Welcome to the 30 Books Before 30 Challenge! I have concucted a list of 30 books to read before I turn 30 in my last year of my 20s. There’s some classics, some fiction literature, some fantasy titles I must read and more. It’ll be a fun time and I’m curious to see how I like each title. I’ll be posting my reviews for all of them under the 30 Before 30 page so you can follow along. If you’ve read any of them I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments 🙂
First up we have… Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel. Molly from MollysBookNook will be joining me in this challenge and budding reading them all with me. So we decided to do something fun! We will each ask each other some Q&A. You can see each others answers on each others posts.
Title: Station Eleven
Author: Emily St. John Mandel
Page Count: 336 pages
Publisher: Knopf Canada, an imprint of Penguin Random House
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Buy It: Chapters Indigo
Set in the days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.
Going into this book I was hesitant because Canadian Fiction is unfortunately a struggle for me ususally. I really can’t pinpoint exactly why but it’s always a bit of a challenge to read and I never completely find myself engrossed. However I had heard amazing things about this title and I knew I needed more Canadian authors on my list so I decided to give it a try.
Sadly, Station Eleven was quite the bore for me. The first 50 pages were great, I was hooked. I was ready for the story to unfold and then I just felt like I was dragged around the wasteland of Canada with the only good part of the story – the Travelling Symphony. I liked the unique dystopian twist and the writer creates beautiful sentences but the plot did nothing for me and in turn I couldn’t really enjoy this book. The concept was great too it just didn’t deliver for me.
There seemed to be no real connection from character to character other than they were there in the same place at the same time. My thoughts are definitely an unpopular opinion. But I’m so glad Molly felt the same. We suffered through this one together.
Overall, this just wasn’t for me. I have no desire to keep it on my shelves, no desire to revisit it. It brought me no joy while reading it and so the final verdict is 1 star. First book for the 30 before 30 challenge was a dud but a rocky start only means we can go up from here!
Q&A with MollysBookNook
Another fun aspect to my 30 Before 30 challenge is Molly is joining me in buddy reading all the books with me! We can tackle this list together Molly! You can view her answers to my questions below and my questions to her answers are posted on her blog post here MollysBookNook.
- Molly, do you generally enjoy dystopian novels? What were your thoughts on Emily’s world?
I do! I really love anything “end-of-the-world”-esque. I think Station Eleven had a potentially interesting world IN THE PRESENT but since that wasn’t what the story was mainly about, it felt pretty bland. I wish there was more focus on that.
2. What was the one aspect that would’ve made you like the story if the author changed?
I think I would have liked it if there was less about Arthur and his life 14 years before and more of a focus on the present world. Especially if it focused on Kristen, who was pretty much the only interesting character. Although, those changes might make it a completely different book so I don’t know if that really counts as “one aspect”.
I agree, I was waiting for more hunkering down in condos waiting for the apocalypse to happen!