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The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry (2014)

by Gabrielle Zevin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,6895551,695 (3.98)388
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.
  1. 60
    Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (sturlington)
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    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (bell7, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    bell7: Though one is set in contemporary times on a fictional island of the coast of Massachusetts and the other in post World War II England, both books show the importance of story and have an optimistic tone while dealing with some of life's challenges.
    BookshelfMonstrosity: A love of literature helps protagonists form unlikely but rewarding new relationships in these tender stories of personal redemption. The vibrant characterization, gently humorous tone, and whimsical, heartwarming narratives shine in compelling novels that illustrate the power of reading.… (more)
  3. 40
    The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald (Micheller7)
  4. 10
    Silas Marner by George Eliot (TheDivineOomba)
    TheDivineOomba: The Storied Life of AJ Frikry is based off of Silas Marner.
  5. 00
    Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof (Electablue)
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    The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay (carriehh)

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» See also 388 mentions

English (560)  Italian (2)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (565)
Showing 1-5 of 560 (next | show all)
AJ Fikry is a curmudgeon of a bookshop owner, a widower and lit snob who lives alone above his store, eats a diet made up solely of frozen Indian food, and almost – but not quite – hates life in general. Then someone steals his extremely rare and valuable copy of Poe’s Tamerlane. And *then* someone leaves a baby in his store. These two things change his life pretty much completely, and for the better.

On the surface this novel doesn’t…do much, but I’m okay with that. Fikry’s character grows, sure. We get little life moments throughout, with a smattering of slightly larger ones, and they cumulate into, well, a storied life. There’s a come-full-circle-ness to it at the end that I think works well, and I really enjoyed how the small mysteries here and there come together in an interesting way. I don’t have too much to complain about here at all, beyond the ending veering a little too close to Sappytown, and if its intent is to be Literary Fiction, I think it tries a little too hard and therefore fails. But in that same vein, I kind of love that Fikry himself, who hates everything that’s not LF, would have very likely turned his nose up at the novel in which he’s the MC. And that’s delightfully fitting in a ton of ways. ( )
  electrascaife | Nov 22, 2023 |
This is a book I'd have never picked up if not for all the great recommendations from other readers. I figured it would take me a while to get into the book... not so. A.J.'s story reeled me in from the beginning!
( )
  JillHannah | Nov 20, 2023 |
Oh my.
I can't even begin to describe all the wonderful es of this book without telling plot points and I don't want to do that. Suffice to say I wanted to be in the life of AJ.Fikry, I loved Alice Island, I want to live here amongst the villagers, I want to hang out at the bookstore.
Every character is charming without being too squee...
This isn't a deep thinking book, but it wins you over with the cheeriness, the endless hopefulness, in the midst of a rainy snowy horrible February, this book made me smile.

I reread this book the summer of 2020, a much wiser summer, a sadder one, as I prepare to leave my equivalent of Alice and head back to Ontario. I’ll be leaving my beloved Doull Books, a bookstore that has magical properties, ever-expanding shelves, and the wisest of proprietors...
I have a secret source of joy, though- I am moving to a place of many bookstores, from the humble Bookland to Wayfarer books (another mystical spot).
It is true that a town has no heart without a bookstore.

This time reading through, I came across this quote, spoken in Fikry’s head:
“We are not quite novels....we are not quite short stories. ...In the end, we are collected works.”

So perfectly true. ( )
  Dabble58 | Nov 11, 2023 |
This was a really great read! I had heard such good things about this book when it first came out, that I was really curious to see if it would live up to my expectations. And I'm really glad it not only did that, it managed to surpass them as well! To be honest, by the time I actually got round to borrowing this book from my library, I had mostly forgotten what it was supposed to be about. I only remembered it had something to do with a bookshop, an irascible owner and an abandoned child. And that's basically what it is. At least, for the most part... Because this book is just so much more.

This is one of those books that somehow manages to touch upon everything with such grace, that we don't even realise just how much we're learning from them. So, forget the blurb! Yes, this is a book about a bookstore owner. But it also a book about love and loss. It's about learning to let go of the past, and embracing the future, with all its uncertainties and the fears it brings with it. This is a book about people, friends and families, and how just about anyone can surprise us, if you're only willing to give them the chance to. It's a book about mistakes, and coming back from them. It's about picking up the pieces after a tragedy; about learning to live, really live, again after you thought there was no reason to. In short, it's a book about life, with all its highs and lows, the good and the bad.

The writing in this book was just amazing, it managed to convey everything the characters were feeling in such a way that, in some points, I actually felt it too. And the characters! They were all so incredibly developed, and changed radically throughout the book. I loved to see them grow, to feel their pain and fears together with their happiness. There were a couple of characters that I would have liked to see more of, but still, it all worked quite beautifully just the way it was. Overall, I loved this book, and I really recommend it to everyone!

Originally published on Book For Thought. ( )
  bookforthought | Nov 7, 2023 |
Very enjoyable. A quick read about books and the people who love them. ( )
  secondhandrose | Oct 31, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 560 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zevin, Gabrielleprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Biekmann, LidwienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dompè, MaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Estúdio InsólitoCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guitry, AuroreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
come on, sweetheart
let's adore one another
before there is no more
of you and me.
For my parents,
who furnished my formative years with books,
and for the boy who gave me
The Stories of Vladimir Nabakov
all those winters ago.
First words
On the ferry from Hyannis to Alice Island, Amelia Loman paints her nails yellow and, while waiting for them to dry, skims her predecessor's notes.
They had only ever discussed books but what, in this life, is more personal than books? (p. 18)
You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, What is your favorite book? (p. 87)
Amelia knows she should hang up, but she doesn't. Some part of her wants the story. What is the point of bad dates if not to have amusing anecdotes for your friends?
Her mother likes to say that novels have ruined Amelia for real men.
In Amelia's experience, most people's problems would be solved if they would only give more things a chance.
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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.

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Gabrielle Zevin's book The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry was available from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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HighBridge Audio

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