Fredrik Backman Is The Best Thing I’ve Discovered in 2021

Somewhere around April I decided to see what all the local library had to offer. This was because we had signed our children up for an early reading program through the library and weekly trips to the library had become a thing and I decided to look for books for myself. I got one on Thomas Jefferson and it was interesting but then I wanted to know what else the library had to offer.

It was then that I noticed the apps they had. One of those allowed you to download electronic books to either read or listen to. I much prefer to read physical books as the tactile feel of the pages and the visual representation of progress is important to me so I decided to see what audio books they had. Eventually I listened to A Man Called Ove, mainly because it was available.

It remains one of the best books I have either read or listened to in 2021 and since listening to it I have listened to one other Backman book and am now reading another. Part of me wonders if Swedish is so close to English that the translation is able to not miss much or if our cultures are so similar that the books resonate the same or if Backman just has an almost supernatural ability to describe the human condition.

His description of parenthood in Anxious People is so spot on it isn’t even funny comparing child rearing to caring for tropical fish and saying we know as much about tropical fish as we do children. I would use exact quotes but the book is in the other room, I am tired, and I don’t feel like spending any longer typing than need be tonight. Anyway, Backman can speak to my emotions better than any other writer I have read recently.

While listening to both A Man Called One and My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry I found myself bawling like a baby while driving my care. This isn’t a safe or intelligent thing to do but I couldn’t help it. There was something about the words that reach right into me and squeezed my heart until the tears started to flow.

Backman doesn’t have that many books and I could read them all by the end of the year, but between hold lists, not wanting to spend too much money, and prior reading commitments I will likely finish off his books sometime around March of 2022. I am just thankful that I decided to get over my fear of audio books and introduced myself to A Man Called One. It was the best decision I’ve made this year.

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