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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars21
4.4 out of 5 stars
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 13 March 2014
This is a story all about a bookshop owner, a young bookworm, and a book seller. Each chapter opens with a quote from one of the bookshop owner's favourite books. You may get the impression that this book is all about books. You'd be right.

If you're still reading, then that probably means you're a bit of a book lover too.

This is a story of how books can affect people's lives. Each character is affected by the printed word. And it's also a love story (and not just about a love of books!).

A.J.Fikry sells books, in a bookshop on an island. Disheartened since the premature death of his beloved wife, he treats publisher's agent Amelia with initial rudeness when she first comes to discuss her latest new titles. But a sudden surprising event changes Fikry's outlook, hopes and priorities for good, and Island Books starts to change, and change people's lives with it.

I know that's an incredibly brief summary, but I wouldn't want to spoil the story for anyone. There may be nothing new under the sun, and nothing here that hasn't been written before, but Zevin has created a true and moving tribute to the printed book that warmed me to read. Someone else knows how I feel about books and reading - each character portrays different aspects of the reader. We see begrudging readers become book club advocates, children growing up among their favourite characters, books bringing people together.

This is one you'll race through, then wish you'd taken your time over. It's bittersweet, uplifting and a must for any lover of literature.

Review of a Netgalley advance copy.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 February 2016
This is a book that I believe will appeal to all lovers of reading. It’s about a 40-something widower who runs a bookshop on an island called Alice near Hyannis in Massachusetts. He is grumpy about more or less everything but he is particularly grumpy about what his customers choose to read. The sign over the door reads: “Island Books. Alice Island’s Exclusive Provider of Fine Literary Content since 1999. ‘No Man is an Island; Every Book is a World’”

Each chapter commences with a brief recommendation of a short story to a character called Maya. As the story progresses, we learn who Maya is and why AJ is writing these recommendations for her. We also meet several engaging characters along the way, notably Amelia, a “dandelion” of a tall young woman who is struggling to find the right man and Lambiase, the local police chief who late in life discovers the value of a good book. One or two plot points are rather too neatly resolved (albeit deeply satisfying for the reader) and Gabrielle Levin’s writing is absolutely captivating – funny, sad, poignant, perfect.
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on 23 July 2014
I love Gabrielle Zevin. Ever since I read Elsewhere I have read every book she has written. Her style is easy to read and you end up wanting to read the next page, then then , then the next. This story has a steady and slower start than here previous books but the story is well crafty and it takes you in, in a cosy way. You won't even realise that you have reached the middle of the book. The story itself (without given too much away) revolves around people. You get to know these people as if they were your friends. The only negative thing was at the end. She told us how the story ended but it went on for about 5 pages too far for me. However, those pages were necessary to wrap things up. It just seemed a bit of an add on when I read it. Fantastic read though from start to finish.
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on 20 March 2014
I loved, loved,loved this book. If ever a novel was meant to be widely read & turned into an Oscar winning movie ,it's this one.
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on 18 August 2014
There was so much to enjoy in this book. It put into words just why books are so fulfilling and can be so life changing. I loved the characters and the way they developed, and there was even a little mystery running through it which was eventually solved. I had not expected a love story, yet this is what it is - people falling in love with books and in the process, with each other.
The ending was not 'fairy tale' but real, and somehow satisfying.
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on 10 June 2014
I loved this. I like books and bookshops and I think anyone who does will love this book. It is easy to read and some might say too predictable. But that isn't the point. It is about relationships and how books and other literature can affect peoples' lives. I didn't find anything to dislike about it.
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on 31 July 2015
Bought this after hearing the Radio 4 book at bedtime. A lovely read, would thoroughly recommend. Comforting, interesting and opens up more reading options!
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on 16 February 2015
A relaxing read. The whole story just flowed getting faster towards the end bringing all lose ends together well. The plot was interesting.
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on 15 January 2015
Yes the writing made me cry.From start to finish,could not put this book down-cannot wait to read something else by Gabriella Zevin.novel
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on 31 March 2014
Great characters, interesting read, a must for bibliophiles. Be good to be picked up for filming, visually it seemed very rich.
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