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.