Monday, January 11, 2016

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Title: Station Eleven
Author: Emily St. John Mandel 
Rating: 4 Stars
Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end.

Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed.
- Summary from Goodreads

Station Eleven is a dystopian novel set fifteen years after a plague outbreak which killed a large percentage of the population. Kristen is part of a traveling drama group that performs Shakespeare in the towns they come across. Unlike most post-apocalyptic stories, Station Eleven is not just a story about survival, it’s about what it means to be human. Kristen’s favorite quote is one from Star Trek: "Because survival is insufficient." This quote works as a theme for the novel.

The story is told from multiple POVs and is non-linear. While this was an interesting way to do it, I felt like Kristen and the other characters from the present seemed very distant and static. I cared more about the characters in the past than the ones post plague. Likewise, I didn't really care about the main conflict in the present. I found that the majority of the tension in the story comes from the backstory’s rate of reveal rather than the progression of the front story. All of the characters are connected in at least a small way and (eventually) all of the connections are revealed. The revelation is what kept me reading.

In the end, all the puzzle pieces come together to form one picture. I was impressed by the writing and the way the story came together, it truly is a masterpiece. That being said, the disconnect with Kristen and the dystopian world makes me think that I probably won't read it again.


Friday, January 1, 2016

Statistics Survey 2015: Sarah's List

book statstics stats survey
I got this wonderful Survey over at bookaddictsguide (THANKS!) and had the best time doing it. Here's my year in book:
number of statistics survey
  • Number of books read…
    • Under 250 pages (not including novellas): 12
    • Between 400-449 pages: 13
    • Between 450-499 pages: 5
    • Over 500 pages: 4
    • Over 1000 pages: 0
  • Number of…
    • Audiobooks: 5 Full; 4 Partial
    • Re-reads: 13
    • DNFs (did not finish): 4-5 (I normally don't count these)
  • Number of books rated…
    • Five Stars: 33
    • One/Two Stars: 4
  • Number of authors met in 2015: About 13... I think
  • Number of book events attended in 2015: 1 Book Fair + 2 Author Events
  • Number of books you read in one day: I am a slow reader so probably 1
  • Number of books that made you cry: I guesstimate tears in about 7-8 books
  • Number of 2016 books you have on pre-order: 0
by the books statistics survey
  • Book read furthest away from home (vacation reads?): 0
  • Book that took you the longest to read: Wuthering Heights (10-13 to 12-9)
  • Book that you personally connected with the most: How do you Personally Connect?
  • Book that made you love the villain: Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson.
  • Book you said you’d come back to but still haven’t picked up again: Woman in White
  • Book you read waaaay before it’s publication date: Heart of Betrayal... 4 months
  • Book you read on your birthday: Isla and the Happily Ever After (because All Fall Down hadn't come in yet)
  • Book with a character who shares your name: Can't think of one
  • Book you weren’t entirely truthful about when rating (Fluff up any ratings? Rated even though you didn’t finish?): I usually rate up.... but I think I rated The Storyspinner higher than I liked it.
  • Book you read in 2015 but already want to re-read: So many: The Fixer, Heart of Betrayal, Compulsion, etc.
  • Book you borrowed from a friend a long time ago and still have: I really don't borrow books from friends.
  • Book you which you could go back and read for the first time again: Texas Gothic
  • Most books read by one author this year: Counting Rereads: Ally Carter (6); New to Me Books: Jennifer Lynn Barnes (4)
this & that statistics survey
  • Happiest & saddest: I really can't tell
  • Longest & shortest…
    • By page number:Winter (824 pg.), Legacy Lost (32 pg.)
    • By title: Rook (4 letters); I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (39 letters)
    • From buying to reading: I don't buy books often so I really can't answer
  • Best & worst…
    • Average rating on Goodreads:Queen of Shadows (4.65); Atlantia (3.38)
    • Books you read/your rating: Heart of Betrayal (5 Stars); Wuthering Heights (1 Star)
    • Series enders: I only finished 2 series this year and they were both awesome: The Lunar Chronicles and Fire and Thorns
  • First & last…
    • Reads of 2015: Talon (1st); Etiquette & Espionage (last)
    • Books on your bookcase (1st book on the top left and last book on the bottom right): Blood Red Road; Venom
  • Most disappointing & biggest pleasant surprise: The Storyspinner was the most disappointing for me and I was most pleasantly surprised by Texas Gothic (I LOVED IT!)
  • Fandom you joined & one you abandoned: Well, I am now a Jennifer Lynn Barnes fan.... not sure if I abandoned any but I'm hanging on by a thread to a few.
  • Series you picked up & series you quit: I started 19 new-to-me series this year. About 5 or 6 I won't continue.
  • Most lenient & harshest ratings: Probably most lenient is Spirit and Dust (I had issues with the writing but had fun with the story so I gave it 4 Stars); Harshest is Wuthering Heights with 1 Star (I know some people like it but I DESPISED it!)
  • Most hyped & furthest under the radar that you read: Most hyped was probably Queen of Shadows or Winter..... Furthest under the radar I'm not sure.
grab bag statistics survey
  • Book you read that is red: 3 (others have red in them)
  • Starts with X, Y, or Z: 0 (those were the last 3 letter's I needed to get the alphabet!)
  • Book you hugged when you finished it: Heart of Betrayal, Lonely Heart Club
  • Book you wanted to throw across a room: Thirteenth Tale, Wuthering Heights
  • Food you craved while/after reading a certain book: Don't know
  • Book that became an instant go-to recommendation: Heart of Betrayal, The Fixer, Lonely Heart's Club
  • Furthest out of your comfort zone:Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (I normally don't read epistolary format)
  • Read on a recommendation (that you may not have picked up yourself): The Fill-In Boyfriend (I don't read a lot of this type of contemporary)
  • Forced yourself to finish: Thirteenth Tale, Wuthering Heights.
  • Series or author’s works you binged (whether all at once or throughout the year): Gallagher Girls series, The Lunar Chronicles