Between the personal upheaval of 2016 and the political uneasiness of 2017, it feels like an eternity since I lost myself in a novel. (The last one I devoured was Catacomb the third novel in a trilogy by Madeleine Roux.)
Instead of fiction, I’ve been glued to breaking news updates on my phone and introspective self-help books. All of which I feel justified in reading. Movies were my escapism, with Rogue One and Wonder Woman restoring hope.
Because I stack my to-read list in the order I received the books (with priority given to the books given as gifts), the book on the top of my to read list was Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I started it as soon as my brother gave it to me one Christmas, enjoying the prologue but getting caught by life before the heart of the novel picked up. Then as the risk of nuclear war returned to the collective consciousness, I lost all interest in reading a novel set in a post-apocalyptic North America.
Why not just pick up a different novel when the urge to read hit me? I don’t know. And honestly the urge to read fiction didn’t really hit. I was pushing myself hard in 2017 and left very little time for the leisure of reading.
That changed last night.
After two years of collecting dust, I reopened Station Eleven and in just two reading sessions (pre-bedtime and bus ride to work) I’m one third of the way through the book. I don’t want to put it down. While my general feelings having changed regarding reading about a post-apocalyptic America in our current state of global politics, I’m intensely invested in the two women at the center of the story. Something about them, their weariness at life’s struggles, and the sparks of hope they cultivate with their art speaks loudly to me right now. (I also love that there is a Star Trek: Voyager reference – the first Star Trek series I was old enough to watch live for all seven seasons.)
NPR reviewed the book in 2015.
As I read this book I feel like my soul is exhaling after a long-held breath. I’m melting into the story and finding a freshness and rejuvenation there, like how you feel when you step out into a dewy meadow at dawn, with the first warm rays of sunlight cutting through the trees at the edge of the forest.
Here’s to more reading in 2018!
What was the last novel you read or enjoyed?