The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

Book - 2014
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May 10, 2019

It’s hard for me to be objective about a book that’s clearly written for bibliophiles, but I’ll try my absolute best. This book, spoke to my soul. It awakened something deep inside of me, and made me nostalgic for a feeling I’m still having trouble describing. Like a lost afternoon in childhood, sitting on a tree stump with a friend from the neighborhood, you know it was time well spent though you didn’t do anything that was particularly noteworthy. It’s an afternoon you’ll never get back, and you’ll forget about it in the years to come, only to remember it when you least expect it, and you can’t quite place why.

This book knew all of the words to say, the precise words to say, to fill up my heart and last me with warmth for awhile. It’s beautiful, and saying that still feels like I’m not giving it enough credit.

I wish it were longer. I wish I didn’t have to say goodbye. I saw the end coming from miles away, usually that leads me to deduct a 1/2-1 star, but in this case I’m just not sure. A.J. Fikry himself ponders this in the book- “is a twist less satisfying if you see it coming? Is a twist that you can’t predict symptomatic of bad construction?” To that end I wonder if I see it coming because it’s predictable due to all the books that came before it (that’s bad) or if it’s because it’s good world building within the book (that’s good)? Regardless.... I’m torn between giving this book a 4.5 or 5. For now, it’s a five. It knew the way to my heart.

Apr 23, 2019

November 2019

Oct 24, 2018

A struggling book store owner A. J. Fikry lives alone until one day a package is dropped off...
a modern day fable about 2nd chances....delightful read

Apr 07, 2018

I loved this story and the characters. While not the usual genre you would call a "page turner", I did have a hard time breaking away from the book. The characters thoughts and the narrative of their actions showed them to be real people, with life experiences that made them who they were, at least in those moments. I enjoyed the development of the story and the interconnecting lines between the characters.
I also always love a a book that has an element of reading other stories and books as part of the story line. I wrote many of the short story titles down to check them out later.

TashD Mar 19, 2018

I have always loved characters who speak like we think. Although A.J's character starts off as grumpy and not very likable we learn about his life and quirky personality. The novel has a few surprises and laughs, its sweet and sad at the same time. I definitely recommend giving it a read.

DBRL_ReginaF Mar 11, 2018

I'm a big fat sucker for sappy books about books. I make no apologies.

ArapahoeJillK Feb 04, 2018

Lovely novel featuring lead character A.J. Fikry who grows as an individual, father, and friend while running an island bookstore. You will laugh and you will cry.

Feb 02, 2018

I loved "Young Jane Young" by this author so I was looking forward to reading another (earlier) book by this author.
While I continue to like her writing style here, the story line didn't captivate me personally. This book had a nice "grumpy" character start but--while charming in parts-- it wasn't enough to retain my attention. (I got distracted by another book about half way and never returned.) I could see other people enjoying this plot style, though,continuing on...and proving that I should've at least completed it!

Oct 12, 2017

Pleasant and charming. A fairy tale of sorts.

Librarian_Deb Sep 29, 2017

A.J. Fikry is an odd duck. He'a a reclusive owner of a bookstore with vary narrow literary tastes. He has isolated himself after the death of his wife. So when Amelia, a sale rep for a publishing house, calls on him to pitch their new winter line the meeting does not go well. But then something happens that changes everything for him. Actually two things happen - a priceless possession is lost, and a child comes into his life in the most unexpected way. Suddenly A.J. needs other people in his life, and the resulting changes as he learns to open up to others, care for a toddler, and love again are most satisfying to listen to. I definitely recommend this to book lovers who enjoy warmhearted stories

ArapahoeKati Aug 24, 2017

If you love to read about books and book stores, this novel will be your kindred spirit.

Jul 26, 2017

loved it

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.

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.

LPL_TriciaK 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: )

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Jan 17, 2017

A good, heartwarming, engaging story, really sweet.

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.

SPL_Stephanie Nov 25, 2016

Through a heart wrenching story of love and loss, Gabrielle Zevin takes us on an adventure following the life of a peculiar bookstore owner named A.J. Fikry. After the tragic loss of his wife, Fikry plummets into a destructive state of alcoholism and depression. When a young child is left at his bookshop, the stubborn book lover is forced to reconsider his life choices and to make difficult decisions.

Filled with joyful surprises and tragic twists, this quick read provides reading recommendations that will provide much-needed bibliotherapy for all. If you enjoyed the heartwarming elements of A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman or the eccentricity of Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald, you are sure to enjoy this witty and engaging novel.

Sep 20, 2016

I loved this book! Entertaining and poignant, and a rare feature, no unnecessary wordiness. I read it a year ago and it's one the few that I remember and think about.

Brooke222 Sep 15, 2016

Such a warm and touching book. You'll never be alone, even though you're all by yourself. Something will definitely happen, just in the corner.

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