7 Books to Read if You Loved A Man Called Ove

Fredrik Backman’s unique emotional stories and quirky characters have won over readers all over the world. If you’ve enjoyed his novels, here are seven more that you’ll be captivated by as well!

Bear Necessity by James Gould-Bourn

This quirky novel definitely has a Backman feel to it. With quirky characters and emotional turmoil, it’s often funny and sad in the same paragraph. Danny is single dad to 11-year-old Will, who hasn’t spoken since he was in the car accident that killed her mother a year ago. Danny is down on his luck in every way possible, so he takes some drastic measures in an attempt to earn money to pay their back rent. 

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Since losing his wife, Retired Major Ernest Pettigrew has led a quiet life in his small English village. When his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, a Pakistani shopkeeper, the two widows are drawn together by their shared love of literature. Eventually, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more and must face the village’s judgements. 

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

Allan Karlsson is about to turn 100 and he’s in good health. He’s not interested in the planned celebrations, so he climbs out the window and goes on an adventure. Through Allan’s memories and experiences, readers see some of the most important events of the 20th century. This is a funny, thoughtful story with excellent writing.

600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster

At thirty-nine, with Asperger’s syndrome and OCD, Edward lives alone and keeps a rigid schedule. When he gets new neighbors, a single mom with her nine-year-old son, Edwards schedule and whole life are tossed upside down. The novel takes place over the course of 600 hours, as he opens up to his new neighbors and confronts his estranged parents. The story has laugh out loud moments and difficult ones, and is overall a heartwarming story.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

Renee is the concierge in an elegant apartment building in Paris. Paloma is twelve-year-old genius who has decided to end her life on her thirteenth birthday. Both are misunderstood by everyone in their lives, and strike up an unlikely friendship when they are brought together by a new addition to the hotel. This is a quirky book that takes things slow.

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

 A lonely geriatric man leaves a notebook in a cafe, after he’s written his story and posed a question for finders of the notebook to contemplate, “Everybody lies about their lives. What would happen if you shared the truth?” One person after another finds the notebook and writes their answer, and they are then inspired to live more honestly. The notebook travels around and brings the people who find it together.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

This title might seem like a stretch for some readers of this list. It’s definitely a long haul of a read, and even if it feels intimidating, I encourage you to give it a go and stick with it. Like many of Irving’s novels, it’s best appreciated once you’ve finished and can absorb it as a whole.

In 1953, eleven-year-old Owen Meany is playing in a little league game when he hits a foul ball that kills his best friend’s mother. The novel is narrated by Owen’s best friend, John, in two alternating timelines, which give us John’s present day life and his memories of growing up with Owen in the 1950s-’60s in New Hampshire. John tells us how Owen was a remarkable boy in many ways and that he believed himself to be God’s instrument. This is a powerful, emotional novel with a lot of WTF moments. It explores a lot of different themes and views on religion and politics as well as telling the life story of an incredible individual.


As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on my read-alike suggestions. Do you have any other suggestions for readers who loved A Man Called Ove?


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