The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

A Novel

Book - 2014
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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. The irascible A. J. Fikry, owner of Island Books, the only bookstore on Alice Island, has already lost his wife. Now, a rare book, has been stolen from right under his nose in the most embarrassing of circumstances. The store itself, it seems, will be next to go. One night upon closing, he discovers a toddler in his children's section with a note from her mother pinned to her Elmo doll: "I want Maya to grow up in a place with books and among people who care about such kinds of things. I love her very much, but I can no longer take care of her." A search for Maya's mother, A. J.'s rare book, and good childcare advice ensues, but it doesn't take long for the locals to notice the transformation of both bookstore and owner, something of particular interest to the lovely yet eccentric Knightley Press sales rep, Amelia Loman, who makes the arduous journey to Alice Island thrice each year to pitch her books to the cranky owner.
Published: Chapel Hill, North Carolina :, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill,, 2014.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781616204518
Branch Call Number: F ZEV
Characteristics: 270 pages ;,22 cm


From Library Staff

DBRL_ReginaF Mar 11, 2018

I'm a big fat sucker for sappy books about books. I make no apologies.

Bookstore owner A.J. Fikry is a lonely, grief-stricken, bitter man. Until an orphaned toddler wanders into his life and changes everything.

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TashD Mar 19, 2018

I have always loved characters who speak like we think. Although A.J's character starts off as grumpy and not very likable we learn about his life and quirky personality. The novel has a few surprises and laughs, its sweet and sad at the same time. I definitely recommend giving it a read.

DBRL_ReginaF Mar 11, 2018

I'm a big fat sucker for sappy books about books. I make no apologies.

AL_JILLK Feb 04, 2018

Lovely novel featuring lead character A.J. Fikry. He grows as an individual, father, and friend while running an island bookstore. You will laugh and you will cry.

Feb 02, 2018

I loved "Young Jane Young" by this author so I was looking forward to reading another (earlier) book by this author.
While I continue to like her writing style here, the story line didn't captivate me personally. This book had a nice "grumpy" character start but--while charming in parts-- it wasn't enough to retain my attention. (I got distracted by another book about half way and never returned.) I could see other people enjoying this plot style, though,continuing on...and proving that I should've at least completed it!

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.

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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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Chief's Choice Book Club:
Jeffrey Deaver


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