Combining the zest of Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple and the charm of The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry does not disappoint. Fikry is a curmudgeonly book seller who is not really dealing with the death of his wife and is far more comfortable with his stacks of books than people. Fussy he is about those books too! No vampires or maudlin memoirs in his book store. Amelia Loman is Firky’s new sales rep for Knightly Press. Let’s just say their first meeting does not go well, bringing out the worst in Fikry’s prickly character. Under that crusty exterior, Fikry’s heart beats true, full of passion for well written words. A rare book will be stolen from Fikry and something surprising left in his store, those two events will change everything. At the beginning of each chapter is a book review by the irascible bookseller. If you love books, enjoy reading, and like your story spiced with just the right amount of humor, do not miss this incredible book. I did not stop turning pages until the story ended, and then I was sad because I would have enjoyed reading even more about these delightful characters.— Deon Stonehouse
This is one of those stories that grabs you right from the beginning. You immediately connect with the characters, they are real. It is the story of a bookseller whose store off the coast of Massachusetts is failing. It is failing because he is grieving over the death of his beloved wife. He is cranky and drinks too much, and he loves his books more than his customers. However, the reader soon realizes there is much more going on. There is an unconventional relationship with his lovely young publishing rep and a surprising new friendship with a local cop. The author also weaves in a couple of mysteries and surprises which force the bookseller into joining the human race again. It is an uncomplicated story of love, loss and the gifts of human kinship.— Lynn Hornbuckle
In the spirit of "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" and "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry," Gabrielle Zevin's enchanting novel is a love letter to the world of books--and booksellers--that changes our lives by giving us the stories that open our hearts and enlighten our minds. On the faded Island Books sign hanging over the porch of the Victorian cottage is the motto "No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World." A. J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means.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 Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who's always felt kindly toward Fikry; from Ismay, his sister-in-law who is hell-bent on saving him from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who keeps on taking the ferry over 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.And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It's a small package, but large in weight. It's that unexpected arrival that gives A. J. Fikry 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.; or for that determined sales rep, Amelia, to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light; or 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.