Thanks for all the books: kismet book pairings

Sometimes, by chance, pure, wonderful chance, you end up reading two books at the same time that are so beautifully matched that it almost feels like fate. This week, such a pairing is what I’m thankful for.

Currently, I am reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel and The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain de Botton, both of which present worlds so blessedly opposed that reading them together has totally enhanced my enjoyment of both.

On one hand, in Station Eleven, I am reading about a society that has broken down completely. A flu pandemic has essentially brought about the end of the world as we know it; there is no electricity, no modern conveniences, life has returned to the dark ages. “There seemed to be a limitless number of objects in the world that had no practical use…iPads…three car engines…a motorcycle…passports…credit cards.”

On the other hand, de Botton presents, in vast detail, a world completely reliant on all of the machinery and intricacies of life that have disappeared from Mandel’s world. “They take pleasure in sensing their smallness and ignorance next to the expansive intelligence of the modern collective mind.”

In a lot of ways, the themes of the books are quite similar – both are shedding light on the things we have begun to take for granted, both want us to appreciate all of those processes and jobs that we don’t even think about – and won’t really think about until they are no longer possible.

I have a feeling that both books will stay with me for a long time.

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