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It’s hard to pick a favorite book.  It’s even harder to explain why.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is one of those books that stay with you long after you’ve flipped the final page.  Fikry finds himself isolated on his hometown island of Alice:  his wife has passed away, his bookstore is going under, and his prized book—an old Edgar Allen Poe collection—is stolen.  Soon, though, he is thrown into the middle of many people’s stories, including a feisty sales rep, a young girl, and several estranged family members.

It’s hard to say what’s so lovable about this book.  A.J. comments how there’s no feeling quite like holding your favorite book, how he’s always wanted to try Turkish Delight from Narnia,  how writing about the things we hold dearest always seems to be harder than explaining the things we hate.  It’s these little moments sprinkled throughout the book that made me say “Yes, yes, I’ve felt that way too.”

Then there’s the big stuff.  The dialog that makes you laugh, the characters that make you cry, the setting that makes you feel as though you’ve been searching for Alice Island all along.  Even as I write this I know that my words fall short of capturing the journey this book offers.  As Ryan, O’Fallon Adult Services manager, puts it, “When something is bad we can point to it, the deficiency becomes more tangible. When something is good, this good, we struggle to find words for it. But in an attempt, the characters were so real and genuine. They acted and felt in an organic way. The setting was vibrant. The words were wise… Parts of it were adorable, other parts quite dark. One of the best things you can say about a book is that you are glad to have experienced it; and I am with this one.”

It’s heartwarming and heartbreaking.  It’s inspiring, witty, quirky.  It’s the definition of can’t-put-down.  It will forever be one of my favorites.  All I can say is, see for yourself.

Thanks for reading.  –Autumn

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