One of the most challenging questions I receive is the dreaded, “What book should I read?” It’s just so loaded. There’s a million books I love, but I can’t say for sure if my taste will align with yours, if you’re going to judge me for what I enjoyed, or what type of book perfectly fits your mood at the moment. There are just too many variables!
After last year, though, I found my go-to book to recommend: A Man Called Ove. Words cannot express how much I adore this book, and how strongly I feel everyone should read it. If you need a book to read, any book, I implore you to read this one.
My Goodreads review is short and simple: “Best book I’ve read this year. If I could give it ten stars, I would.”
WHAT I READ:
A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman (technically not read in 2016… sorrrry)
On a scale of 1 to 5 grumpy Swedish men, I give this 10 anthropomorphic cats.
Ove’s day starts like all his other days for the last four decades: a thorough investigation of the neighborhood, carefully noting who may be flouting parking rules, locking up bicycles that should NOT be left by the fence, and ensuring the rules are being followed. However, his afternoon goes awry: just as he is prepared to hang himself, someone backs up a trailer into his mailbox (ignoring the sign prohibiting all motor traffic on the street!). He grumpily decides to postpone his suicide to ensure that these new neighbors don’t muck up the entire neighborhood, helping them back the trailer up correctly. After rudely rebuffing the friendliness of his new neighbors, he goes to the store for flowers and visits his wife at the cemetery – where he has gone to visit her every day for the last six months since her death.
The first fifty pages end with an explanation as to this man: he is a man called Ove. “People say he’s bitter… He doesn’t engage in small talk… He was a man of black and white. And she was color. All the color he had.”
HOW IT MADE ME FEEL:
You guys, if you do only one thing I say, read this book. It’s an international bestseller for a reason. It was made into a movie in Sweden that was a smash hit, and has been finally distributed to some U.S. indie movie theaters. I made my gentleman go see it with me a few weeks ago, which he did a little begrudgingly (remember folks, this is a movie in Swedish and I couldn’t really figure out how to describe it except to say, “It’s about a grumpy old man in the neighborhood”). Reader, he loved it more than I did. At the end of the movie, he turned to me all choked up and confessed he almost cried several times, and that he couldn’t stop thinking about it.
So, if you, too, want to have your heart warmed in this winter of our discontent, READ THIS BOOK.