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
"Zevin is a deft writer, clever and witty, and her affection for the book business is obvious." (Publishers Weekly)
heartfelt, charming, moving
I strongly dislike Scott Brick. I had already committed to listening to this book when I realized he was the narrator. I have heard other people say that if you speed him up, he's not as terrible, which is what I did. It made the narration much more tolerable.
I think this was just feel good literary fiction. It didn't have any lulls in the story, and I just enjoyed it. Some of the characters had a little bit to be desired, like the sister-in-law, but otherwise, great story.
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
This is a wonderful story, made almost impossible to listen to by Scott Brick's pretentious narration! This makes half a dozen Brick books I've listened to, and I have yet to find a book that Brick narrated in such a way that it suited the story and characters. (Sorry all Scott Brick fans.)
That said, if you love books, you'll love the story of this bookstore and the delightful characters who caretake the shop on a small island on the coast of Rhode Island. Be forewarned; the first few chapters may be painful with Brick's gratuitous enunciations, inflections and lack of character accents. It took me some time to get beyond the narration, but the story grabbed me, so I resigned myself to Brick's faults and went forward.
It is a very contemporary story about the plight of today's independent book sellers. The story has lots of great twists and turns for all of the story's characters which gave this book great charm.
I halfway wish I would have read the story from a real paper book. That way, I could have imagined the tone of voice and accents that Zevin surely intended his characters to have.
There are few books I've listened to on Audible that I truly wish I had read instead. This is one of those books because Scott Brick's over the top contrived inflection is exhausting to listen to. Breathy and annoying .
Usually, I do not like S.B.'s narration, since he tends to over-dramatize everything but with regard to this audiobook, his performance was much more enjoyable, causing me to laugh at some points and cry at others. Only wish he did not read so terribly slow! With regard to the story, it was definitely heart-warming, not to mention original and quirky. Loved the references to books as well. The character development was actually pretty decent, allowing the listener to relate to each of the main ones and even empathize with them. Purchased book on sale but would absolutely use a credit to buy.
I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.
I did not know what to expect with this book, only that it had some great reviews. It took me a bit to get into the book. In fact, I almost gave up on it, as I often find I need a book to grab me from the first in order to retain interest. However, slowly, the character of A.J. began to take form. What followed was nothing less than the sweetest, most moving story I've read in awhile. A touching but not sickeningly sweet romance and a metamorphosis of a man from a crotchety, mean bookseller into a legend. What a winner.
I bought this for a road trip with my family on a two-for-one credit deal (I am one of two adult children to still married parents and we all vacation together once a year.) I was pleasantly surprised by the content, the performance, and the writing.
The book flows nicely. There a few choppy spots and hurried passages, but for the most part it was engaging and made me both laugh and cry along with my mother. We greatly enjoyed the book and the length was perfect for our trip. We only say in the car for eight extra minutes to hear the ending which was a pleasant little coincidence.
The story is heartfelt and moving and fun. I liked the character's personalities although I found the description of Maya's communications as a child a little far fetched.
Overall the book was a great read and I'm very happy I purchased it.
I loved this book. Devoured it in three days. It's the kind of book that leaves you sad after finishing it. because you know it will be a long time before you encounter another book of its stature. Just a beautiful, beautiful book. Don't miss it.
I'm not eager to try another book by Gabrielle Zevin, this one was very difficult to finish. I forced myself to finish listening to find out why some readers seemed to love this book. I normally enjoy Scott's narrations, but he was a little too dramatic with this book. Probably to enhance the dull writing/story.
Yes, I enjoy Scott Brick's performances.
I didn't even like this book; no redeeming qualities I can think of.
No.The story was good, the plot lines came together but it needed an editor who was thinking about the intelligence of the reader; it slogged where it shouldn't, the characters took too long to get where they were obviously intended to get, and it was just too self-consciously about books.
This question would really annoy A. J. Fikry.
It wasn't a complete waste but I don't feel like I gained much of anything from listening to this story. I kept waiting for something to really hook me but nothing really did. It was a nice story but nothing new or particularly noteworthy. I felt like the author thought they were being reverential by incorporating books into the story but it felt gratuitous rather than clever. Also, when trying to write an entire story with clichés, don't point out that everything IS a cliché only to claim WAIT, THIS TIME IT FITS. Like I said, gratuitous rather than clever.
I would classify this as a sort of slice of life fiction which I'm generally a fan of. I think the pacing/stories/resolutions built into the narrative wrapped up too neatly or were too heavy-handed for me to feel attached to anything about this piece.
Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" - He was simply amazing in that. He wasn't bad in this either, I just can't quite tell whether I like him 100% as a narrator or if the material he reads needs to be exceptional for me to give him 5 stars. So far, I'm leaning towards the latter.
The cover art was exceptional.
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