The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

A Novel

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
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When his most prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, is stolen, bookstore owner A. J. Fikry begins isolating himself from his friends, family and associates before receiving a mysterious package that compels him to remake his life.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2014
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781616203214
1616203218
Branch Call Number: FICTION ZEVIN 2014
Characteristics: 260 pages ; 22 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Join the discussion on August 17, 2017. A. J. Fikry is despondent after losing his wife and witnessing the declining sales at his bookstore. Can the mysterious gift delivered to his doorstep give him a chance to make his life over again?

He starts out as a curmudgeon but transitions into a pretty great adoptive father! - Bob R.

When his most prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, is stolen, bookstore owner A. J. Fikry begins isolating himself from his friends, family and associates before receiving a mysterious package that compels him to remake his life.

When his most prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, is stolen, bookstore owner A. J. Fikry begins isolating himself from his friends, family and associates before receiving a mysterious package that compels him to remake his life.

A curmudgeonly bookstore owner, is resigning himself to being miserable when he discovers an abandoned baby in his store one morning. Though this sounds too saccharine to be believed, it's a charming and very entertaining book.


From the critics


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j
julia_sedai
May 23, 2017

I liked it because it's a book about books, bookstores, book people ... The tense was weird but I got used to it pretty quickly. The characters were great, I loved the conversations. Not much else to say about this book. I just didn't love it. Still, recommended if you like bookish books and people.

m
mstpier4
May 04, 2017

I found this book on the ‘just returned’ shelves at Central Library awhile back and immediately fell in love with the cover, took it home and finished my first read, then purchased my own copy. A second read of this story of a young bibliophile-curmudgeon’s small town (or rather, island) bookstore and his journey was just as beautiful as the first. There is hope and tenderness in A.J.’s heartbreaking story… and more than a few hearty laughs along the way.

t
tkarlin
Apr 17, 2017

One of the NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour crew recommended this book, so I thought I'd give it a go. A sweet, light story with a bit of a mystery woven in. If you love reading, books, bookstores, and a touch of romance, you'll enjoy this book. Bonus: each chapter begins with a reading recommendation by the main character, A.J. Fikry, so you can add some titles to your 'next reads' list! ( Here's a link to the Pop Culture podcast where the book was recommended: http://www.npr.org/sections/monkeysee/2017/03/24/520807945/beauty-and-the-beast-music-and-more-from-south-by-southwest )

m
misswindsor
Apr 11, 2017

This was a comfort read for me. I love reading books about books and I loved A.J. Fikry. Endearing and entertaining.

h
hvalmeo
Apr 02, 2017

I liked the writing style of this author. The main character was not meant to be likeable and yet I can't help but respect his perspective on life, books, love and death. I've been thinking about opening my own bookstore down the road. This book gave me a glimpse of what it could be. It's meant to be -- me reading this book at this time. Even if you are not into bookstores or books, I recommend this book for its insights on what makes life worth living.

w
wongsokguan
Mar 17, 2017

Sweet story about a widower whose life changes when a toddler is dropped into his book store. He finds community support that he didn't know existed.

j
jerksister1
Feb 27, 2017

Initially, I thought this was a remake of Silas Marner but then as the story progressed it became its own. Very enjoyable and interesting. Enjoyed her writing style and will try another book by this author.

c
chloecat
Feb 03, 2017

I loved this book, and it is not my usual style. I think you either love it, or not. The magical aspect was fitting for the characters and the story. Highly recommend.

s
s390325
Jan 17, 2017

A good, heartwarming, engaging story, really sweet.

i
indigotime
Dec 01, 2016

I really liked this book. Nothing earth-shaking, but just simple, nice, encouraging fun. I think it qualifies as a "feel good" book.

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Quotes

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AL_ALICIA 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.

Summary

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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.

A Prayer for Owen Meany
Silas Marner
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:
Jeffrey Deaver

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