The Storied Life Of A J Fikry

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The Storied Life Of A J Fikry

by Gabrielle Zevin

Penguin Group Canada | April 1, 2014 | Hardcover

is rated 5 out of 5 by 1.

An irresistible novel about second chances and finding room for all the books - and all the love - that transform our lives<_o3a_p>

A.J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who''s always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.''s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.

<_o3a_p>And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming.<_o3a_p>

As surprising as it is moving, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read and why we love.<_o3a_p>

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 272 pages, 8.5 × 5.75 × 0.85 in

Published: April 1, 2014

Publisher: Penguin Group Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0670068241

ISBN - 13: 9780670068241

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from I'd love to have Island Books as my bookstore I absolutely adored Gabrielle Zevin's latest novel, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry! Although murder and mayhem is my favourite genre to read, I need to read a feel good story every so often. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a five star feel good! A.J. is the curmudgeonly owner of Island Books. The sign above the door also includes: "No man is an island: every book is a world." A.J. has made himself into an island though. His wife has died and so has a part of A.J. He doesn't like people and he drinks too much. A valuable book that was to have funded his retirement has been stolen - and it wasn't insured. What does life have left to offer A.J.? What does A.J. have left to offer to the world? Not much it seems, until the day a unusual 'package' is left in the bookstore.....And so begins a new chapter of life for A.J. Fikry.... Now, I have no desire to spoil this book for potential readers, so suffice to say, there is romance, heartbreak, heartwarming, drama, humour and much, much more contained within the pages of A.J.'s life. I was completely caught up in Zevin's wonderful story and spent most of one Sunday on Alice Island. Zevin has created such a wonderful cast of characters, each with a unique voice and their own story. A.J.'s wry comments and gruff attitude belie a gentle, caring soul. There is a wonderful cast of supporting characters as well. Best supporting goes to Police Chief Lambiese whose slow, easy manner hides an astute mind. I would love to attend the Chief's Choice book club. (with a focus on crime writers) The literary references, the bookseller and publisher rep comments and the descriptions of the bookstore will fill any booklover or bookseller with delight. I wanted to live in the little apartment above Island Books and hang out in the store below. Definitely a recommended read, guaranteed to warm the heart and soul. I had a quick listen to the audiobook version as well. Scott Brick (one of my favourites) is the reader and I thought his interpretation was spot on.
Date published: 2014-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Small gem of a novel! What a gem! A little book with a big heart. It grabbed me right away. I didn?t want to put it down because that would mean it was over?. I even read the acknowledgments to prolong the inevitable when I would have to let it go. ?The storied life of A.J. Fikry? did everything a work of fiction aspires to do. It made me think, it made me laugh, it made me weep. This is the simple story (in that all lives are simple ? yet vastly complicated at the same time) of bookstore owner A. J. Fikry who resides on a fictional island off the coast of Massachusetts. When we meet him he is a widower whose raw grief over the loss of his wife is ruining his life. He drinks to excess, alone. Then one day ? while drinking ? he decides to take out his prized possession. An invaluable copy of Edgar Allen Poe?s ?Tamerlane?. He is so drunk he gets sick and passes out. When he awakes the next morning his rare book is missing! Also, suspiciously? his kitchen has been cleaned up. He reports the theft to the police. Since he now feels that he owns nothing of any real value, he begins to leave his door open when he goes out. One day he returns to his bookstore to find that someone has left a baby. The little girl is accompanied only by a brief note and a stuffed Elmo. This abandoned child will come to forever change A.J.?s life. Maya is a charming, intelligent, beautiful and oh so precocious girl. He lovingly calls her his ?little nerd?. Another person who will rock his world is Amelie, a publishing sales representative. When first they meet he is bitter and still grieving his wife. He make a less than positive impression. Despite the rough start, over the years, their friendship develops into something more. A.J. Fikry, his family and friends, have left an indelible mark on this reader?s soul. A.J. Fikry believes you know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, What is your favorite book? Well A.J. I think your story is mine. A love letter to the world of books, booksellers, and life in general. Filled with quotes and wisdoms that will delight every person who considers themselves to be a bibliophile, Gabrielle Zevin?s novel will set the bar for other novels. I completely agree with the publisher?s statement that the novel is ?an unforgettable tale of transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.? Can?t recommend it enough?
Date published: 2014-07-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Ok Book but Horrible Ending Ending ruins the whole book, waste of time reading it and I would not recommend it to anyone. The story falls apart and is a huge disappointment. Not worth the read at all. Wish I never read it.
Date published: 2014-06-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not a great read I am glad I didn't pay full price for this novel. The first thing that I found right away with this novel that I found annoyed was the acronyms and references to "publishing speak" assumes the reader is familiar with them. For example ARCS is referred to and never explained and I looked up "galleys". But I did learn that at least. Right from the start I felt no connection with the characters. Not one of them. The seems flat. The author failed to make me care about what happened or didn't happen to them. The story is a tad implausible and at times way too predictable. The constant reference to different books seemed a bit pretentious to me. It got a little too much and didn't seem genuine at all. I felt alot more could have come of the story line. It was not very deeply explored. Shame really as I had heard lots of hype about this novel.
Date published: 2014-06-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Delightful A light summer read. An engaging novel that blends humour with a heart-warming storyline.
