned in a fairly short amount of time, maybe after some kind of soul-searching personal investigation where Fikry rediscovered the meaning of life or something. Instead, it's a story that covers a long period of time, and the mysterious package that arrives at his store is genuinely, truly life-changing, and not only for him, and shows how changes beget changes, for better or worse. The characters are a lot of fun; the inter-chapter shelf-talkers are cute but not especially memorable. The plot is not what one would call especially deep, and plenty of it is thoroughly predictable- but that doesn't detract from the pleasantness of the book in any way, as far as I'm concerned. This is an easy, indulgent, happy read.
SUEHAV 10 months ago
Just finished this book. Reminder me of Silas Marner. Loved it.
Anonymous 10 months ago
I loved it