Archives for posts with tag: Fredrik Backman

The All Good Books Group will meet this evening, Thursday, March 18, 2021, at 7:00 PM on Zoom using our usual weblink. We’ll discuss Fredrik Backman’s novel “Anxious People.” We hope you can join us to discuss some of these questions.

  1. The book starts with the narrator talking about “idiots.” Though it’s easy to declare someone an idiot, it’s also true how difficult being a human is. What’s the narrator saying about human nature? When you read the word ‘idiot’ what comes to mind? Do you routinely encounter “idiots?”
  2. At the onset of the story, it’s about a bank robber and a hostage drama. Why does the “bank robber” decide to rob a bank? How experienced is the bank robber? What does the bank robber’s choices say about desperation and how it can limit our vision?
  3. The story is told in a nonlinear fashion with the hostage storyline, multiple events on a bridge and numerous background stories. How are these storylines connected?
  4. How does the story involve Jim and Jack? Who are they? Are they main characters or peripheral to the storyline? How is Nadia involved?
  5. How does the bridge storyline impact Jack’s life and career choices? Nadia’s life choices and career?
  6. We learn about Jim and Jack’s family through the non-linear nature of the novel. How does their family history factor into decisions they make about the bank robber?
  7. How would you react if you were a hostage?
  8. How did the people held hostage react? What do we learn about each character during the hostage situation? What did you learn about grief, fear and loneliness, the inability of couples to communicate and why people react to those forces?
  9. While searching for an apartment are the characters really searching for something else?
  10. How did your perception of the characters change as you read more of the novel? Which character “spoke to you the most?” Why?
  11. At the conclusion of the story, the narrator states, “The truth is that this was a story about many different things, but most of all about idiots. Because we’re doing the best we can, we really are. We’re trying to be grown-up and love each other…. We’re looking for something to cling on to, something to fight for, something to look forward to. We’re doing all we can to teach our children how to swim. We have all of this in common, yet most of us remain strangers, we never know what we do to each other, how your life is affected by mine.” What does that observation mean to you and do you agree?
  12. Would you recommend the novel to your reader friends? How would you classify it? How would you describe it to potential readers?

Thank you to Heather Caliendo whose discussion questions (bookclubchat.com/books/book-club-questions-for-anxious-people-by-fredrik-backman/) inspired many of these questions.

The All Good Books club will meet on Thursday, May 12, 2016 to discuss Fredrik Backman’s “A Man Called Ove” at 7 PM in the Community of Christ Church Library (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS 66208).

Below are some possible discussion questions for our meeting:

  1. If you underlined or highlighted portions of the novel, share one of your favorite quotes.
  2. What events in the novel define Ove for you? How would you describe his worldview and work ethic? Do you know anyone like Ove?
  3. How would you describe Ove and Sonja’s relationship?
  4. Who are the Pregnant Foreign Lady, the Lanky One and their children? How did they meet Ove?
  5. Why do you think Ove’s three worst words are “batteries not included?”
  6. What do you think the narrator means by the following quote? “He was a man of black and white. And she was color. All the color he had.”
  7. In describing Ove’s relationship with his father, the narrator says “They never had much, but they always had enough.” What does that mean to you? Have you heard that phrase before?
  8. Ove’s father, in one of the few topics he would talk about, said, “Engines give you what you deserve….If you treat them with respect they’ll give you freedom; if you behave like an ass they’ll take it from you.” How do you interpret that message?
  9. Ove’s father said, “We’re not the sort of people who tell tales about what others do.” What is the story behind the quote and how did it affect the person Ove became?
  10. Do you agree with Ove “men are what they are because of what they do. Not what they say?”
  11. Discuss Ove’s opinions about quality, exchangeability, pride and expertise. Hint: he referred to “the unreserved celebration of mediocrity” and that “one should not go through life as if everything was exchangeable.”
  12. What role does the cat play in the novel? And what does Ove mean when he says, “I’m not running a cat repair company?”
  13. Why was it important that Ove feed the bird only every other day?
  14. Why do you think Sonja was attracted to Ove?
  15. Why did Ove have a hatred for the “men in white shirts?” Who are the “men in white shirts?”
  16. Why did Ove hate buses and decide to drive Parvaneh to the hospital rather than let her take a bus?
  17. Why does Nasanin always draw Ove with colored crayons while everyone else is drawn in black? Who is Nasanin?
  18. Why did Ove and Rune, who once were friends, become adversaries? What role did Rune’s purchase of a sporty BMW have in the separation?
  19. What does the narrator mean by the following quote? “Both men, once as close as men of that sort could be, stare at each other. One of them a man who refuses to forget the past, and one who can’t remember it at all.”
  20. How does Sonja find healing after the accident?
  21. What does the author mean by “all people at root are time optimists?”
  22. How is “loving someone…like moving into a house?” as Sonja used to say.
  23. What does the author mean by “broadly speaking there are two kinds of people. Those who understand how extremely useful white cables can be, and those who don’t?”
  24. Do you agree, “The greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone?”
  25. Why is Ove, as Parvaneh says, “UTTERLY LOUSY at dying?”
  26. What are your feelings about Ove’s final note to Parvaneh?
  27. Was the ending of the book expected? Emotional? Incomplete? Satisfying?
  28. Would you recommend A Man Called Ove to your friends to read? Why or why not?

Come join us on Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 7 PM.

My_GrandmotherThe next meeting of the All Good Books discussion group will on Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 7:00 PM to discuss “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry” by Fredrick Backman. The group meets at the Community of Christ Mission Road Congregation in the Church Library (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS).
You can always find information on the book club’s schedule, here, on their website at https://allbooksclub.wordpress.com.