Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Storied Life of A J Fikry

Title:  A Storied Life of A J Fikry
Author:  Gabrielle Zevin
Publication Information:  Algonquin Books. 2014. 272 pages.

Book Source:  I received this book as a publisher's galley through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Quote:  "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 ... Read these and know my heart. We are not quite novels ... We are not quite short stories ... In the end, we are collected works."

A. J. Fikry is the owner of a small independent bookstore, Island Books, on a small island, Alice Island. His is the only bookstore on the island, catering to the small year round population in the winter and the burst of business that the summer visitors to the island bring. Surrounding him are the visitors to his bookstore, his wife's sister and her husband, the local police chief who becomes a friend, and the book rep of one of the publishers he deals with.

A.J. is a little lost. His beloved wife died suddenly. His bookstore is not doing well, and his prize possession - a rare book, of course - has been stolen. He is alone and isolated.

One day, an unexpected "package" arrives at his store, and changes his life forever. The story is about what follows that day in A.J's life. Peppered throughout at his notes on a variety of stories, some that I have read and some that are now going on my ever-lengthening to read list.

This book has been described as a "love letter to the world of books" which, of course, immediately appeals to me. It's a sweet story of ordinary people getting through life. That is its appeal. It's real. The fact that the setting is an independent bookstore certainly adds to that appeal. The book makes me feel like I am welcomed into the characters' world and become a part of it. I end the book still feeling warm and cozy.

At one point, A.J. writes, "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?" This is one of my recent favorites. Wonder what this tells you about me?

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