Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Book Club Pick: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
258 pages
ISBN: 9781616203214

Available April 1, 2014

From the author's website:

“Funny, tender, and moving, it reminds us all exactly why we read and why we love.”—Starred, Library Journal

“In this sweet, uplifting homage to bookstores, Zevin perfectly captures the joy of connecting people and books . . . Filled with interesting characters, a deep knowledge of bookselling, wonderful critiques of classic titles, and very funny depictions of book clubs and author events, this will prove irresistible to book lovers everywhere.” —Booklist

“Surprisingly expansive… Zevin is a deft writer, clever and witty, and her affection for the book business is obvious.” —Publishers Weekly

“Sometimes funny, sometimes true to life and always entertaining . . . A likable literary love story about selling books and finding love.” —Kirkus Reviews

“I don’t appreciate the position I’m in with The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. I resent the skill and verve that Ms. Z. shows in this quirky, punchy novel. I don’t like that it’s so readable, so appealing. I disdain its damnable charm, its succinctness, its crisp, clear tone! AAAUGH! . . . VERDICT: This lightning fast read is super-enjoyable; hide it inside a Popular Mechanics.” —Library Journal‘s Books for Dudes blog

From the publisher's The Algonquin Reader, Volume 3, issue 1, says Zevin:

"The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, my eighth novel, is about a bookstore and a bookseller and a stolen manuscript and a girl abandoned in a poorly stocked children's section. You must already know how this is going to end--I've already told you I come from a family who believed that no child left in a bookstore ever came to any harm."

Blogger's Review:

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is THAT book that will stick with you for years to come, nay not years,  decades to come. It is everything that a novel should be! Zevin's carefully crafted prose and dynamic word choice  is evocative of  F. Scott Fitzgerald's finest writing.

Widower A.J. Fikry owns a small book shop on Alice Island just off the coast of Cape Cod. Fikry's wife Nic died in a car accident a year prior, and he mourns her death daily. His small book shop's proceeds are slipping; summer people buy a few books but they do not have A.J.'s  refined  and somewhat pompous taste in literature.

One morning a bleary eyed, hungover  Fikry discovers he's been robbed! His priceless manuscript of Tamerlane has been filched, and his early  retirement is now out of the question. A strange but not unwelcome discovery left in the children's section of the book shop  changes Fikry's life forever.

What does it mean to love and be loved? Can a persnickety pessimist find love again? What does it take to heal a broken man?

This novel reminds readers that life is short, true friends are priceless, blessings are numbered, and when something unexpected happens, revel in happiness, and let go of  sorrows.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is about the relationship a writer has with the reader of his carefully crafted story and that  sense of fulfillment that a reader takes away from a story. Zevin's characters honor books and reading and truly commit themselves to fine writing. Any reader who loves books and lives for books will find a treasure trove of gems  in The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.

This novel will break publishing records and is likely to be around for a very long time. Rights have been sold in 20 different countries, and book stores may have trouble keeping up with demand for this title. My top three books of all time has just changed. The top three of all time are: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and Life Among Giants. If I could only read those three books for the rest of my life, it would be more than enough to keep me happy.

So highly recommended that I'm shouting it from the rooftop: Buy this book! It will change your life.
Highly, highly recommended for mature readers and adults. Adult situations. Life situations.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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