Reading challenge #3: A book a friend recommended

Station Eleven, Emily St, John Mandel
“No more diving into chlorinated pools of water lit green from below. No more ballgames played out under floodlights. No more porch lights with moths fluttering on summer nights. No more trains running under the surface of cities on the dazzling power of the electric third rail. No more cities.”
This week, I finished Station Eleven. Finally. It’s taken me months to get round to reading it, despite being told about it, despite it being our Book Of The Week at work in September, despite my friend’s recommendation to everyone, including me. I am Fool.

I work in a library, with three other people. Almost everything I read is a recommendation by someone, be it one of my immediate colleagues, another member of staff, a pupil, or one of my numerous book-working, book-loving friends. But this was more than just “urghhhh what should I read today because I’ve finished my book” – my friend was telling people about it, and everyone who read it loved it, so this can be “a book a friend recommended”.

But it took me a while to get round to it. Because, as I have said, I am Fool.

An enormous fool.

When 99% of the world’s population are struck down by a flu, civilisation crumbles within days. People do their best to survive, to rebuild. Musicians and actors roam North America, performing Shakespeare and music to the survivors. Told in a range of timescales, and following several lives, Station Eleven forces us to consider what would happen if a pandemic really did take hold, what it would be like to survive that. What it would be like to live in the world that remains.

I laughed, out loud, on trains. I cried, in a café, into mouthfuls of swiss roll, much to the concern of the businessman sitting opposite me, eating a treacle tart. I stared into space. I told everyone I met that I was reading it, loving it, that they should read it. It will stay with me (partly because I read the library copy, but I’m going to buy a copy to keep/press into people’s hands with fervour).

Other categories that Station Eleven fits into:  a book with a number in the title, a book by a female author, a mystery or thrilled, a book set in a different country, a book that scares you, a book set in the future, a book that made you cry,  a book by an author you’ve never read before



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