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Santa Monica Library Picks "Station Eleven" as Choice for READS Series

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By Lookout Staff

February 24, 2015 -- The post-apocalyptic mystery novel "Station Eleven" is the Santa Monica Public Library's choice for its 14th annual Santa Monica READS program, library officials announced last week.

The program, which runs from March 12 through April 16, invites Santa Monicans to "read and discuss the same novel in free book discussions and events held throughout the city," officials said.

Emily St. John Mandel's fourth novel -- which was a finalist for a National Book Award -- tells the story of a traveling Shakespearean theatre company that roams a devastaed world wiped out by a deadly plague.

"Straying far from the well-hewn path of following characters as they struggle to survive in the aftermath of a catastrophic event, 'Station Eleven' looks instead into the hearts and souls of its characters and determines that 'when there is nothing else, art remains," library officials said.

The novel, which begins as a virulent flu takes hold and is told using flashbacks to fill in the back story, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and winner of the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award.

"Mandel is an able and exuberant storyteller, and many readers will be won over by her nimble interweaving of her characters’ lives and fates," Sigrid Nunez wrote in a New York Times review last year.

The month-long series will explore aspects of "Station Eleven," as well as other post-apocalytic works, and will conclude with a discussion by the author.

Members of the Santa Monica based theater group Colonials: An American Shakespeare Company will kick off the program on Saturday, March 19, with a discussion of "the hidden Shakespeare connections readers may miss" in "Station Eleven,'" library officials said.

The discussion will be followed by a performance of several Shakespearean scenes. The presentation takes place at the Main Library's MLK, Jr. Auditorium, 601 Santa Monica Boulevard, at 2 p.m.

On Wednesday, March 23, at 6 p.m. in the Auditorium, a presentation on post-apocalyptic storylines in graphic novels will be followed by a screening of the post-apocalyptic film "Snowpiercer" based on a French graphic novel.

The series continues Tuesday, March 29, at 7:00 p.m., when local author Edan Lepucki discusses her post-apocalyptic novel "California," about a couple living in the wilderness after the crumbling of LA. The discussion with Santa Monica-based author Charles Yu takes place at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium.

In "The Beginnings of the End: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction Before 'Station Eleven,'" Cal State LA literature professors Robert Latham and Jeffrey Hicks discuss the pioneers of post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction. The discussion takes place Saturday, April 2, at 3 p.m. in the Main Library's Multipurpose Room.

The series concludes on Saturday, April 16, at 2 p.m., in the Auditorium with a presentation by Mandel, who will discuss the novel at the center of the series. The presentation will be followed by a book sale and signing.

Santa Monica Reads is sponsored by the Santa Monica Public Library, with support by the Friends of the Santa Monica Public Library and other community, educational and business partners.

For more information, call the Santa Monica Public Library at (310) 458-8600 or visit

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