*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Anxious People, I provide your book club with a brief summary, food ideas and recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman is a story about eight strangers who find themselves taken hostage by a desperate bank robber.
Now that you have formed a thought about what a story like that might be like, ball it up, and throw it in the trash. Because that’s exactly what Backman, in his genius, does.
The story takes place at an apartment viewing where a bank robber who has failed to properly rob the bank across the street stumbles into eight strangers and the situation escalates into a hostage situation.
What is usually a high-stakes thriller in the hands of other authors turns into a comedy about the compassion each of us requires simply to wake up and face another day.
As each of the hostages and finally bank robber reveals their deepest struggles, Backman moves the reader to examine her own needs and to consider the ways she can show kindness to those hurting around her.
Much like in A Man Called Ove, nothing on the surface of these characters can be quite trusted and throughout the book Backman pulls back layer after layer compelling the characters and the reader towards compassion.
It is one of the best books I’ve read in quite some time. I found myself scribbling down poignant truth after truth.
There is a way Backman disarms the reader with comedy and then delivers a blow to the heart. He’s done it time after time in all his novels and I encourage you to read more of his books! Find the list here!
*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Anxious People, I provide your book club with a brief summary and book club discussion questions in that order!
If you haven’t checked out the previous post in the series where I share my thoughts on Anxious People, a fun activity idea for your book club, and food ideas check out that post HERE.
You can also check out my post on another Fredrik Backman favorite,A Man Called Ove, which I loved reading as well.
In this post, I’ll review the premise of Anxious People and share book club discussion questions that are sure to get your book club talking!
Check out these fun bookish gadgets…
Here’s a brief summary of Anxious People:
When an apartment viewing goes awry, eight strangers find themselves held at gunpoint by a failed bank robber. A bank robber who never intended to take hostages and who really doesn’t know the first thing about robbing banks.
The thing is, no one in the apartment is quite who they appear to be.
And each of them–especially the bank robber–is in desperate need of rescuing. As the situation escalates, unexpected truths are illuminated, drawing these strangers closer together until what happens that fateful day leads to a series of events none of them can quite explain.
Anxious People Book Club Discussion Questions:
*WARNING: May contain spoilers!
In the book, several characters were affected by the bridge in different ways. Discuss how the bridge changed each character’s life. What do you think the bridge signified for the novel as a whole?
Were you surprised by the bank robber’s identity? What assumptions that you made about the bank robber turned out to be incorrect?
Backman often uses humor or outrageous situations to throw the reader off guard before delivering a deep thought or truth about the human condition. Discuss any particular truths illuminated in the story that specifically resonated with you.
The Martin Luther quote “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree,” is mentioned more than once in the book. Discuss this quote. Would you plant the apple tree? What about the characters in this book
The author says that this is a story about a bank robbery and a hostage drama, but it’s also a love story(ies). In the end, what element stood out To you most?
Jack and Jim are very different and like most fathers and sons have difficulty working together. “The older man thinks the most important thing is for a police officer to do the right thing, the younger thinks it’s more important to do things correctly.” Discuss Jack and Jim and their relationship. Why do you think Jack doesn’t fight Jim on his decision about the bank robber?
Which of the characters was your favorite? Why?
Discuss all the ways the characters are dealing with loneliness. Why do you think loneliness is such a prevalent issue in today’s society despite modern connectedness? How can we extend compassion to one another to break our constructed Instagram-perfect barriers?
If you have lost someone to suicide and feel comfortable about sharing, tell the group how this book affected you. Have you carried any guilt of what happened like Zara?
How did this book compare to other Backman novels you have read? Also, share with the group any other novels you’ve read that deal with suicide or mental illness with grace and compassion.
Don’t forget to check out the other posts in this series forAnxious People! You can find fun book club ideas and delicious food ideas HERE.
Have you read Anxious People? What did you think? Did it satisfy you or were you left wishing for more? What are some similar books you’ve read?
Until next time, Happy Reading!
Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. In the event of a sale, I will be awarded a small commission (at no extra cost to you or the featured book’s author). All opinions are 100% mine and every book, unless otherwise noted, is handpicked by me to be featured on the site.
*If you are new here, WELCOME! For this post, I provide you with a delicious recipe for Capricciosa Pizza!
Capricciosa pizza…if you live in the States, you may have never heard of it. The name capricciosa means capricious in Italian or given to sudden whims or mood changes.
In other words, the pizza’s ingredients are left to the whim of the chef…or whatever they have on hand.
Most recipes for Capricciosa Pizza you’ll find on the internet include a fairly similar list of ingredients, though. And, you’ll find this pizza pie familiar in that it resembles what we in the States call Supreme or The Works or The Special, etc.
So, if you don’t like a few of the ingredients I used on my Capricciosa Pizza, change it up. Play to your mood.
If you’re stopping by here while searching for recipes, you may not know that the recipes here are all inspired by books! This particular recipe was created after readingAnxious People.
This book is another hit by Fredrik Backman, the author who wrote A Man Called Ove. If you haven’t read either, I highly recommend both. Anxious People was one of my favorite reads of the year.
If you love reading, check out more about this great book HERE!
This recipe for Capricciosa Pizza starts with marinara and mozzarella. The toppings include olives, artichokes, Italian ham, and mushrooms. If you can’t find “Italian” ham, any nice sliced or shaved ham will work.
The flavors combine to create a warm and comforting dish that’s absolutely delectable.
*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Exiles, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!
Christina Baker Kline is the novelist who wrote the hit Orphan Train a few years ago. If you haven’t read Orphan Train, I encourage your book club to consider it for your list. If you have, I think you’ll enjoy the new book out by Christina Baker Kline, The Exiles.
The Exiles, like Orphan Train, is based on true historical events, namely the passage and establishment of English convicts to the island that would later become Australia.
The book, also like Orphan Train, is told from multiple intersecting storylines. The book follows two female convicts as they cross the ocean and eventually land in Australia and one aboriginal child as she is “adopted” by an English family on the island.
I really loved this novel and was fascinated by the time period and historical details as well as the characters’ stories. I was somewhat disappointed in some of the plot, but overall I thought it was a great read and worth book club attention.