Friday, August 31, 2018

Books About Books

The Old Book Building
on the San Antonio River Walk


So sad but true:

"If this world were anything near what it should be
there would be no more need of a Book Week
than there would be of a Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Children."

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)


The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin

"Something important and literary
is about to happen here" (183).

This is a clever book about books -- and about children -- set in A. J. Fikry's bookstore "Island Books" where "No Man Is an Island; Every Book is a World," and where one snowy evening a baby is abandoned in the "Children's and Young Adult section" (8, 48).

"A. J. can be opinionated -- " . . . he doesn't believe in random acts. He is a reader, and what he believes in is narrative construction, If a gun appears in act one, that gun had better go off by act three" (59) . . .

but also malleable, as he undertakes to raise the baby and respond to her needs: "As he is reading, he finds that he wants to make a new list of short stories for Maya. She is going to be a writer, he knows. He is not a writer, but he has thoughts about the profession, and he wants to tell her those things. . . . the longer I do this (bookselling, yes, of course, but also living if that isn't too awfully sentimental), the more I believe that this is what the point of it all is. To connect, my dear little nerd. Only connect" (246 - 47).

Each chapter in the novel begins with a blurb of reading suggestions and personal opinion, literary references and summaries of great works, background information and so forth. It turns out that this commentary, taken all together, is A. J.'s writerly legacy to Maya, a scholarly sample of his storied life.

See also

1. Complete list of literary allusions

2. Fortnightly Post: "Advancing and Receding"

3. Speaking of Island Books,
next up on this blog: "From Island to Island"


4. Two more clever books about books and writers.
both by G. Neri

Tru & Nelle

Tru & Nelle: A Christmas Tale
For fans of [Nelle] Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory, or for anyone who wants to learn more about the childhood connection between these two classic American authors and how their early friendship influenced the writers that they grew up to become.

In other reading news:
Take a look at
James Trevenio's Book Art

And this one ~ thanks Joni!

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