When I first saw the title “The Collected Works of A. J. Fikry“, I thought that this is a book about all the writings by this obscure author A.J. Fikry, compiled by this person Gabrielle Zevin. Then I read its review, and it turned out that this book is about a bookseller and the reviewer highly recommended it. I picked it up at the bookstore last month without looking at the price tag because I was just so excited to have found it. And it was on the “Recommended” shelf. When I reached home, took the newly purchased book out of the paper bag and turned it over, I was shocked. The hardcover costs me RM94.95, making it one of the most expensive books that I have ever bought. I vowed that I must make my money worth it – I shall read it as soon as possible because if I wait until the paperback comes out at less than half this price I am going to cry.
After finishing the book, I am glad that I bought the hardcover at this point in my life because then I was determined to read it.
A.J. Fikry runs Island Books, an independent bookstore in a place called Alice Island. At the beginning of the book, he was grieving at the sudden passing away of his wife and was in his way trying to waste his life away. Due to twists of events, he came to find a new purpose in life, and from there on new love. I like the way story unfolds, and how the bookstore is the centre of all that happened in the book yet it doesn’t steal the limelight away from the characters. There was even a chapter on e-reader which made me chuckle at every paragraph, because it describes exactly what I think about the electronic device yet narrated so humorously.
I enjoyed the book so much that I finished it within one week, a feat which I seldom accomplish with two young children to take care of. And as I said, I am glad I did. In the book, there was reviews by A. J. Fikry on books which he read and touched on something about his life. So I am left with this thought: what would my “collected works” be?
I intend to re-read this gem after I read all of Fikry’s collected works. That shall be one of my reading projects.