Yes, he's cranky. Yes, he's a little bitter. But 'Ove' is a hit

'A Man Called Ove' by Fredrik Backman
'A Man Called Ove' by Fredrik Backman
Courtesy of publisher

Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke with Peggy Stout, a co-owner of Prairie Pages in Pierre, S.D.

Stout's recommendation is one you may have heard of: "A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman. The Swedish book hit shelves two years ago, and just keeps on selling. A film adaptation followed last year.

The novel is the story of a grump — a curmudgeon, a crab, a stick-in-the-mud, whatever you prefer. His gruff exterior is put to the test when a young family moves in next door, and promptly crushes his mailbox with their moving truck.

"When I sell this book, I like to tell people: Keep an open mind, and don't judge him. Yes, he's cranky. Yes, he's a little bitter. But at the same time, as you grow to fall in love with him in a way, you find that he has a heart as big as the world," Stout said.

"So many times, we overlook older people, as if they've already lived their lives. But I think sometimes when you read a book like this, you find out they're very young inside in so many ways. They've been hurt, they're searching for things. I think sometimes we forget about that."

"This book, to me, made me feel again for an older person and how much they have gone through in their lives."

Because recommending just one book is nigh impossible for a bookseller, Stout is also excited about "A Gentleman in Moscow" by Amor Towles, "The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead, "Hillbilly Elegy" by J.D. Vance, "Truevine" by Beth Macy and a pair of books from Jojo Moyes: "Me Before You" and "After You."

Man Called Ove Man Called Ove

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