Monday, August 25, 2014

The Slow Burn of a Great Book

I began reading The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin after having seen it on Goodreads on a friends news feed.  I had a brief interaction with said friend where she told me verbatim "If you don't like this, I'll eat my hat."  I thought that was a rather unique way to tell me that I would love the book and had to read it.  So, I asked for it for my birthday and received it in due course.

I picked it up one day after work and read the first 40 or so pages.  I instantly fell in love with A.J. Fikry and his curmudgeonly ways.  How could you not?  He was a reader, bookstore owner, widower and overall lonely soul who was just going through the motions of his life.  And then, one day, everything changes for him.  His world spins out of control and he is set on a path that will change his life forever.  One that he initially fights against, but eventually gives into.  I decided on that first night that I would do my utmost to savor this story, a true rarity for someone like me who typically inhales my chosen books.  But AJ's story needed to be enjoyed like a bowl of rich creamy ice cream.  Slowly and holding each bite in your mouth until it melted away.  So I did just that.  Reading this 258 page book over the course of several weeks.  Allowing myself only a handful of chapters every few days.  The way I felt reading this brings to mind one of Bradbury's most famous (if not THE most famous) quotes
 "It was a pleasure to burn."
That is how I felt reading The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, it was a slow burn of pleasure from cover to cover.

There were so many moments about this pseudo memoir that I loved. The chapter openings, each highlighting a short story and how it connects to what will follow.  The supporting characters, every one of them adding a layer of depth and heart to the story that most authors wish they could reproduce.   The heartbreak.  The joy.  Even the tears I couldn't stop from crying.  Sentences so beautifully written that it felt like a gift to read it.  But, the highest compliment I can give to this gem of a book is that I forgot I was reading a book of fiction and felt like I was part of AJ's story.  As if, AJ really lived and I was experiencing the twists and turns of his life from inside the cozy confines of Island Books.  To borrow a line from the author:
“Every word the right one and exactly where it should be. That's basically the highest compliment I can give.”

Top 5 Jane Austen Adaptations II 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

Why We Broke Up: A Bittersweet Tale

My full review is is an excerpt. 
"The biggest draw for me was the realism. The pangs of first love you could clearly hear in Min's retelling of their relationship and the demise of what was such a delicate thing to begin with. It reminded me of being young and in love. Of how it felt when that boy that wasn't supposed to like you because you belonged to different worlds kept furtively looking your way until one day he finally made a move."

To read the full review go to

Friday, August 8, 2014

Hitting my 2014 Reading Goal

Despite making such a lofty reading goal in the opening days of 2014, I didn't think it was something that I would be able to accomplish...not to mention reaching the goal 5 months early!

It took a lot of dedication to hit my goal so soon, and I must admit that it was a great feeling.  Reading is such a solitary hobby that most people think you are crazy for choosing to spend a night in curled up with a book rather than out socializing in the world.  Given the choice, however, I always choose the book.  This year more so than any other I decided to focus on reading.  I can't begin to explain how gratifying it was to finally hit that 100th book.

So, in honor of hitting my goal I decided to honor my 100 reads.   I have created a bit of an infographic for my year in reading so far.  Let me know if you disagree with any of my ratings.