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MC Reads! and Peoria Reads!
The title chosen for MCReads! and Peoria Reads! in 2018 is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.
Methodist College Reads! (MC Reads!) is a community reading program designed to bring the college community together through the reading and discussion of a common text.
MC Reads! promises to promote:
- a shared college community experience
- a collaborative opportunity with Peoria Reads!
- integrative learning skills
- the college’s assessment of integrative learning
About Station Eleven
"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." --from the publisher
A National Book Award Finalist
A PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist
King Lear by Shakespeare
You'll Probably Never Catch Ebola—So Why Is the Disease So Terrifying? By Emily St. John Mandel
Experiences during the Epidemic by Anne L Colon
- Publishers Weekly:
- Few themes are as played-out as that of post-apocalypse, but St. John Mandel (The Lola Quartet ) finds a unique point of departure from which to examine civilization’s wreckage, beginning with a performance of King Lear cut short by the onstage death of its lead, Arthur Leander, from an apparent heart attack. On hand are an aspiring paramedic, Jeevan Chaudary, and a young actress, Kirsten Raymonde; Leander’s is only the first death they will witness, as a pandemic, the so-called Georgia Flu, quickly wipes out all but a few pockets of civilization. Twenty years later, Kirsten, now a member of a musical theater troupe, travels through a wasteland inhabited by a dangerous prophet and his followers. Guided only by the graphic novel called Station Eleven given to her by Leander before his death, she sets off on an arduous journey toward the Museum of Civilization, which is housed in a disused airport terminal. Kirsten is not the only survivor with a curious link to the actor: the story explores Jeevan’s past as an entertainment journalist and, in a series of flashbacks, his role in Leander’s decline. Also joining the cast are Leander’s first wife, Miranda, who is the artist behind Station Eleven, and his best friend, 70-year-old Clark Thompson, who tends to the terminal settlement Kirsten is seeking. With its wild fusion of celebrity gossip and grim future, this book shouldn’t work nearly so well, but St. John Mandel’s examination of the connections between individuals with disparate destinies makes a case for the worth of even a single life. (Sept.) --Staff (Reviewed June 23, 2014) (Publishers Weekly, vol 261, issue 25, p)
- Library Journal:
- /* Starred Review */ Onstage at a Toronto theater, an aging movie star drops dead while performing the title role in King Lear . As the other cast members share a drink at the lobby bar before heading into the snowy night, none can know what horrors await them: "Of all of them at the bar that night, the bartender was the one who survived the longest. He died three weeks later on the road out of the city." The Shakespearean tragedy unfolds into a real-life calamity just before the entire world is overtaken by a catastrophic flu pandemic that will kill off the vast majority of the population. The narrative is organized around several figures present at the theater that night, and the tale travels back and forth in time, from the years before the pandemic through the following 20 years in a world without government, electricity, telecommunications, modern medicine, or transportation. In this lawless and dangerous new reality, a band of actors and musicians performs Shakespeare for the small communities that have come into existence in the otherwise abandoned landscape. In this unforgettable, haunting, and almost hallucinatory portrait of life at the edge, those who remain struggle to retain their basic humanity and make connections with the vanished world through art, memory, and remnants of popular culture. VERDICT This is a brilliantly constructed, highly literary, postapocalyptic page-turner, and should be a breakout novel for Mandel. [See Prepub Alert, 3/24/14.]— Lauren Gilbert, Sachem P.L., Holbrook, NY --Susan Moritz (Reviewed September 1, 2014) (Library Journal, vol 139, issue 14, p100)
- /* Starred Review */ Survivors and victims of a pandemic populate this quietly ambitious take on a post-apocalyptic world where some strive to preserve art, culture and kindness.In her fourth novel, Mandel (The Lola Quartet, 2012, etc.) moves away from the literary thriller form of her previous books but keeps much of the intrigue. The story concerns the before and after of a catastrophic virus called the Georgia Flu that wipes out most of the world's population. On one side of the timeline are the survivors, mainly a traveling troupe of musicians and actors and a stationary group stuck for years in an airport. On the other is a professional actor, who dies in the opening pages while performing King Lear, his ex-wives and his oldest friend, glimpsed in flashbacks. There's also the paparazzo-turned-paramedic who runs to the stage from the audience to try to revive him, a Samaritan role he will play again in later years. Mandel is effectively spare in her depiction of both the tough hand-to-mouth existence of a devastated world and the almost unchallenged life of the celebrity-think of Cormac McCarthy seesawing with Joan Didion. The intrigue arises when the troupe is threatened by a cult and breaks into disparate offshoots struggling toward a common haven. Woven through these little odysseys, and cunningly linking the cushy past and the perilous present, is a figure called the Prophet. Indeed, Mandel spins a satisfying web of coincidence and kismet while providing numerous strong moments, as when one of the last planes lands at the airport and seals its doors in self-imposed quarantine, standing for days on the tarmac as those outside try not to ponder the nightmare within. Another strand of that web is a well-traveled copy of a sci-fi graphic novel drawn by the actor's first wife, depicting a space station seeking a new home after aliens take over Earth different sort of artist also pondering man's fate and future.Mandel's solid writing and magnetic narrative make for a strong combination in what should be a breakout novel.(Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2014)
Emily St. John Mandel
Author photo by Dese'Rae L. Stage
"Emily St. John Mandel is the author of four novels, most recently Station Eleven, which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, and won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Toronto Book Award, and the Morning News Tournament of Books, and has been translated into 31 languages. A previous novel, The Singer's Gun, was the 2014 winner of the Prix Mystere de la Critique in France. Her short fiction and essays have been anthologized in numerous collections, including Best American Mystery Stories 2013. She is a staff writer for The Millions. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter." - From www.emilymandel.com
Book Guides and Discussion Questions
2015-16: Station Eleven | Common Reading (from the University of Oregon)
Methodist College Events
- February 13th- Book Club Meeting with the CSS "Love is All You Need," 2:30-3:30 PM in W178
- February 13th- Movie Showing 3:30-5:45 PM in the Parliament
- March 6th- Book Club Meeting with the CSS "Puttin' on the Plague," 3-4 PM in W178
- March 15th- Epidemic Outbreak Presentation, 6-8 PM
- April 2nd -Plague Literature Book Talk 11 AM in W184
- April 10th- Book Club Meeting with the CSS "Survival is Insufficient," 3-4 PM in W178
- April 12th - Encore presentation of Plague Literature Book Talk 2 PM in W184
- May 1st- Book Club Meeting with the CSS "It's the End of the World as We Know it," 3-4 PM in W178