From My Library – Staff Blog

What Should I Read Next?
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

#10 in our new feature that offers up staff-selected recommendations for your consideration.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Yes this book is getting a lot of attention — but deservedly so. With a palpable Scandinavian tone, this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, features a grumpy yet loveable man who finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

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 must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness, that Backman unfolds elegantly for us. 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.

A feel-good story in the spirit of “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry “and “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand,” Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.

What Should I Read Next?
Speaking American: How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk (A Visual Guide) by Josh Katz

#9 in our new regular feature that offers up staff-selected recommendations for your consideration.

Speaking American: How Y'all, Youse, and You Guys Talk (A Visual Guide) by Josh Katz

A fun and compelling read from the creator of the New York Times dialect quiz that ignited conversations about how and why we say the words we say, a graphically stunning and delightful exploration of American language.

Did you know that your answers to just a handful of questions can reveal where you grew up? In December 2013, Josh Katz released an interactive dialect quiz in the New York Times that became the most viewed page in the paper’s history. Now a graphics editor, Katz harnessed the overwhelming response to that quiz to create Speaking American, an extraordinary and beautiful tour through the American vernacular.

How do you pronounce “pecan”? What do you call a long sandwich with varieties of meats and cheeses? Do you cut the grass or mow the lawn?

The answers to these questions—and the distinctions they reveal about who says what and where they say it—are not just the ultimate in cocktail party fodder; they are also windows into the history of our nation, our regions, and our language. On page after page, readers will be fascinated and charmed by these stunning maps of how Americans speak as they gain new insights into our language and ourselves.

For fans of Eats, Shoots and Leaves and How the States Got Their Shapes, Speaking American is an irresistible feast of American regional speech.

What Should I Read Next?
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

#8 in our new regular feature that offers up staff-selected recommendations for your consideration.

I have to admit it I am a little late to the Liane Moriarty Fan Club. Yes, I see that her books go out over and over again, and that a new novel will spark a long wait list, but being someone who is never part of a crowd I just didn’t read her books… until now.

My guess is that it took me a day and a half to read Big Little Lies. And I loved it. The book takes place in Australia and I can hear the accents in the writing. Starts out slow and just keeps building, this book is a great fun read.

There’s a terrible riot at Pirriwee Public’s annual school Trivia Night that leaves one parent dead. And now there’s a sneaking suspicion that the death, first a seemingly tragic accident, could actually be murder. All of which gives top-spot New York Times best-selling author Moriarty (The Husband’s Secret) a chance to visit issues of parenting, divorce, and shattered families in shuttered suburbia.

The three copies in the catalog have gone out over 125 times and I can see why. I guess I am now a member of the club, part of the crowd! And I am glad I joined!