The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin is a perfect match for the announced long ago theme of my blog, literary works about people who lead reading centered lives. To make it even more a treasure, the central character Mr. A. J. Fikry owns a quirky seen better days independent book store on a resort island and he loves above all else, short stories. He lives above the store. He is a childless widow, his wife was killed two years ago in a senseless accident. His priceless first edition of a work by Edgar Alan Poe, worth enough to allow him to retire, has been stolen. Two things happen that will change his life forever. One day a two year old baby girl, Maya, is left at his store, abandoned by the mother who leaves a note saying she things a book store would be a good place for a child to grow up. Fikry is kind of irrascible, does not take readily to change, but he decides to adopt Maya. He also meets Amelia, a book company representative when she calls on him to present her publishers new works. At first he is irritated that his old rep has died but gradually they develop a relationship. The novel covers a lot of years and it is fun to see Maya grow up around the store. Fikry does not just read short stories, he frames his life experiences within them. Maya has begun in her middle teens to write stories and when she is in a sluggish period her father offers some reading ideas.
Here are some stories he recommended to Maya
As I read The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry I was, as I saw the character of Mr. Fikry develop and show a softer sued maybe he did not know he had, I was reminded of the development of the lead character in Silas Marner by George Eliot brought about by his adoption of an orphan.
I greatly enjoyed this book and I recommend it to anyone who loves books about people who love reading books about bookish people and book stores. I learned a lot about the challenging life of an independent book store owner from this novel.