Tonight we discussed Station Eleven, a National Book Award Finalist, wherein humanity is just about destroyed by a killer flu, and a troupe of Shakespearean actors who call themselves the Symphony travel the countryside performing for various survivors in various small towns.
I loved it in an English-teacher kind of way. The prose is lovely, and I found beautiful passages with beautiful sentences, like this one:
This is my soul and the world unwinding, this is my heart in the still winter air (194).
And this: Hell is the absence of the people you long for (144); followed by this a few pages over: If hell is other people, what is a world with almost no people in it? (148).
I am certainly not an end-of-the-world kind of book lover, but I did love this book.
Tess did. And Amber did. (She even wrote about it here because she wanted to.)
But not everyone in our book club did.
Heather and Alli read a few pages and called it a pass. “I couldn’t get into it,” one of them said. Whitney listened to the audio and said, “I respected it but didn’t love it.” At least she powered through.
Two members of our group were not there. No word on if they liked the book or not. I figure if they had loved it, they would have at sent that word.
So I come home this evening thinking about the book clubs I ask my students to participate four times a year. I want them to enjoy the books they read, but I also want them to be able to enjoy the art of conversation. More than anything, that is what our gathering was tonight. Five educators, sharing a meal, and talking about a book. No cell phones (until we looked up our next read). True face-to-face time.
No one will ask any of us to write an essay, craft a project, complete a timed writing, present to the class.
I’m glad about that.
I need to re-think how I hold my students accountable about their reading. Or not.
It’s not like Heather and Alli are getting a grade, and they didn’t read.
©Amy Rasmussen, 2011 – 2015