Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

If you're reading this, you probably like books.

Do you like books about books?

If so, stop reading this, and put The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry on hold immediately.

A.J. Fikry owns a small bookshop on Alice Island.  After his wife's tragic death, he now lives alone in an apartment above the store, with only a very-valuable first edition Edgar Allen Poe volume to keep him company.

When this rare book is stolen, he decides he has nothing else of value, and starts leaving his door unlocked, only to come home one day and find something very unexpected left waiting for him in his store, changing his life forever.

With a host of sympathetic and well-drawn characters, Zevin paints a full picture of a charming island town and its inhabitants. Her love of books is evident, both in the chapter intros (each a summary of a well-known short story) and her depictions of life in a bookstore.  For example, this paragraph about describing the selections of a book group made my laugh out loud with recognition:
"In April, The Paris Wife. In June, A Reliable Wife.  In August, American Wife. In September, The Time Traveler's Wife. In December, he runs out of decent books with wife in the title.  They read Bel Canto"* 
A beautifully-written, quick read, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a must-read for booklovers (and especially librarians) everywhere.

Readers who enjoy this should also check out The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde

*sidenote: I do highly recommend Bel Canto (reviewed here on vbplrecommends by Lennis) .

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