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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.

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Dan is currently the director of the Fanwood (NJ) Memorial Library. Since he accepted that position in 1997 he has dramatically taken this small suburban library into the 21st century with improvements in facilities, staffing and service. He has served locally, regionally and state wide on many civic and library related committees and boards. In his current position Dan gets to do it all, from overseeing web development, graphics design and renovations, to public relations and fund-raising, all while being the go-to-guy for overflowing toilets and salting the front walk.

With his colleague, Meg Kolaya, Dan started the consulting firm Library Connections that developed the nationally recognized and award-winning Libraries and Autism: We’re Connected project. They produced a customer service training video (updated in 2014) and website primarily for library staff to help them serve individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families more effectively. Dan and Meg have given many customer service and autism workshop presentations and keynote addresses, participated in conferences, taught online courses and consulted both locally and around the United States.

After hours, Dan continues his varied music career, now with well over 50 years of performing, singing and playing the guitar. He loves all kinds of music with a special fondness for vocalists (Hank Williams, Ray Charles, Billie Holiday and George Jones), bluegrass, honky-tonk, and acoustic roots country. Check www.dannyweiss.com to find out where to hear him next.