Apr 062021
 

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World by Fredrik Backman

Things My Son Needs to Know About the World collects the personal dispatches from the front lines of one of the most daunting experiences any man can experience: fatherhood.

As he conveys his profound awe at experiencing all the “firsts” that fill him with wonder and catch him completely unprepared, Fredrik Backman doesn’t shy away from revealing his own false steps and fatherly flaws, tackling issues both great and small, from masculinity and mid-life crises to practical jokes and poop.

In between the sleep-deprived lows and wonderful highs, Backman takes a step back to share the true story of falling in love with a woman who is his complete opposite, and learning to live a life that revolves around the people you care about unconditionally. Alternating between humorous side notes and longer essays offering his son advice as he grows up and ventures out into the world, Backman relays the big and small lessons in life, including:

-How to find the team you belong to
-Why airports explain everything about religion and war
-The reason starting a band is crucial to cultivating and keeping friendships
-How to beat Monkey Island 3
-Why, sometimes, a dad might hold onto his son’s hand just a little too tight

This is an irresistible and insightful collection, perfect for new parents and fans of Backman’s “unparalleled understanding of human nature” (Shelf Awareness). As he eloquently reminds us, “You can be whatever you want to be, but that’s nowhere near as important as knowing that you can be exactly who you are.”

Thoughts
I’ve loved every Backman book I’ve read and now this book joins the others in that category.

The author talks about his love for his wife and what it was like for him to be a first time dad. We get to know the man behind the author. After reading this book I get the impression that he is just as good a husband and father as he is an author. Besides being funny, there were a few times in the book that were very touching.

I laughed out loud many times while reading this book. I also said “Yes!” many times, because I’ve experienced the same things with my kids.

There was a chapter where he wrote about IKEA and all the things his son should know before going to that store! Cracked me up! Some of what he said was 100% true and others were what many of us who shop there think. And just like when I read Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix, I’ll be thinking about that chapter during my next few IKEA trips, only this time it will be with laughter, not shivers.

I could tell you more of my thoughts but I think you should read the book yourself and see what you think. I definitely don’t want to take away from your reading experience.

If you are a fan of Fredrick Backman and haven’t read this book I urge you to get a copy. It’s a short read and so very good.

 Posted by at 4:21 PM
Oct 132020
 

Anxious People By cover art

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
Narrated by: Marin Ireland
Length: 9 hrs and 53 mins
Release date: 09-08-20

Looking at real estate isn’t usually a life-or-death situation, but an apartment open house becomes just that when a failed bank robber bursts in and takes a group of strangers hostage. The captives include a recently retired couple who relentlessly hunts down fixer-uppers to avoid the painful truth that they can’t fix their own marriage. There’s a wealthy bank director who has been too busy to care about anyone else and a young couple who are about to have their first child but can’t seem to agree on anything, from where they want to live to how they met in the first place. Add to the mix an 87-year-old woman who has lived long enough not to be afraid of someone waving a gun in her face, a flustered but still-ready-to-make-a-deal real estate agent, and a mystery man who has locked himself in the apartment’s only bathroom, and you’ve got the worst group of hostages in the world.

Each of them carries a lifetime of grievances, hurts, secrets, and passions that are ready to boil over. None of them is entirely who they appear to be. And all of them – the bank robber included – desperately crave some sort of rescue. As the authorities and the media surround the premises, these reluctant allies will reveal surprising truths about themselves and set in motion a chain of events so unexpected that even they can hardly explain what happens next.

Rich with Fredrik Backman’s “pitch-perfect dialogue and an unparalleled understanding of human nature” (Shelf Awareness), Anxious People is an ingeniously constructed story about the enduring power of friendship, forgiveness, and hope – the things that save us, even in the most anxious times.

Thoughts
This is a very kooky book. and I absolutely loved it! The characters are all dealing with personal issues and that was a big part of the book and a big part of what made it so interesting.

The story is about a robber who tries to rob a cashless bank. And then it gets weirder. When he finds out he’s not getting any money, he runs out of the bank and into an apartment building where he takes a group of people, who are viewing one of the apartments during an open house, hostage.  One couple is expecting a baby, another is an older married couple who flip houses. There is also a bank executive, an elderly widow, and a man who is only wearing the head of a rabbit costume and his underwear. The police who investigate the crime and interview the hostages are father and son, who are also dealing with their own issues.

I love every Backman book I’ve read, and I think this one may be my favorite. It kept me guessing who the robber was and every time I was wrong. When I finally found out who it was, I was shocked.

This is a very good book that makes you want to keep reading and makes you keep guessing. It had a little bit of everything, it was sad at times, funny, quirky, and had very interesting characters.

