Archive for December, 2015

The Dog Eared Review of ‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St. John Mandel

December 27, 2015

“Because Survival is Insufficient” – Seven of Nine (Star Trek Voyager)

Station Eleven is the award winning, fourth novel of Canadian author Emily St. John Mandel. While the many awards the book has won should be enough to entice me to read and review, my real reasoning was it is the inaugural book for the community wide book club, Red Deer Reads. I had started this review several months ago but thanks to a heavy semester was unable to finish it until now.

Set within a dystopian background, Station Eleven quickly reveals the propensity for keeping this reader captivated beyond her usual bed time. Having been drawn to post-apocalyptic narratives for as long as I can remember, I happily found the exploration of human intimacy and personal interactions within Ms. St. John Mandel’s novel to be opposite of the expected decay of character and environment as often happens within this type of tale. Station Eleven

Spanning several decades, the novel exhibits the author’s talent in connecting not only people with each other but surrounding events as well; a clarity of time kept clear rather than becoming muddled in the changing intervals. With clever word play, that would make the Bard himself proud, the author invites the reader to keep guessing until the end about the connectivity the characters all share. With the continual development of the characters, throughout the entirety of the novel, an attachment of sorts is created; with some character’s charm endearing them to the reader while the possibility of death for others elicits silent encouragement.

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Best Books of the Year

December 18, 2015

Just in time to help you with all of your last minute Christmas shopping, the best books of the year lists are out.  Some of our favourites:

  • The Globe 100: The Best Books of 2015 from the editors and reviewers at the Globe and Mail – comes with a handy search feature that lets you filter by genre and collection, and links you to the original review.
  • The Best Books of 2015, from CBC Books – includes a handy PDF version of the list in case you want to print it off and then check them off as you read them.
  • The 10 Best Books of 2015, selected by the editors of the New York Times Book Review- with links to the original reviews.
  • The 10 Best (and 5 Worst!) Books of 2015, from Entertainment Weekly – because maybe you want to buy someone a really bad book?

For more fun with book lists, check out EarlyWord: The Publisher-Librarian Connection.  A list of lists (because who doesn’t like those?) is about halfway down on the right-hand side of the page.  Happy reading!

Meet Autumn, our RDC Student Book Blogger!

December 8, 2015

RDC Library is happy to welcome Autumn Chrunik to our team as a student book blogger. She is in her first year of college studying English at RDC. She’s an avid reader (a huge bookworm!), who hopes to become an author someday. Until then she wants to study literature and literary writing, as well as publishing. Other than reading, she enjoys writing and hanging out with her friends and family. You can find Autumn on Twitter @AutumnChrunik or check out her blog For Those Who Read at Night.  Interested in being a student book blogger? Email: mary.medinsky@rdc.ab.ca

autumn

REVIEW: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Synopsis (from my hardback cover)-

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do today. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations- _______ and _______- are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, exes Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But the warship is the least of their problems. A deadly ______ has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results. The fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what the ____ is going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

 BRIEFING NOTE-

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Look at how pretty the book is! And it’s just as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside!

illuminae

My Thoughts-

This was my most anticipated book of the year! The hype for it was so high and so great that I was very nervous to read it (excited, but nervous) because my expectations were so high. Often times, when I read a book that’s highly anticipated and people are so excited about it, I don’t like it that much, or I am left feeling disappointed. I expect amazing things when people rave about a certain book, which is why my expectations are always so high with said book. This book however, and though my expectations were very high, exceeded those expectations for me! Here’s why:

Plot-

The plot is amazing. Actually, MIND BLOWING is a better way to describe it.

 Characters-

I loved all of the characters in this story. I will admit that it took a little bit for me to feel connected to them, since this story was strictly written via emails, military files, IMs, and interviews. You don’t get to read the characters’ thoughts and feelings as you would in a story like The Hunger Games. A lot of it was inferred and left to your imagination.

We follow two (well, actually three) main characters: Kady, Ezra, and later in the book we meet AIDAN. I really enjoyed these characters and their connection to each other. I even liked AIDAN’s character, who you will learn may or may not have Kady and Ezra’s best interests at hand.

There were several minor characters throughout the book, that helped tell the story and connect all the events together. Getting to know these characters and understanding them in the way they were written took a little while to get used to, but once you started to get into the story, it was easy to follow.

 Setting-

It’s set in space. I love space.

 Writing Style-

The writing style was so cool! As well as the emails, military files, IMs, and interviews, there were also pictures in the book so you could see what some of the aspects of their world looked like (for example, there were pictures and diagrams of what the spaceships looked like, that they were living on). I also loved how busy the story was. There was so much going on, but it connected very well together. I had no trouble keeping up with what was going on. It was a very fun way to read a book.

Overall-

Overall I give Illuminae 5/5 stars! It deserves all the praise that it gets! It was so well written- MIND BLOWING, like I stated already. I seriously can’t wait until the second one gets released next year! If you enjoy science fiction, or even if you are not sure whether you do or not, I’d highly recommend this book!

Want to read this book? Request it using The Alberta Library.