*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!
That said, I want to warn sensitive readers that the subject of this book largely revolves around a suicide and mental illness. I won’t reveal more than that, but I want to make readers aware of that in case someone in the group might struggle with the topic.
I will say Backman is tackling the subject in order to increase awareness and sensitivity and does so with grace and comedy, so in some ways the novel could be healing to someone who is grieving.
In any event, there is plenty to discuss about Anxious People and who doesn’t love a comedy about the human condition?
On that note, I’ve provided book club questions and a delicious recipe in this series of posts for Anxious People, so if you are looking for food ideas and more, keep reading!
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.
For the Anxious People Book Club Activity:
Did you know that escape rooms are extremely popular right now?
That’s right, you pay someone money to lock you in a room. The object is to solve a series of puzzles that will ultimately allow you to escape.
Kind of like the characters in Anxious People, only voluntary.
For your book club meeting for Anxious People consider buying a cheap escape room game. There are plenty available in stores or on Amazon these days. And, they are so much fun and a great way to bond as a group.
Here’s a few you might like:
For the Anxious People Food Ideas and Recipe:
Because the book largely takes place in an apartment during a hostage situation, there isn’t a large variety of food discussed in the book. There is one dish, though, that resurfaces in more than one chapter–pizza!
Who doesn’t love pizza (not counting Zara!)? Some of the pizzas mentioned like kebab and capricciosa were new to me. Apparently kebab pizza is a very Swedish dish. One that I’ll have to try one day. If you’ve ever tried it, let me know if you liked it!
For Anxious People, though, I decided to cook up a capricciosa pizza.
Capricciosa is a traditional Italian pizza 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.
In case you want more options, here are a few other food suggestions from the pages of Anxious People:
- Chapter 8 – The differences between Jack and Jim are highlighted in their food tastes. Jim likes hot dogs and instant potatoes, Jack likes sushi.
- Chapter 43 (and continued) – The hostages order pizza. The order includes kebab pizza with extra garlic sauce, capricciosa, and Hawaiian (with no ham or pineapple add extra cheese, olives, banana and peanuts).
- Throughout the book the limes on the coffee table are mentioned and eaten. Consider serving a lime soda with your pizza!
Whatever route you choose, if you are looking for food suggestions for Anxious People, I think your book club will be happy to try Capricciosa Pizza.
Get the full recipe for Capricciosa Pizza HERE!
Personally, Anxious People kept me thinking long after I closed the last page, which is always a plus for me (and many readers)! The quirky characters combined with a serious subject left little for me not to love.
If you are looking for a book that will spur discussion, touch on a wide-spread issue, and keep you turning pages, Anxious People is a fantastic choice.
On that note, I’ve provided book club discussion questions and a delicious recipe for Anxious People, so if you are looking for a companion recipe and more, keep reading!
Click HERE for the book club discussion questions for Anxious People!
Click HERE for the recipe for Capricciosa Pizza for your book club for Anxious People!
I hope you enjoyed the fun book club activity and food ideas for Anxious People in this post!
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.
Bookish gifts for you or your reader friends!