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.
Publisher: Toronto : Viking, 2014
ISBN: 9780670068241
Branch Call Number: FIC Zevin
Characteristics: 260 pages ; 22 cm


From the critics

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Feb 03, 2021

Wonderful hard-to-put down book. Great story line.

Jan 13, 2021

Modern Mrs Darcy

Dec 25, 2020

This is a charming quick read, but also clichéd and predictable. The irritable bookstore owner is a literary elitist through whom the author comments on the world of books and how they influence our outlook on life. “You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question: ‘What is your favorite book’?” Fortunately the protagonist has an expansive character arc as he softens throughout the plot development. I liked the structure of the protagonist’s journal commentary notes on a classic book which introduces each chapter. Themes of letting go, forgiveness, and the relevance of books and reading.

Sep 18, 2020

Delightful! Everything one could want in a light read.

Aug 19, 2020

It was a cute story with a sad ending. As far as books centered around grumpy old men go - I preferred "A Man Called Ove" but this book was decent.

Tried to give it 4/5 stars but somehow the website isn't working for me right now so it shows up as 5.

Jul 27, 2020

Easy reading, good for spending one-two evenings with a story. Though I rather regret that I picked it up.

Apr 14, 2020

I read this book while at home during COVID-19. It was Susan's H-T suggestion for book club. It was a light read.

Apr 07, 2020


Mar 04, 2020

The main character was just too unlikable for me

Jan 14, 2020

Good story and tribute to books and reading. My five star ratings are saved for layered books and sagas.

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ellensix Apr 09, 2018

How about I tell you what I don't like? I do not like postmodernism, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn't be-- basically, gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the Holocaust or any other major world tragedy to be distasteful-- nonfiction only, please. I do not like genre mashups a' la the literary detective novel or literary fantasy. Literary should be literary, and genre should be genre, and crossbreeding rarely results in anything satisfying. I do not like children's books, especially ones with orphans, and I prefer not to clutter my shelves with young adult. I do not like anything over four hundred pages or under one hundred fifty pages. I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and, I imagine this goes without saying-- vampires.

ArapahoeAlicia 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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Jul 05, 2019

After the death of his wife, A.J. Fikry forgets what life was like before the darkness. As the senile book store owner goes about life shutting out all the feelings he once had, his prize possession gets stolen, and with it, the largest amount of money he's ever come into. When a little girl appears in his store with a note leaving her in his possession, A.J. decides to keep the child, not expecting her to change his life the way she does. Walk along side A.J. as little girl Maya teaches him how to love again, and maybe even build a tolerance to others along the way. And maybe you might even forget all about the money.

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

Age Suitability

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Jul 05, 2019

KyraJR thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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Jul 05, 2019

Coarse Language: Some language when characters are upset

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