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The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry | [Gabrielle Zevin]

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

The irascible A. J. Fikry, owner of Island Books - the only bookstore on Alice Island - has already lost his wife. Now his most prized possession, 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.
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Publisher's Summary

The irascible A. J. Fikry, owner of Island Books - the only bookstore on Alice Island - has already lost his wife. Now his most prized possession, 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.

©2014 Gabrielle Zevin. Recorded by arrangement with Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing Company, Inc. (P)2014 (p) 2014 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"Zevin is a deft writer, clever and witty, and her affection for the book business is obvious." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1458 )
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4.2 (1287 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Trish Virginia 04-30-14
    Trish Virginia 04-30-14 Member Since 2010

    I have always loved to read, and now I really enjoy listening to my books as well!!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Loved, Loved, Loved It!!"

    It has been a while since I’ve read or listened to a great book and wanted to get a review posted right away—but happily, I have just finished one and can’t wait to tell others!!

    The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry is that book. I was intrigued by the summary, and loved the idea of an independent bookseller being the central character. What a charming story!! I was hooked from the beginning, and was enthralled throughout. It is cute, quirky, funny, sad—heart-tuggingly sad—and I loved every minute of it! The story is original and very well written, and Scott Brick does an excellent job with the narration.

    I truly hope this book finds an audience—it deserves to—and I intend to help it along!

    29 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Galt 04-05-14
    John Galt 04-05-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Delightful story for book lovers"
    Any additional comments?

    A depressed bookstore owner who has lost everything important to him...(except his books) finds something unexpected waiting for him in his shop which completely changes his life. References to other books and famous authors are scattered throughout this story of the effect books can have upon your life.

    By far the best book I've read this year.

    20 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Sorensen Tacoma, WA 04-15-14
    B. Sorensen Tacoma, WA 04-15-14

    breeze27

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Tale for Booksellers"

    I am almost at a loss for words regarding my love for the Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. While I want the entire world to know this book, I also want to keep it to myself for a little while. I felt that Gabrielle Zevin wrote this book for me (and other booksellers), but mostly for me. As a life-long book lover, and a bookseller for the better part of the last decade, this book captured exactly why those of us in the book-business do what we do. Ironic, I know, considering Audible is an Amazon company. I'm justifying this choice by telling myself it's different since I got this through the 30-day free trial. Don't ruin my fantasy.

    This is a tale of love, loss, and redemption. While it certainly stroked my bookseller/lover ego in all the right places, I wouldn't say it's strictly for these audiences. More than anything, it's a tale about community, and the surprising relationships that can develop over shared stories, whether in books or reality.

    I struggled with the narration for the same reason I struggle with most audio books: the narrator's performance didn't match the way I would have read the physical book. It was a bit too dramatic for my tastes. That being said, if you're a regular listener of audio books, you will probably find the performance fantastic, as I found it better than most.

    Overall, I would recommend you read this book, or give it too the book-lover in your life. I think I'm going to special order a physical copy from my local indie bookstore.

    39 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marti 06-28-14
    Marti 06-28-14
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    "Cozy with Family and Literature"

    I am an odd "reader" of audible. I keep something playing at all times, even when asleep or away. Some books are great but I can only deal with once, while some book albums would have been broken from heavy usage, if we were still using tapes. This book is lovely and I'm delighted to add such a cozy situation, much made of literary bonds.

    Caution: the book takes awhile to pick-up and establish itself. I worry some readers will give-up before giving the book a full two hours.

    As far as the narrator is concerned, it is hard to say. My guess is that Scott Brick is somebody you either like or you don't. His style is distinctive.

    Happy reading.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dina LAKE ZURICH, IL, United States 06-21-14
    Dina LAKE ZURICH, IL, United States 06-21-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Just Missed the Mark"

    The reviews of this book were so stellar, I thought I couldn't help but enjoy it. And, the beginning started out really strong with the premise of the widowed bookshop owner and the unexpected things that get him back to living. The book references just didn't save the plot as it started to unravel about halfway through the novel. From then on, there were hints dropped that just never went anywhere. I had this great idea about the ending, but the real ending was just downright depressing. A good first effort by Gabrielle Zevin, but needed a seasoned editor to tighten/add depth to the story.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ken Draeger SCOTTSDALE, AZ, US 04-06-14
    Ken Draeger SCOTTSDALE, AZ, US 04-06-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Literary Lovely"

    Well written with strong character development. Some mystery well seasoned with tangled twists keeps you tuned in. The exploration of why we read and why some gifted persons write is also worthy of note.
    "Bookies" will love the constant mentions of other books and authors. It pushes you to jot these down since finding other worthwhile authors and reads is a never ending quest for those of us who enjoy reading.
    Cheers, Ken

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RueRue 04-08-14
    RueRue 04-08-14

    RueRue

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    "Absolutely loved it !"
    What made the experience of listening to The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry the most enjoyable?

    This is a story for people who love book stores and who love to read. Unfortunately, this was the wrong narrator for such a charming book. I so wish someone else had done the narration. That said, the charm of the characters and the wonderful story still held up. This book made me smile and cry.
    LOVED IT !


    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ReluctantReader 04-27-14
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    "I loved AJ Fikry's Storied Life!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry the most enjoyable?

    The Narrator, Scott Brick, did an excellent job of what I think AJ Fikry would have sounded like - the boredom, the care, the longing.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Amelia. I kept on picturing Penelope from Criminal Minds, just so quirky and likeable! She is also quite smart, and can go toe to toe with AJ, yet when he flubbed on the whole Late Bloomer fiasco, she considered his feelings first. Despite the grump AJ was, they complemented one another.


    What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

    He *was* A.J. Fikry.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, I wanted to hang onto it for a while - I listened to it in 3 sittings.


    Any additional comments?

    It seems like all stories these days need a vampire or a dystopian society. This story has a hook - the baby left in a bookstore, but we aren't hammered with that. The baby grows up, has a normal life, Her dad gets married - it's just normal. People who are self proclaimed book snobs, and live on an island - are just normal. It was a breath of fresh air. It might help that I too believe that you should share some sensibility with the person you love...or who loves you.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deb Waynesville, NC, United States 04-22-14
    Deb Waynesville, NC, United States 04-22-14 Member Since 2011
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    "wonderful story"

    This is not a complicated or harsh story nor is it a mushy love story. It is a wonderful well written story that I'm sure I will listen to again.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jenine W. Hemphill El Paso, TX USA 09-01-14
    Jenine W. Hemphill El Paso, TX USA 09-01-14 Member Since 2013
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    "The performance ruins this book."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    This book is great to read but Scott Brick ruins it by his performance. I've heard him before and been very pleased. He reads this as tho he's reading to a pre-schooler. Love the book, an especially good story. Chose to listen to it also from the description in the Audible magazine but so disappointed. Can't listen to the rest of it.


    What other book might you compare The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry to and why?

    It's unique.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Scott Brick’s performances?

    Yes, know he can be good.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The story itself is great.


    Any additional comments?

    I recommend the book wholeheartedly but read only, not to listen to.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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