Book Club Kit for Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel includes book club discussion guide and party menu.
When I chose this book for our August 2019 book club pick, I had no idea that just a few months later we’d be facing a real-life global pandemic and just how close to home much of the plot of this story would actually be.
While our conversation about the book that August centered on the what-if, this would be a fascinating story to discuss with your book club with some actual experience under your belt.
Peanut Blossom Book Club
This book was our official August 2019 pick for the Peanut Blossom Book Club.
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What is Station Eleven About?
Here’s what Amazon had to say about the book:
“Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end.
Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band’s existence.
And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed.”
Station Eleven Book Club Questions
I believe the best book club questions to spark a lively discussion in your group help readers make personal connections to the story.
You can read about how to write the best book club questions on your own here, but hopefully these will get you started!
How did you feel reading this book having been through our own pandemic? Did it bring up memories (good or bad) for you?
Why do you think apocalyptic stories are so popular? Have you read one before this? Would you read another?
What would you put in the Museum of Civilization?
“Survival is insufficent.” What does this motto from the Traveling Symphony mean to you?
Some of the post-pandemic societies teach children about the “before” and some act like life was never any different. Which of these societies would you prefer to be a part of? Why?
Which of the character sub plots did you find the most interesting? Did you relate to one character more than the others?
If our world had changed quite as dramatically as portrayed in this novel and your life was that remarkably different, what are the things you’d miss from your life today?
Host a Watch Party
Even more ironically, Station Eleven was being filmed for a television mini-series while the actual pandemic was happening.
This would be a great ‘movie night’ book club meeting to have after you’ve read the book!
Book Club Party Menu
For the book club party menu, you could go one of two directions:
- Serve Apocalyptic Future Foods: Whole foods based on what the characters in the story could easily garden or hunt or canned pantry-stable things like spam and beans.
- Foods Your Family Enjoyed During Quarantine: Did you get into the bread baking craze? Sourdough and focaccia gardens anyone??
Our family spent quarantine testing dozens and dozens of homemade breads for my cookbook The Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook.
You May Also Enjoy
If you enjoyed this book, you’d likely enjoy these other fun book club picks from through the years: