The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

Book - 2014
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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
ISBN: 9781616203214
1616203218
Characteristics: 260 pages ; 22 cm

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KyraJR
Jul 05, 2019

I had to read this book for a school assignment, and found myself pleasantly surprised on how I came to feel for the characters, especially odd man Fikry. Definitely a book for people who like books. If this is on a list of school-read options, I would give it a try.

k
kibister
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.

a
annabug4
Apr 23, 2019

November 2019

m
MillieBT
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

m
MarshMeyer
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.

c
CabiriCat
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!

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dirtbag
Oct 12, 2017

Pleasant and charming. A fairy tale of sorts.

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ellensix Apr 09, 2018

How about I tell you what I don't like? I do not like postmodernism, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn't be-- basically, gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the Holocaust or any other major world tragedy to be distasteful-- nonfiction only, please. I do not like genre mashups a' la the literary detective novel or literary fantasy. Literary should be literary, and genre should be genre, and crossbreeding rarely results in anything satisfying. I do not like children's books, especially ones with orphans, and I prefer not to clutter my shelves with young adult. I do not like anything over four hundred pages or under one hundred fifty pages. I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and, I imagine this goes without saying-- vampires.

ArapahoeAlicia 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.

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KyraJR
Jul 05, 2019

After the death of his wife, A.J. Fikry forgets what life was like before the darkness. As the senile book store owner goes about life shutting out all the feelings he once had, his prize possession gets stolen, and with it, the largest amount of money he's ever come into. When a little girl appears in his store with a note leaving her in his possession, A.J. decides to keep the child, not expecting her to change his life the way she does. Walk along side A.J. as little girl Maya teaches him how to love again, and maybe even build a tolerance to others along the way. And maybe you might even forget all about the money.

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

Age

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KyraJR
Jul 05, 2019

KyraJR thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Notices

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KyraJR
Jul 05, 2019

Coarse Language: Some language when characters are upset

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