Less than two weeks of the spring semester remain for me, which is why I haven’t been writing much here at Southern Spines. I have one large research paper and a big essay-only final both happening next week, so I’m trying to sequester myself from social media and the Interwebs as much as possible. It’s a shame because I have so much great content to share with you!
Before I cloak myself in virtual obscurity, I must tell you about the April She Reads Book Club selection, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. I have to read a lot of books–for work, for school, for the Southern Spines blog. Books litter my office; you’ll find them on shelves, in boxes and in plastic bins on the floor. My iPad overflows with ebooks and audiobooks that await my attention. Hardbacks from two different libraries fill my backpack.
Reading on deadline can suck just a smidgeon of fun from the act of reading. The phrase “Required Reading” sounds more like a punishment than a privilege. But reading The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry brought me nothing but pleasure. I loved everything about this book.
The main character, A. J. Fikry, is the owner of Island Books, a widower and an unapologetic book snob. A. J. starts shutting down and drinking too much after his wife’s death, but chance forces him to reconnect with life and the people in his community. As a reader, you will become so engrossed in the stories of the people of Alice Island, you will forget that a mystery lies at the center of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry. When someone leaves a strange basket at the bookstore, A. J. enlists the help of the town’s police chief to investigate the circumstances behind the abandoned package.
Gabrielle Zevin plays to an audience of zealous book lovers. She precedes each section of the book with the equivalent of a “Staff Recommendation” from A. J. and sprinkles literary allusions throughout the pages. We learn much of what we know about A. J., the chief, and the other characters by what they read. Because, as the book says, “You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question: ‘What is your favorite book?’”
To learn more about Gabrielle Zevin, visit the author’s website at gabriellezevin.com. To read what my fellow She Reads bloggers are saying about The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, check out this post on the She Reads website.