Worthy Reads 1

A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman & Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

A Man Called Ove is a heartwarming read about a grumpy, crotchety, mean old man whom you instantly create a soft spot for in your heart; despite how much he loathes people who don’t drive Saabs. This funny, thoughtful and endearing story follows a man named Ove (pronounced Oo-vah) who believes there is nothing worthwhile about life since the passing of his wife; and not in a depressed way but in a matter-of-fact that’s-just-the-way-it-is way. Until that is, a rowdy and foreign family moves in next door, knocking over his mailbox with their trailer. They end up causing him more grief than he finds appropriate and in turn, he realizes there is more left to live in his life than he originally thought. This book is a fun, easy read that will leave you with a smile on your face and warmth in your heart and is definitely a worthy read.

When I saw Idaho, I had to read it. The cover is gorgeous, the summary promising, and it takes place in the panhandle of our beautiful state. The story opens with a tragic murder and a woman trying to uncover its secrets while caring for her mentally ailing husband, all those elements immediately grabbing your attention and interest.

Idaho has beautiful prose with poetic and hypnotic descriptions. The story unfolds through past and present narratives from different points of view, seamlessly intertwined to create a mesmerizing and addicting story. In the second half of the novel, I began to feel the descriptions were a little heavy and I found myself wanting more answers about the story. But Ruskovich does her job of evoking a cacophony of emotions: heartbreak, depression, anger, warmth, exhaustion.

Every reader has a preferred genre and while this book is beautifully written, it reminds me why I don’t default to literary fiction–to me that genre is more about the telling of the story than the actual story itself. I believe every book should be given a chance, don’t go into Idaho thinking it will be wrapped up with a pretty bow. It’s a heavy story that shouldn’t be read if one is looking for an easy summer read. But if you’re a fan of literary fiction and are looking for beautiful writing, this book is worth the read for you.

Ruskovich is an Idaho native who will be teaching at Boise State University this fall.