It’s good fun for book lovers, but be warned: this book can explode your to-be-read list. At the beginning of each chapter, the narrator recommends a book—or sometime, a short story—to his daughter, describing what it’s about and why she’ll enjoy it. (He’s a bookseller: he can’t help himself.)
I can’t resist a book recommendation. Not even a fictional one.
(I promptly found a copy of The Stories of Richard Bausch so I could read “What Feels Like the World.” Other additions to my list include Fitzgerald, Dahl, Twain, Grace Paley, Irwin Shaw, and Raymond Carver. This fictional Mr. Fikry was one well-read guy.)
In the introduction to chapter 5, Fikry describes Flannery O’Connor’s 1953 short story A Good Man is Hard to Find and its important to a significant relationship.
He introduces it like this:
….When she told me it was her favorite, it suggested to me strange and wonderful things about her character that I had not guessed, dark places that I might like to visit.
People tell boring lies about politics, God, and love. You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, What is your favorite book?
I would just as soon pick a favorite child as pick a favorite book, but when pressed, I usually fall back on Brideshead Revisited. It’s wistful and haunting, hopeful and reverent. It doesn’t have a happy ending, and it’s deeply ambiguous.
What would you say to that, Mr. A. J. Fikry?
What’s your favorite book, and what does that say about you? (If you think he is completely and totally wrong, tell us about that, too.)