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Station Eleven

Set in the near future, after an airborne disease has wiped out much of the population of the planet, Station Eleven (2014) follows a troupe of traveling musicians and actors as they migrate from town to town to put on shows. The plot bounces back and forth in time describing the first days of the pandemic then returning to the future, showing the evolution of the characters. Emily St. John Mandel skillfully brings these seemingly disparate storylines together as the main characters converge in the end.

Check out our list Welcome to Dystopia for similar titles. Visit Overdrive to read Station Eleven as an ebook or audiobook.



The Age of Miracles

The Age of Miracles (2012) is beautifully told from the point of view of eleven-year-old Julia. As the Earth's rotation slows, it has unintended and dire consequences for all life on the planet. Meanwhile, Julia is already grappling with all the complexities of being a pre-teen girl, including a crush on a boy, falling out with close friends, and strained relations with her father.

Karen Thompson Walker does an excellent job of putting you in the frame of mind of this young girl, which makes the calamity seem that much more real and heartfelt. Read the ebook or listen to the audiobook on Overdrive. 



The Road

Set in a post-apocalyptic future, The Road (2006) follows a father and his young son heading south on a mostly deserted road, pushing a shopping cart with all their belongings. Any human they encounter is a threat to either steal their food or worse, to eat them as food. Every second is a fight for survival, and barely a page goes by where there is not a description of hunger. The father's sole purpose is to keep his son alive.

I would recommend this Cormac McCarthy title to readers of dystopian fiction.

Check out our list Welcome to Dystopia for more ideas.

The Road is available as an ebook on Overdrive and audiobook on Hoopla.


The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace

The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace (2010)
Based on the true story of a 19th century inventor and his innovation, The Blind Contessa's New Machine is a story of love and the triumph of the imagination.

In Italy in the early 1800s, the Contessa Fantoni is engaged to marry the town’s most eligible bachelor when she suspects that she is losing her eyesight. Only one person really believes and understands her; her childhood friend, Turri. With his eccentric interest in invention and in an act of love, he provides Carolina with a writing machine so that she can write and communicate with the world.

Wallace’s novel imagines the love affair that inspired a remarkable invention. Her passages which describe Carolina's dreams and memories are wonderfully written and show that although physically limited by her blindness, Carolina's world is unlimited and full of adventure. The novella was inspired by the true story of Pellegrino Turri and the Contessa Fantoni!

Check out the book group guide and read an interview with the author.