This month has been another fairly quiet one for reading.
The highlight of the month was Station Eleven, by Emily St John Mandel, which has to be one of the best books I’ve read this year.
A literary post-apocalyptic novel, it imagines what life would be like after a great crisis has wiped out most of the world’s population, leaving only a handful of people to struggle on in disparate groups without technology or the comforts of modern life.
This is the world of The Travelling Symphony, a group of actors and musicians who travel from town to town performing the works of Shakespeare and classical music.
It’s a really intelligent, thoughtful read and is beautifully written. If you ask for one book for Christmas, make it this one!
I also enjoyed Big Sur, which explores the darker side of Jack Kerouac’s life, when he is growing tired of his lifestyle of partying and hooking up with strange people. It’s a difficult read in places, as his insecurities do shine through. It’s even more tragic reading the scenes where he is worrying about his drinking and its effects, knowing that it did eventually catch up with him.
A colleague recommended I read Wine of Angels, which reminded me of the TV show Midsomer Murders. It’s about a woman with a difficult past who moves to a little country village to take over the post of vicar. The village also has a dark past, with a former minister hung for consorting with the devil.
Part supernatural mystery, part crime novel, this book has a very sedate rural feel, but with a dark undertone that makes it a constantly surprising read. It’s not like any of the crime novels I’ve read before.
Affiliate links below.
- Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel (read my review)
- The Wine of Angels (Merrily Watkins 1) (Merrily Watkins Mysteries), by Phil Rickman
- Big Sur (Penguin Modern Classics), by Jack Kerouac
Disclaimer: I received an advance e-copy of Station Eleven from the publisher via NetGalley – all opinions my own.