How about I tell you what I don’t like? I do not like postmodenism, postapocalyptic settings, postmortem narrators, or magic realism. I rarely respond to supposedly clever formal devices, multiple fonts, pictures where they shouldn’t be — basically, gimmicks of any kind. I find literary fiction about the Holocaust or any other major world tragedy to be distasteful — nonfiction only, please. I do not like genre mash-ups a la the literary detective novel or the literary fantasy. Literary should be literary, and genre should be genre, and crossbreeding rarely results in anything satisfying. I do not like children’s books, especially ones with orphans, and I prefer not to clutter my shelves with young adult. I do not like anything over four hundred pages or under one hundred fifty pages. I am repulsed by ghostwritten novels by reality television stars, celebrity picture books, sports memoirs, movie tie-in editions, novelty items, and — I imagine this goes without saying — vampires.

A.J. Fikry — protagonist in The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (p. 13).


I laughed out loud while reading this novel. Basic premise — bookseller’s priceless manuscript is stolen from his store one night. This is the story about what happens to him after that event. Book nerds will enjoy this novel.