“Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel- Book Review

station-elevenEven as I set out to review this book, I’m not sure how to go about it.  As we’ve discussed here before, literary appreciation is a subjective exercise, at least in part.  And what makes any particular book “good” or “bad” has a lot to do with who you are, the context you are reading that book in, your taste in books, and what other criteria you rely on in assigning that book a value.  There is a body of readers for whom “enjoyment” is the only measure of success.  If they read a book and like it, then that is a “good” book, and there’s nothing you can do to convince them otherwise.  Contrarily, there are bodies of literary criticism for whom nothing written in the last hundred years or more is worth the paper it is printed on.  These same broad general theories have application to specific pieces of literature.  In that context, would I recommend Station Eleven to you?  That depends. Continue reading

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs

sex-drugs-and-cocoa-puffsThere is a new genre of writing.  I call it “intellectual-ish writing about stupid stuff.”  Because I don’t know how else to categorize a book that has a definition of “solipsism” (the theory that only the self exists or can be proved to exist) in the front, but then devotes itself to the in-depth analysis of MTV’s “The Real World,” old episodes of “Saved by the Bell,” and internet pornography. Continue reading