The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry book review (A Book about Books)

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Synopsis

Genre; Realistic Fiction, Books About Books, Contemporary

“Sometimes books don’t find us until the right time.”

I am a mess right now, talk about the right book at the right time. Everything about it was near perfection. I can’t believe it took me so long to actually get to it but alas I have finally read it and I freaking loved it.

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The book follows the life of A.J. Fikry, a lonely widowed bookseller, whose current financial state isn’t at its best. To top it all, his prized possession a rare collection of E.A. Poe Poems- has been stolen and a certain package suddenly arrives in his store. So, life for him isn’t showing its good side. We follow him through his life and we see his growth and he values the power of literature, to say it’s delightful will be an understatement.

First of all, let me start by saying

  • If you have made it this far into the review just exit and go get this book

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I truly believe in the same vein as The Shadow of The Wind and The Thirteenth Tale that this book is for everyone. It carries this charm and charisma throughout the book even with our main character’s grumpy, off-putting personality you will grow to love him and just fall in love with everything this book embodies. I am seriously impressed by the author’s ability to pack tonnes of literary references, bookish quirks and character growth in 260 pages. It is a book that celebrates literature in a very special way and you as an avid reader will constantly relate to every single action displayed in this book

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“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.”

The way you collect books, the way you recommend them even I as a reviewer it was such a unique perspective. In each opening chapter before continuing with the narrative, the main character reviews his favourite and least favourite novels, short story collections and all forms of literature. Those were my favourite parts. I was always so keen to see what book he would recommend to a customer, never have I had Goodreads open while I read a book. You won’t be surprised if they mention your favourite book or a familiar author, it was an endless supply of bookish surprises. I particularly loved this excerpt from the book where A.J. tells us what sort of genre he hates… ahem

“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 mash-ups à la the literary detective novel or the 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.”

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Underneath all that, the book itself paves way for a lot of conversation about how we readers view books and how much of our lives is so dedicated to reading and collecting books that it can be incredibly isolating. It also lightly discusses the very heated topic about Physical books vs E-Readers and I was especially fascinated to see the opinions of a bookseller and a publisher in the matter. It was sort of eye-opening. The Idea of ghost-written books was also an over-arching topic and that one was incredibly depressing especially as a reader; to find out that your favourite book was a sham and the true writer is unknown was really a thought provoking subject. All in all, the book had layers upon layers of narratives that I could go on and on discussing but the most achievable thing the book managed was the celebration of literature regardless of background. So, if you want to pick a book that will make you feel less alone as a reader I highly recommend this one.

Have you read this? How did you find it 🙂

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So until next time stay Bookish 😉

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8 thoughts on “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry book review (A Book about Books)

  1. Hmm… now I want to reread this book soon! I love it as well, and it really was a book that got me back into reading more often than I was (which was occasionally due to school). I’m happy to see that you loved it as well! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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