The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

A Novel

Book - 2014
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An irresistible novel about second chances and finding room for all the books--and all the love--that transforms our lives

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, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly. 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. 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.

Publisher: Toronto, Ontario : Viking, 2014
ISBN: 9780143191278
Branch Call Number: ZEVI
Characteristics: 260 pages


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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

AL_KATI 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.

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AL_ALICIA 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?

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.

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."

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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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.

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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

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