The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

I just finished reading The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. I had had it on my To Read list for a while, years actually, and as I was looking for available ebooks from the library yesterday, I discovered that it was ready for me to take. I am participating in GoodRead’s reading challenge and, for months and months I was behind. To clarify, “behind” means I wasn’t reading the number of books per month I needed in order to meet my goal. Last month I finally caught up and I’ve been trying to read like crazy to stay caught up and possibly get ahead. I mean, I have less than a month and a half left and I still have four more books I need to read – it might get intense.

This whole year I’ve been reading relatively long books. Just so happens those are the books I’m generally interested in or the books that librarians suggest to me. I’ve been enjoying them (read Leviathan Wakes if you like space!) but it means I don’t go through books very quickly. Now that I’m nearing the end of the year, I decided I needed to find a few shorter books so I could realistically complete my goal.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a short book – it’s only 290 pages – and since it was 1. on my To Read list and 2. was available immediately from the library, I happily checked it out.

I read the book in a little over a day (work was slow) and REALLY liked it. This book caught my interest from the very start – a book store owner loses his wife and finds happiness again when a baby is dropped on his doorstep. Love and life ensues. The book mostly follows the owner’s life but it does switch around between him and a few other characters. The writing style was great – easy flowing and beautiful. Zevin writes in present tense, which is different than the books I normally read, so that was nice. And she writes through the character’s perspective – something I’ve realized is more popular than I thought. I liked it. It was a pleasant book that ended really well – not how I wanted – but definitely how it should have. And the fact that I can recognize that is impressive – it means the book is on point.

I wish I could accurately describe how much I liked the book and why. I’m currently reading a long book that is dragging (the story has barely moved and I’m more than halfway through) so this book was extremely refreshing. It was lighthearted for the most part and it talked about books and how great books are – it was right up my alley.

I think I like books with bookstore settings. Inkheart is similar in that sense (another good book I recommend). I’ve been listening to a reading podcast, Reading Glasses Podcast (another recommendation), and the hosts  have spoken about what’s in their book wheelhouse – aka what kinds of things they like in books (one of them likes talking bears). I haven’t quite pinned down what I like but I can now say I definitely like books about books.

I recommend reading The Storied Life, it was lovely.


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