"Station Eleven" and "Bel Canto"

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Loved this book! I'm not usually a fan of dystopian literature, but there's something about this one. It begins with a worldwide epidemic that wipes out most of humanity, but it doesn't wallow in that dark, gritty misery we usually get in this genre. There is some of that of course, how could there not be, and the few who survive have to deal with all kinds of difficulty as they try to bring some kind of meaning back into their lives, but they do it. Shocked by their circumstances, terrified at times, they are still determined to survive as long as they can, and they use all the skill and imagination they have to do that. It's a great story, tragic yes, but hopeful, with well written, relate-able, characters. Highly recommended.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

I bought this book because the title appealed to me and it turned out to be a good decision because it's a fascinating read. It's set in a small foreign country where an opera star is entertaining at an extravagant birthday party in the home of the Vice-President. In the middle of the party, a group of heavily armed terrorists storm in through windows and doors, intending to kidnap the President and make a clean getaway. But the president is not at the party, and now the terrorists are stuck with a room full of hostages and no plan. The story is far from the typical tv-type hostage drama. This one examines human relationships, and how people from completely different backgrounds, with varying worldviews, can make authentic connections in even the most precarious, and strange, circumstances. It's full of wonderful characters, in a story that is not only compelling, but quite beautiful. A must read.   


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