One hot summer night in the city, all the power goes out. The TV shuts off and a boy wails, “Mommm!” His sister can no longer use the phone, Mom can’t work on her computer, and Dad can’t finish cooking dinner. What’s a family to do? When they go up to the roof to escape the heat, they find the lights--in stars that can be seen for a change--and so many neighbors it’s like a block party in the sky! On the street below, people are having just as much fun-- talking, rollerblading, and eating ice cream before it melts. The boy and his family enjoy being not so busy for once. They even have time to play a board game together. When electricity is restored, everything can go back to normal… but not everyone likes normal. The boy switches off the lights, and out comes the board game again.



About Station Eleven

If the world as we know it were to end, what would you miss most?

Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel's fourth novel, won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, was a finalist for the National Book Award and PEN/Faulkner Award, was an Amazon Best Book of the Month, and was named one of the best books of the year by more than a dozen publications. It's been translated into 27 languages. 

Published by Knopf in 2014, it tells the story of a small band of actors and musicians 20 years after a flu pandemic has wiped out 99% of the Earth's population. Like other books in the genre, it highlights the fragility of our existence, our violent nature, and our capacity to survive despite the inevitable hardships of starvation, loneliness, and chaos. But this is where the similarities taper off, for the story Emily St. John Mandel chooses to tell is not one of horror and mayhem that even she admits would befall the survivors in the immediate aftermath of a complete societal collapse. Station Eleven describes a world of hope, of people coping with nostalgia and loss, both in the present and the future, of the power of art and relationships to fulfill us, sustain us, and nurture us back to our best selves.


Read a full description of Station Eleven, learn more about author Emily St. John Mandel, and download a Reader Guide here


For Younger Audiences

For Early Readers
For Tweens & Teens

A modern-day classic. This highly acclaimed adventure series about two friends desperate to save their doomed city. The city of Ember was built as a last refuge for the human race. Two hundred years later, the great lamps that light the city are beginning to flicker. When Lina finds part of an ancient message, she’s sure it holds a secret that will save the city. She and her friend Doon must race to figure out the clues before the lights go out on Ember forever!

The Big Read is for all ages! We've selected these award-winning companion titles perfect for young children, tweens and teens! Family Book Club will read The City of Ember in September, and the Teen Book Club will read The City of Ember Graphic Novel in October!

This year, our Big Read title selection is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. We have also selected two companion titles for younger audiences: The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau and Blackout by John Rocco. These titles will be available for checkout at the Main Library and North Branch, with free copies distributed at our Kickoff Event on Sept. 9 and at other events while supplies last. Check Tennessee R.E.A.D.S. on the Library's website for e-book and audio-book formats as well. We are also providing copies to the Jackson-Madison County School System.

Photo by Dese'Rae L Stage