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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

Critic Reviews

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

What listeners say about The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • 1 Stars
    96

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

189 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

good book, weird reader - irritating

reader is way to dark and dramatic for the mood of the story. he talks about her lingering in front of a Bank of America as though they are gargoyle is going to swoop down or something. does not match and it distracts from the great writing. kept me irritated, needing to supplement my own perspective of the correct tone constantly. made it a chore.

24 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

I often turn to reviews from all of you. I am a great book lover and yes, I do listen to them. I would love to be guilt free enough to sit in my big old cushioned chair and read ... but I dust, do the dishes (try to avoid cooking) and I finish the laundry. I also drive between NYC and NH, those are the best four hours for listening to a good, solid book.

I have been getting tired of all these genre books ... the ones with Black slaves being beaten by horrible white slave owners; the ones with Jewish people being tortured by white Germans; the ones with people hurting other people. Tired of it!

This book, "The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry," is a sweet, gentle book, just what I was looking for. The story was not boring, my attention never wandered, in fact, I did not even want to shut off the light and go to sleep. I totally enjoyed it. I gave it thought during the next day, I was sorry when it ended .

So, if you are looking for "your next book," this is a good one. It sort of falls in the category of "Olive Kettridge" (sp? ) and the "Last stand of Major Petegrew" (sp?). I loved those too.

My life is too busy to be bothered with people beating up other people. I am looking for soft and gentle, but not boring.

Oh yes, very well written.

269 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Not a favorite

Odd little story where I think the message was love-yet the book did not evoke feelings. There wasn’t any depth to the characters or personal growth (in them). And every time there was going to be a major event-like a death, or marriage, or even a school competition—the reader was removed from the moment of truth and transported to months or years later and only then the result spoken if. So you never felt anything. The narrator had a good voice but read it without feeling as well. So it was not a favorite and I wouldn’t recommend you spend any $$ on it.

6 people found this helpful

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Be right back out to buy a hard copy

I read this book for a book club. I had never heard of it. I didn't know what it was even about but I trusted my book club. Luckily it was on sale at Audible for $4.95. I trust them but a good deal is even better.

Then I read it or it was read to me to be accurate. It kept my attention which few books of this sort do. I prefer nonfiction, thrillers and sci-fi. So this was outside my normal genres.

The first part was a heartbreaking setup the live of a widower and his little bookstore. It did get melodramatic and a little predictable in the second part and completely off the wall in the final part. However...I loved it.

I loved it so much that I didn't go to my book club meeting. I didn't want their opinions (good or bad) to spoil my reading. Although it had faults, it also had wonderful truths. It had made me feel. When I was finished I felt something more than just a check on my to-do list and a sense of accomplishment. This book was like a good movie. You know the kind where you talk about it for days afterward until your whole family gets tired of you.

I would recommend this to anyone who reads on the regular for all the cute references and just maybe it will have an affect on you too. No promises, but I hope so it is a good feeling when you find a special book.

The narrator was VERY good. He did give a dramatic read if you don't care for those. The Audible sample gives an excellent sample of his delivery.

I am going to buy myself a hard copy too.

55 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

80 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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!

81 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

45 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

40 people found this helpful

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Good for even non literary nerds

I know several of the references went over my head. I haven't read much. Part of why is I haven't found many I like. I don't enjoy superfical stories. It is hard to find a balance of real but not depressing (because real life is depressing enough) stories. I can't stand when characters are not realistic or aren't well developed into their own beings. The Storied Life of AJ Fikery is a great book that is on the list of my favorite things. This book was deep while managing to make the heavy topics not too depressing. It is full of beauty and love. Characters are realistic, human, and good people even with thier flaws. The use of explaining literary tactics and then implementing the was exceptional. I like this twists the books takes and the different perspectives given. Its a good wholesome read. There are occasional cursing or mild references that might not be well received by strongly conservative people. However, even those were done delicately and were not a distraction from this empowering story.

3 people found this helpful