1. At the start of the book, A. J. has lots of preferences on books that he will read or not read but by the end of the book his preferences changed. What happened to make him change his preferences? Do you have specifics that determine what types of books you read?
2. A. J. is a bookseller and the book pays homage to books, with references to books throughout the novel. Have you read any of the books or authors mentioned in the novel? (James and the Giant Peach, Alex Cross series, The Book Thief, Anne of Green Gables, A Little Princess, Case Histories, Bel Canto, The Awakening, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Cloud Atlas etc.) Did you enjoy reading all the literary references? Why? Which ones did you like the most?
3. Tamerlane was a focus in the story. Have you read Tamerlane or any of Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry? Is there a special book that you love and would read over and over?
4. Lambiase started off as an occasional reader, then to book club reader and eventually a book store seller. What do you think of the changes and the impact of books had on him? Were you surprised of his trajectory?
5. Did you find any aspect of the book unbelievable?
6. What do you think of the location of Alice? Why did Zevin have the setting on an island? Does it reflect A. J. ‘s character?
7. Why did A. J. want to adopt Maya? How does A. J. ‘s life change upon meeting Maya?
8. A. J. was against e-books. What do you think of e-readers? What do you see as the future of physical books and bookstores?
9. Were you surprised by the twist? Did you guess or see it coming?
10. Mrs. Cumberbatch returned The Book Thief and wanted a refund because the book gave her feelings that she didn’t want. What are your thoughts on the return of the book after it was read? What is the role of books?
11. Did you enjoy the ending? How do you feel about Island Books is no longer owned by A. J.?
12. After reading the book, who would you recommend it to?
Enhance Your Book Club:
Check out Summary of The Storied Life Of A. J. Fikry for more conversation starters and a deeper look at the book.
Check out this video of Gabrielle Zevin talking about her book The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry !