Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Book Review: Station Eleven

  Hello there! Today's post is going to a little bit different, as although I have talked about the 10 books that left a lasting impression on me, I have never dedicated a post to a single book. I thought that today I would share with you my thoughts on Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, mainly because it's one of the first books that I have read in a long time that hasn't been to do with my degree. The plot isn't something that I would normally go for, but I've seen a few people mention that they really enjoyed it, and as it was in the '3 books for £10' deal on Amazon a while ago, I thought I'd order it and give it a go.

 Station Eleven explores a post-pandemic America, and this isn't normally a theme that I would automatically want to read about, but what enticed me was the fact that in this collapsed world there is a group called the 'Travelling Symphony' who move around America performing Shakespeare. Being a humanities student I have definitely come into contact with people who question what is the actual point of a humanities degree? Or one that I get ALL the time, is when someone hears you're doing a humanities degree and the immediate answer is 'oh so you're going to be a teacher then'. No, no I am not. Degrees such as chemistry or one of the many types of engineering seem to never be questioned, as the results are clear, but with things like literature, a lot of people see my degree as a walk in the park. In my first year, for one of my modules I had to write an essay on how valuable the module had been to my degree, which meant I looked into the value of Arts and Humanities as a whole. I'm sorry this has gone a bit off topic, but essentially what drew me to Station Eleven was the value it placed on the collective nature of Literature, and within the novel specifically Shakespeare. A question raised on the blurb is 'If civilisation was lost, what would you preserve? And how far would you go to protect it?'. It may not seem like it, but throughout history a lot has been taken and recorded within literature, and the world would be a very different place without it.
 Interwoven with different stories, the novel's focus is upon the character of Arthur Leander, but rather than being from his viewpoint, the novel explores various people's connections to him. Through being narrated, the flitting between the past and the present isn't confusing, and I really enjoyed reading different people's stories of their experience of the pandemic, and how their experiences linked in with people's experiences in the post-pandemic world. All of the characters were at a different part of their life when the pandemic broke out, and for those who were older  question whether they should teach their children of what things were like then compared to their now, or whether it's better for them not knowing. It's a very thought provoking book, and I would love to hear what others have thought of it and what they have taken away from it.

Have you read a really good book recently that you would recommend?

Love Jess xxx


  1. Sounds an interesting book, I will have to try it. I have been reading a couple of books by Ian Rankin, his InspecTor Rebus novels are hard to put down!!😀👮🏻

  2. I work at a bookstore and a lot of the ladies have been talking about reading it, though I haven't before. It does sound very interesting. I like what you say about being an English major, though. I'm an English (education major actually, but secondary so technically I'm just getting an english lit major and then a teaching certificate) major. Even though I'm planning on being a teacher, I still get the same response as you. I had one of my grandparents friends tell me, "Well, good luck with that."
    I was so angry. Glad to hear you feel strongly about it as well.
    Brooke | brookewrote

    1. Good luck with your course and getting into teaching! :) x


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