Date published: 2014-06-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from inviting cover and title Enjoyed this book but I felt that it lost its momentum about three-quarters of the way through the book. It became way too predictable and I lost interest in the characters and what happened to them. Rather too formula writing to deserve any more than 3 stars. But a good effort on the part of the author.
Date published: 2014-06-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Gorgeous Read. Gabrielle Zevin has just did it again, just like every other time. I am, and always have been a fan of this brilliant author's books, starting from the Chocolate trilogy, Elsewhere, The Anatomy of A Teenage Amnesiac, and now this. This is the first adult-based book I've read from Gabrielle Zevin, and I was very anxious to see how her writing style varies from YA to adult, but I found that she still writes the same way- witty, humorous and fun, just like always. She will leave you sitting there with a smile from your head to toes. This is an absolute bookkeeper's tale. Amelia, a Knightley Press sales rep steps into the Island Books shop and all she think is what a dull place. It is a bookstore owned by a widowed man who lives alone in the two room attic on top of the bookstore. When A.J. Fikry, that owner, lays his eyes on Amelia, is falls head over toes for her. She talks books with him and returns with new catalogs every season, and he looks forward to her visits every time. Adding to that bundle of happiness, a mysterious baby is left at his bookstore, with a letter pleading A.J. to keep the baby and adopt her and take of her. This is A.J.'s story, and it only begins once you open this book. Although this book is barely a month old, it feels like a bookworm classic, and I advise each and every one of you to head out and pick up this book. Have you ever read a tale about a bookstore owner? I think not, and Gabrielle Zevin has absolutely accomplished a first in book history. Finally, a cute contemporary book that has so much meaning and gorgeousness within and behind the story. You will fall in love with this instantly. This is another absolute 2014 favourite of mine. This book was so devouring, it was one of those books that you enjoy reading so much because it's different from anything else. It is nearly impossible to create some sort of replica of this book and start something new with a similar idea, and that's another reason why I loved it so much. This book was very fast paced, from beginning to end, despite the few bland and dull moments that had occurred, and those moments were my only problem with this book. Other than that, it was perfection, although perfection in books rarely occur. These characters were genius. I loved A.J. so much. I felt that I could relate to him a lot, especially with our deep love of books and what we see in books that non-bookworms don't see. If you're a hardcore bookworm/fangirl, then you will relate to A.J. so much and you will get inspired by him, which characters rarely do to readers. Want a character-to-reader bond? Say hello to this. *waves* I actually related to most of these characters. Bits and pieces of them completed me. Maya was another girl who was similar to me. There aren't many young people out there who love to read and write compared to the opposite population. But, for once, Maya was a character in a book who loved books and saw something special in them, just like her dad did too. Her story was deep and unique and was worth sharing and creating. All of these characters were special and were like one big family. Everyone had something special and different about them, and everyone went through some sort of hardship- Ismay and Nicholas finding each other, or Maya finding her parents. Everyone made a difference and helped thios book become something that it was supposed to be and more. This was made out of many genres- romance, chick-lit, tragedy, adventure, relationships, realistic fiction, and it was all smushed up together to create brilliance that will stun readers for years to come. Go and pick up this book right now, or just skip reading the rest of the review and just read this sentence what I just wrote. :)
Date published: 2014-05-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry I picked up this book following a very intense read and was looking for something that had substance, well written a good story line but also a book that wouldn't make me feel sad. "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry" gave it to me. It was a delightful book and I would highly recommend it.
Date published: 2014-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A story full of whimsy and wonder Sometimes the best books we ever read in our life time is the ones you pick up on a whim, with out any prior information. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is one of those stories. This beautifully story about a bookseller on a small island just if the coast of Rhode Island is enchanting. For the book lovers, the casual readers and the ones who don't read at all this story satisfies all these categories while making amazing references from as old as Poe and as recent as Zusak. Easily one of my favourite reads of 2014 so far. 
Date published: 2014-04-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lovely book about books I really liked this book because it's about, well... books! The author writes a simple, short novel about a bookstore owner and how his life is changed by finding a toddler in his bookstore. There is none of the boring, everyday, what he had for breakfast, how he got dressed, etc. etc. in this story. I loved that! A.J. starts out as kind of a grumpy bookseller, snobbish in his tastes and moves on to be a better man, happier and not quite so snobbish. I loved the other characters as well, the policeman who discovers a love of reading, the bookseller, and of course, Maya. The actual book references were great and covered a lot of genres
Date published: 2014-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lovely story A wonderful tale about how life can change given a new, unexpected circumstance. The characters are well developed and each have their own charming personalities. If you love books and the independent book store, you'll certainly be able to identify with this.
Date published: 2014-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great characters and story As a bookseller, I immediately identified with the characters and situations in this novel. The storyline moves quickly, with many twists and touching scenes. The characters who populate this novel are varied and realistic. That they are changed by books is not at all surprising to me. Their world is one that all book lovers will appreciate. I would definitely recommend this book to book clubs and all fans of books. It will move you deeply and generate conversation about the books that have touched your life and the lives of other readers in your life.
Date published: 2014-04-06