If you haven’t read this yet, you should give it a try. I loved it! I’d give it a 10*

 Posted by at 4:18 PM
Jul 012019
 

And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer And Longer
by Fredrick Backman

Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Atria Books; Translation edition (November 1, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1501160486
ISBN-13: 978-1501160486

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here comes an exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go.

With all the same charm of his bestselling full-length novels, here Fredrik Backman once again reveals his unrivaled understanding of human nature and deep compassion for people in difficult circumstances. This is a tiny gem with a message you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

Thoughts
I love Backman’s books and this was no exception. It’s a very short book but the message is huge!

Noah, who he calls NoahNoah, is a bright light in his Grandpa’s life. They spend time together as often as they can and have a few routines that keep them on track, since Grandpa has dementia.

The book has a feeling of being make believe or a dream. Grandpa talks to NoahNoah, his son Noah, and to his wife who passed away years ago. It is sad and touching and makes you think about what the future has in store for you.

This book is very different from his other books. It is very much worth the time and money to read it. I enjoyed it very much.

 Posted by at 5:09 AM
Jun 252018
 

Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman
Narrated by Joan Walker

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 9 hours and 18 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Audible.com Release Date: May 3, 2016
Whispersync for Voice: Ready
Language: English
ASIN: B01D3AQO8U

From the bestselling author of the “charming debut” (People) A Man Called Ove and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, a heartwarming and hilarious story of a reluctant outsider who transforms a tiny village and a woman who finds love and second chances in the unlikeliest of places.

Britt-Marie can’t stand mess. She eats dinner at precisely the right time and starts her day at six in the morning because only lunatics wake up later than that. And she is not passive-aggressive. Not in the least. It’s just that sometimes people interpret her helpful suggestions as criticisms, which is certainly not her intention.

But at sixty-three, Britt-Marie has had enough. She finally walks out on her loveless forty-year marriage and finds a job in the only place she can: Borg, a small, derelict town devastated by the financial crisis. For the fastidious Britt-Marie, this new world of noisy children, muddy floors, and a roommate who is a rat (literally), is a hard adjustment.

As for the citizens of Borg, with everything that they know crumbling around them, the only thing that they have left to hold onto is something Britt-Marie absolutely loathes: their love of soccer. When the village’s youth team becomes desperate for a coach, they set their sights on her. She’s the least likely candidate, but their need is obvious and there is no one else to do it.

Thus begins a beautiful and unlikely partnership. In her new role as reluctant mentor to these lost young boys and girls, Britt-Marie soon finds herself becoming increasingly vital to the community. And even more surprisingly, she is the object of romantic desire for a friendly and handsome local policeman named Sven. In this world of oddballs and misfits, can Britt-Marie finally find a place where she belongs?

Zany and full-of-heart, Britt-Marie Was Here is a novel about love and second chances, and about the unexpected friendships we make that teach us who we really are and the things we are capable of doing.

Thoughts
I first got to know Britt-Marie in Backman’s book My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry. She and her granddaughter Elsa, were such great characters that I’ll ever forget them and they will definitely be among my all time favorites.

Oh how I love Britt-Marie. She is such a great character you have to understand. She’s a cleaning machine and a stickler for “proper” things like never sitting a cup on a table etc. without using a coaster.

Britt-Marie is 63 yrs. old and leaves her husband. She finds work in a little tiny ghost of a town named Borg and does things that she never thought in a million years she would do. The people grow to love her and she them. The characters are endearing, the story is both funny and sad, and is one I won’t soon forget.

The narrator also narrated A Man Called Ove & My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry.   She did an amazing job in all 3 books and made the stories come alive.

I loved this book and would recommend any of Fredrick Backman’s  books. I read Beartown and now can’t wait to read Us Against You (Beartown #2). If Backman can write a book about hockey and make me love it, he has to be an amazing author.

 Posted by at 12:15 AM
Jun 082018
 

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman

Narrated by Joan Walker

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 11 hours and 2 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Audible.com Release Date: June 16, 2015

Thoughts
Elsa is seven years old going on 30. She’s “different”. The kids at school bully her so she has no friends there. Her grandmother is her best friend, she loves her deeply and spends most of her time with her. She loves Harry Potter and Wikipedia.

I couldn’t love Elsa and her grandmother more. I was literally laughing out loud listening to all the things they did and the conversations they had. I usually don’t like fairy tale-ish stories, but I liked hearing about The Land Of Almost Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal. I liked the Monster & the Wurse? (not sure about the spelling because I listened to the audiobook).  All the characters were perfect for this book.

When Granny dies, she leaves Elsa with a bunch of letters that she wants her to deliver to a few people so she can tell them she’s sorry for things she did or said to them. Through these letters Elsa discovers things about her grandmother that she never knew. She also learns how the people who live in their building are connected. There was a surprise at the end that I wasn’t expecting.

