Today I’m pleased to host the second stop of 30 Authors in 30 Days, a first of its kind event aimed at connecting readers, bloggers and authors. Patti Callahan Henry writes on a favorite summer read I’m dying to get my hands on: Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry.
Hosted by The Book Wheel, this month-long event takes place during September and features 30 authors discussing their favorite recent reads on 30 different blogs. There are also great prizes provided by GoneReading.com and BookJigs (see giveaway here). For the full schedule of participating authors and bloggers, visit The Book Wheel.
Author Patti Callahan Henry on The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Summer, more than any other time, has always been a season of reading, stories and books. When I was a child, I was often scolded by the librarians, because I returned my books with sand in the pages. This summer of 2014, I read a book I won’t ever forget: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. It wasn’t just because the book was set in a bookstore, or that the narrator quoted novels, but also because the storyline was intricate, delicate and heartwarming.
There he is, this bookstore owner, A.J. Fikry, brokenhearted over his wife’s death and running a dilapidated bookstore on an island where no one goes anymore. Could it be any more desolate? What could possibly turn this situation, or A.J’s life around? Love, of course. But not the kind you’d think of right away, not the romance we all believe makes things better.
As I traveled across and around the Southeast this summer for book tour, I often thought of this storyline, of how books changed the character’s life, of how important books are to all of us. There are of course the books themselves, but it is also the bookstores that can be such an integral part of our lives. In the novel, Zevin (the author) does a beautiful job of showing us how bookstores bring people together, how community revolves around this place where people meet, share and even fall in love.
When I started to get weary of the road, or believe that I wasn’t making a difference, I would think of this novel and of the character, A.J.’s devotion to the written word, his belief in good books changing us for the better. And it was true, because with every bookstore I entered, no matter what the crowd or the questions asked, my life was a little better every time.
About the author
Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times bestselling author of ten books, including Between the Tides, And Then I Found You and Driftwood Summer. Patti lives in Mountain Brook, Alabama with her husband and three children, where she is crafting her next story.
Find her books on Amazon and Goodreads, and check Patti out on Twitter and Facebook.
For more information on The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, check out the book on Amazon and Goodreads. Zevin is also on Twitter and Facebook.
16 thoughts on “30 Authors in 30 Days: Patti Callahan Henry on Fikry”
I loved this book too! Simplicity and love are necessary qualities, as is a small town’s bookstore!
I absolutely loved this book. It was written for “US” (those who love their books). A group of us are now reading all the short stories referenced in the book. It is quite the geeky experiment.
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That sounds like a lot of fun!
Patti, What a touching post… Makes me glad to be both an author and a book lover! And it makes me want to read this book!
I enjoyed AJ Fikry – definitely a book for book lovers!
This book was my favorite book of the year so far! I agree with Mary, it is a must-read for all book lovers. I fell even more in love with reading after finishing this book – corny as it may sound 🙂
Patti, I was on the road on tour this summer, too…four months…and I completely agree. Every time I walked into a bookstore, something changed for the better. I hope your tour turned out fabulously, and you’ve already made a difference for me with this post.
Meg, glad to discover your blog!
Thank you so much to both Meg and Patti for participating in #30Authors! I’m looking forward to reading The Storied Life by A.J. Fikry because, aside from being about books, it’s been getting a ton of great buzz and is the Instagram Book Club pick.
Thank you Patti for writing this lovely review of a book I’m already curious about.
I’m stopping by as part of the #30Authors tour- nice to meet you, Meg!
What a lovely review! I have this book and it is on my list for November reading- how can you go wrong with book stores and quoting books?!
I love the cover of this book. That font is gorgeous.
Okay, I’m adding this book to my must-read list! As a book lover and a writer…it needs to happen!
One of my favorite books this summer, plus my 90 year old aunt read it and also loved it!!
Earlier this evening I went and checked this book out from the library based on this post. It sounds like an amazing book. Thank you Patti and Meg!
This was one of my favorite books of the year…Fikry was so heartwarmingly crotchety…such a weird, but delightful combination! There were so many great quotes from this book that they got their own post on my blog (separate from my review)!
I absolutely loved The Storied Life by A.J. Fikry! I recommended it to my daughter and my sister and they loved it too! What a sweet and touching story, and has so much in such a little book. Friendship, a little mystery, a little information on books that made me look up some things about those books, and love of all kinds. Go out and get this book!
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