– More About This Product –

The Storied Life Of A J Fikry

by Gabrielle Zevin

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 272 pages, 8.5 × 5.75 × 0.85 in

Published: April 1, 2014

Publisher: Penguin Group Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0670068241

ISBN - 13: 9780670068241

From the Publisher

An irresistible novel about second chances and finding room for all the books - and all the love - that transform our lives<_o3a_p>

A.J. Fikry&rsquo;s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore&nbsp;is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession,&nbsp;a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island&mdash;from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who''s always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.''s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have&nbsp;stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, A.J. can only see them as a sign of a&nbsp;world that is changing too rapidly.

<_o3a_p>And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It&rsquo;s a small package, though large in weight&mdash;an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make&nbsp;his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn&rsquo;t take long for the locals to&nbsp;notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to&nbsp;see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.&rsquo;s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life&nbsp;that he didn&rsquo;t see coming.<_o3a_p>

As surprising as it is moving,&nbsp;The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry&nbsp;is an unforgettable tale of&nbsp;transformation and second chances, an irresistible affirmation of why we read and&nbsp;why we love.<_o3a_p>

About the Author

Gabrielle Zevin's debut, Margarettown, was a selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program. The Hole We're In was on Entertainment Weekly's Must List and was a New York Times Editor's Choice. Gabrielle's best known young adult novel is Elsewhere, an American Library Association Notable Children's Book, was nominated for a Quill Award and received the Borders Original Voices Award. The book has been translated into over 20 languages. She is the screenwriter of Conversations with Other Women (Helena Bonham Carter, Aaron Eckhart) for which she received an Independent Spirit Award Nomination. In 2009, she and director Hans Canosa adapted her novel Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac (ALA Best Books for Young Adults) into the Japanese film, Dareka ga Watashi ni Kiss wo Shita. She has also written for the New York Times Book Review and NPR's All Things Considered. Gabrielle's eighth novel, the New York Times Bestseller The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, was published in April 2014 by Algonquin in the US. Zevin is a graduate of Harvard University.

Editorial Reviews

"Zevin has done something old-fashioned and fairly rare these days. She has written an entertaining novel, modest in its scope, engaging and funny without being cloying or sentimental. On top of all that, it is marvelously optimistic about the future of books and bookstores and the people who love both." - The Washington Post
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