Station Eleven


Emily St. John Mandel‘s novel is about a travelling Shakespearean theatre company in a post-apocalyptic North America, with much of the story taking place in Canada. It is also about friendship, memory, love, celebrity, our obsession with objects, oppressive dinner parties, comic books and knife throwing. We get to know the characters in depth: famous actor Arthur Leander; Jeevan — warned about the flu just in time; Arthur’s first wife Miranda; Arthur’s oldest friend Clark; Kirsten, a young actress with the Travelling Symphony; and the mysterious and self-proclaimed ‘prophet. Well worth the time.

How to Set a Fire and Why


Jesse Ball is an American poet and writer. There is much buzz about this new book, some comparing the protagonist, Lucia, to a female Holden Caulfield. She is an outsider who is comfortable in her own skin and not afraid to take risks. The book is written as a manuscript to the reader where we are in Lucia’s mind each moment. She attends high school and becomes intrigued by the Arson Club and gets involved with both the characters behind the club and the idea of total destruction. There is much philosophizing about life and is a very good read indeed.

The Expanse Series

51q-9fs-kslThe Expanse is a series of six science fiction novels: Leviathan Wakes, Caliban’s War, Abaddon’s Gate, Cibola Burn, Nemesis Games and Babylon’s Ashes (to be released Dec 2016). The authors are Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, their pen name is James S. A. Corey.  Lizard Brain is their blog and there you can find out about their books, interviews, Facebook, Twitter and the film series that they are working on based on the Expanse books.

I would include this particular series because it has all the elements of great fiction: deep characters, complicated and plausible action based stories, and by that I mean the details in the series are based on solid scientific principles, space theory and probable future outcomes. We not only care deeply about what happens to the characters, we are intrigued by space exploration, life on other planets and the rogue nature of unfettered technology. Once you start this series you will be compelled to complete it.

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

51rhyptxuglPaolo Bacigalupi creates a thriller that is based on the premise of severe water shortages across the southern United States. The southern states are fighting over the dwindling shares of the Colorado River and this story revolves around the players and those caught in the cross fire. It is a book that could very possible become true in the not too distant future. A must read for the environmentally aware.

Paolo Bacigalupi’s website.


By Gaslight by Steven Price

51omsiecjml-_sy346_I happened to meet Steven Price at a book reading that he gave at Westdale Secondary School in the fall of 2016. He was a very thoughtful and precise thinker and seemed introspective, but he is a poet after all. The prose in his latest book, By Gaslight, has the imagery and emotion of poetry, but it has also captured the intrigue of an old world detective chasing his prey. I would recommend it to anyone who loves a good detective mystery, but who also loves to have a world created for them in full colour (albeit this novel does have pervasive foggy weather). A review by the Quill & Quire is HERE.