This book had my attention from the first paragraph to the last.  So much went on and I loved every minute of it. I was sad when it ended.

I can’t wait to read Britt-Marie Was Here.

 

 Posted by at 9:36 AM
Jul 072017
 

Beartown

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Narrated by Marin Ireland

Audible Audio Edition
Listening Length: 13 hours and 11 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Audible.com Release Date: April 25, 2017

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, and Britt-Marie Was Here, comes a poignant, charming novel about a forgotten town fractured by scandal, and the amateur hockey team that might just change everything.

Winning a junior ice hockey championship might not mean a lot to the average person, but it means everything to the residents of Beartown, a community slowly being eaten alive by unemployment and the surrounding wilderness. A victory like this would draw national attention to the ailing town: it could attract government funding and an influx of talented athletes who would choose Beartown over the big nearby cities. A victory like this would certainly mean everything to Amat, a short, scrawny teenager who is treated like an outcast everywhere but on the ice; to Kevin, a star player just on the cusp of securing his golden future in the NHL; and to Peter, their dedicated general manager whose own professional hockey career ended in tragedy.

At first, it seems like the team might have a shot at fulfilling the dreams of their entire town. But one night at a drunken celebration following a key win, something happens between Kevin and the general manager’s daughter—and the next day everything seems to have changed. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected. With so much riding on the success of the team, the line between loyalty and betrayal becomes difficult to discern. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear.

Fredrik Backman knows that we are forever shaped by the places we call home, and in this emotionally powerful, sweetly insightful story, he explores what can happen when we carry the heavy weight of other people’s dreams on our shoulders.

Thoughts
At first I thought I wouldn’t enjoy this book very much because it was about a hockey team, but I decided to read it anyway because of how much I loved A Man Called Ove. I was surprised that I ended up enjoying it so much. The story grew on me and I fell in love with the town, the hockey team, and mostly the characters.

The book starts out with such a bang that I didn’t want to stop listening. I wanted to find out what happened, and to whom.  It was fully explained toward the end of the book, and what I thought had happened really had a completely different ending. Then there was another part that left me with a question that was never answered. So, I’m hoping there is another book that will explain it. I usually don’t like books that leave something unknown, but this time I’m ok. I’m left wanting more, but ok.  I do hope there is a Beartown 2 that will tell me what I’m wanting to know.

I’m not a fan of cussing but since this was a book with a bunch of teenagers, mostly boys, I expected some. I did think some of the language was a bit harsh, but that’s just me.

I thought the author did a great job with the characters. The teens were just like the kids who might live in your hometown, same with the parents.

I thought Marin Ireland did a fantastic job with narration.

There was a lot of emotions spilling out of this story, and I felt them all. It’s a book that will stay with me for a long time.

 Posted by at 1:14 PM
Jan 262017
 

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A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Narrated by: George Newbern
Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:08-05-14
Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon – the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him ‘the bitter neighbor from hell.’ But behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

What I Thought
I started this audio book a few months ago but didn’t finish it. Then I started it again, and again I didn’t finish it. To be honest, Ove got on my nerves. I thought he was a grumbling grouch. I decided to give it one more try since I kept seeing so many 5 star reviews for it. This time, finally, Ove’s gruff personality didn’t seem so annoying. I actually started liking him. I laughed more than a few times at some of the things he said and thought. I especially thought the names he gave everyone were funny…the lanky one, the pregnant one, white shirt etc.

Poor Ove can’t stand things that are not what he thinks they should be. It truly angers him. He says “right is right and wrong is wrong” quite often throughout the book. And he can’t trust anyone who doesn’t drive a Saub, among other things.

I loved learning about Sonia, I liked her a lot. I felt bad for Ove because I know what it feels like to lose your spouse.

There a quite a few characters in the book, all personable except for two (not counting Ove), and I enjoyed each one of them. I loved all the different stories from Ove & Sonia’s past, and how Ove’s relationships with the other characters grew into something that surprised everyone who lived in his neighborhood. I was surprised too. I  learned that there was a kind soul behind all that gruffness. I loved how Ove fought so hard for the right thing concerning the people he cared about, just because “it’s the right thing to do”.

I’m so glad I gave this audio book another chance. It made me laugh a lot, and even made my eyes leak a few times.

This was the first book I’ve listened to that is narrated by George Newbern. I’m very picky about narrator’s, but I thought he did an amazing job with all the voices. He made the book very easy to listen to.

Although it took me a few times to start enjoying the book, (I don’t think I gave it enough time the first two times I started it), I ended up loving it, and I even ended up loving Ove.

I highly recommend this, both print and audio.

 Posted by at 2:27 PM