Monday 26 May 2014

A.J. Fikry and Other Things

Well, once again it is Monday. Where does the time go?  A few things book wise going on.  I finished the book Collected Works of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Levin over the weekend.  I got to meet A.J. Fikry himself who owns a small bookshop off the coast of Maine on a little island.  He is quite grumpy at the beginning but that is because his beloved wife died in an accident earlier and he misses her. He has a bit of a problem with alcohol and one night in a stupor his valuable book, Tammerlane by Edgar Allan Poe is stolen. This was to have been his retirement fund.

But suddenly everything changes when Maya, a two year old girl is left behind on the book shop floor by her mother before she commits suicide. She wants the girl raised with books and to have a good life and she seems to think A.J. will do this.

I don't want to say too much about the story as I don't want to ruin it. However the characters are pretty quirky and good hearted. Amelia is the publication rep that comes around trying to sell books to A.J.  He also has to deal with his sister-in-law Ismay and brother-in-law Daniel.  They throw up a few twists in the book.  I especially liked the policeman that hangs around named Lambiase. He is a charming character.

Overall I enjoyed this book quite a bit. There were some uneven parts and I thought it went through the years a bit quickly. Maya is a teenager before we can blink and I think a bit of the story is lost by this but overall it is a most enjoyable read.   Our book club is going to discuss it in June and I'm looking forward to that.  One of the fun bits is at the beginning of each chapter where A.J. writes something related to an author or well known book on a single page.  It was fun looking forward to new chapters in order to read them. He compares much of his life to various characters within the book world.  If a person reads a lot they will get a lot of it for fun.  It was certainly a speedy read and light hearted enough to really enjoy with a few twists and turns that I didn't figure out until later.

I particularly enjoyed this passage from the policeman who has discovered reading.

Turns out I really like bookstores. You know, I meet a lot of people in my line of work. A lot of folks pass through Alice Island, especially in the summer. I've seen movie people on vacation and I've seen music people and news people, too. There ain't nobody in the world like book people. It's a business of gentlemen and gentlewomen.
'I would't go that far,' Ismay says.
'I don't know, Izzie. I'm telling you. Bookstores attract the right kind of folk. Good people like A.J. and Amelia. And I like talking about books with people who like talking about books. I like paper. I like how it feels, and I like the feel of a book in my back pocket. I like how a new book smells, too.'
Ismay kisses him. "You're the funniest sort of cop I ever met.' 

On to other things now. My Penguin History of the World is progressing pretty normally.  I am still reading a chapter or half a chapter (if it is long) each day when I don't get distracted by a new magazine or newspaper.  I have gone through ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and am now into the history of India which I knew nothing about.  I am finding the chapter on the beginnings of India quite interesting and I always enjoy anything about the Buddhist faith which got it's start in northern India before Christ was born.

I have also quickly read through another book I got on sale at Daily Deal of the Day with the Amazon Kindle.  It is called Dying to Know, Is There Life after Death by Josh Logan.  I stopped reading it about 2/3 of the way through. The story is non fiction of a young Australian man who spends three years going to funeral homes, crematoriums, seances, card readers, workshops to see if he can contact his dead aunt Clare.  It starts out as quite reasonable and the fact the man just wants a definitive answer is all right.  All of us would like verification of that knowledge.

But the more he experiments with out of body experiences, channeling the dead all becomes a bit of a mind game through his brain.  I am convinced what he thinks could be spirit contact is merely his brain and his unstable nature trying to put something where it isn't.  But that's just me. Other people may be convinced. I am too much of a skeptic to believe there are other lives after this one.   I don't know why it caught my attention. I think I was tired the other night and gave in to Amazon's advertising.  I thought it seemed like a good question at the time but grew bored with this book in no time although there are some very funny parts when he encounters what he believes are ghosts.   I'll stick to A.J. Fikry.    You never knew what he was going to do.

I have had no replies yet to my distribution by the book phantom of the 20 or so books I have distributed. I had hoped someone would write and say they found a book, were reading it and loved it.  Nothing yet but I'm still going to keep giving books away because I think it will be interesting when someone does finally reply.

This is Monday, as I've said before and the beginnings of a new week.  My book club read is done. My new agey life after death book has come to a halt and I'll probably start my Classics club spin book, The Letters of Rachel Henning this week.  I am feeling like something classic with a bit of substance.  It does not need to be posted until 7th July.

I'm doing a large book cull in my front room. I have decided to get all my duplicates, unreads, and books I know I won't read off to the auction once I finish the cull. I would like to get some order in that front room of a library.  Of course I'm keeping all of my vintage Penguins.  Hope everyone has a good week and there is a beautiful pot of tea or some good strong coffee in the future that is to become this week. What are you reading this week?

This book counts towards the Monopoly Challenge as the initials of the author at in the word St James for St James Place.


  1. What ambition you have, Pam! I'm disappointed that no one has contacted you about the books you've left for others.

    I'm still reading The Count of Monte Cristo, which I love but which is SO long. I'm reading The Santa Klaus Murder and just started Becoming Odyssa, about hiking the Appalachian Trail. They are praying before setting off in the latter book and that took me aback, but I'll give it a bit longer. Also plodding through a biography of Leonard Cohen. I love him, but I'm not sure I want to know EVERY little detail. I think his life has been more interesting than the author allows us to think.

    Good luck with the book culling!

    1. Thanks Joan. The Count of Monte Cristo sounds like a book I would love. I have decided to do the Moby Dick read along with another couple of bloggers but I was able to get the audio book which I am really enjoying. I like Leonard Cohen too but don't like to read biographies about celebrities. Don't know why, just never have. The book culling is going slowly. Three books off the shelf two put back on it. ha ha . Funny.


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