It’s February…and not just any February, it’s a Leap Year! 29 days this month, that means one extra day of reading. This has me motivated to read more this month than I did in January.
This month I had no rhyme or reason for my selection, where I normally try to pick multiple genres. I looked at my TBR (To Be Read) shelf and randomly selected the ones that tickled my fancy. Did not give this more than 2 minutes worth of thought. Well, it appears that I have a bit of a hankering for Science Fiction and Dystopian (3 of 5 of the books selected).
Starting off my reading month is Pride and Prejudice, which I did not have the chance to complete in January. I have only read one-third of this Jane Austen Classic, all of which I have very much enjoyed. I do not have an immediate ‘must-read-next’ book after completing Pride and Prejudice, it will depend more on my mood. But I have included a reread* in here, Never Let Me Go. I hope that I enjoy it as much as I did when I first read it in 2011. The other three books selected so happen to be Gift Card Picks from my December 2015 Book Haul.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
“Elizabeth Bennet is young, clever and attractive, but her mother is a nightmare and she and her four sisters are in dire need of financial security and escape in the shape of husbands. The arrival of the affable Mr Bingley and arrogant Mr Darcy in the neighbourhood, both single and in possession of large fortunes, turns all their lives upside down in this witty drama of friendship, rivalry, enmity and love.” (Book Depository)
Animal Farm by George Orwell
“Tired of their servitude to man, a group of farm animals revolt and establish their own society, only to be betrayed into worse servitude by their leaders, the pigs, whose slogan becomes: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” This 1945 satire addresses the socialist/communist philosophy of Stalin in the Soviet Union.” (Goodreads)
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
“Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.
Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.
Never Let Me Go breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel. It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date.” (Goodreads)
Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
“In Not that Kind of Girl, Dunham illuminates the experiences that are part of making one’s way in the world: falling in love, feeling alone, being ten pounds overweight despite eating only health food, having to prove yourself in a room full of men twice your age, finding true love, and, most of all, having the guts to believe that your story is one that deserves to be told.
Exuberant, moving, and keenly observed, Not that Kind of Girl is a series of dispatches from the frontlines of the struggle that is growing up.” (Goodreads)
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
“An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.
One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur’s chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them.
Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten’s arm is a line from Star Trek: “Because survival is insufficient.” But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave.
Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.” (Goodreads)
* Rereads: One of my personal 2016 Reading Resolutions is to complete 7 rereads.