Saturday, October 1, 2016

Getting That Post-Apocalyptic Feeling

Hey, Friends.

As the month of September just came to an end, it's time for another post about my super-awesome book group.  Do these things bore you?  If so, you've got to let me know.  It is, however, what we are talking about here today, so feel free to bail out now if this isn't your thing.

This month we discussed Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.  If you haven't read the book (and are too lazy to click on that link I gave you to Amazon to read the blurb there), let me share the description from the publisher's website:

"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."

Everyone in the group loved this book.  It may sound rather dire when you read the description, but we were all left feeling somewhat optimistic and hopeful for the characters and the world at the end of the book.

You know what's coming next, Friends.  I get to have my fun trying to capture the feeling of the book for the decor and refreshments.  I love this part!  I like trying to surprise the group members by coming up with something they weren't expecting.  I'm not going to share the links to my past creations again -- you want to see those you can click on the "book group" tag at the bottom and it should take you to the other posts.  Well, I think it will.  It should, if I didn't screw it up.

Trying to shop for post-apocalyptic decor can be interesting all on it's own.  I'm pretty sure I had it much easier since all of the Halloween decorations are out in the stores.  I have also learned that the combination of things that I am buying at one time can make people curious.

So that happened. Totally worth it though, as I think the final product came out pretty sweet.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.  I took them just for you, Friends.

First, let's take a look at the whole table.

Ignore the pretty colors on the floor.  We were having the apocalypse in the children's programming room....which might make it more unsettling.

Now let me try to explain what you are seeing on the table...

Why yes, I did mix skeleton parts and children's gift bag toys.

A lot of people died during the pandemic.  The Georgia Flu wiped out 99% or the population.  Most of the book's action takes place 20 years later.  There is no power, no gasoline, no medications for even the simplest injuries.  You still find bodies everywhere -- in bathrooms, in abandoned houses, in cars stuck on the highway where people where trying to escape.  The skeleton arm represents that aspect.  The toy instruments are the best I could do for the Traveling Symphony.  I thought they were cute!  People have once again begun to grow their own food to survive, hence the veggies.

Chocolate chip cookies and random beverages

You might be wondering how chocolate chip cookies would have survived the apocalypse.  They didn't.  They survived as memories of the people who lived through the pandemic and were old enough to remember them.  There was a bit in the book where one of the characters said they still dream of chocolate chip cookies sometimes, so I decided to include them.  Who doesn't like chocolate chip cookies?  The individual beverages were my attempt at making it look like a random assortment that might have been found in an abandoned convenience store.  

Related reading, for those interested

You might be wondering why there is a quote from Star Trek on the poster board.  It is from Star Trek, but it is also the motto of the Traveling Symphony.  I also like to include related books for people to check out if they are interested.  It's kind of expected since this is a library.

Ignore the parking lot in the background -- it's a graveyard

I wanted to include the graveyard from the settlement of St. Deborah By the Water. Originally I had planned to stage it outside the entrance to the room, but that had to change when we ended up in the children's area.  I didn't want to freak out any of the little kids who might be in the area to play and check out books.  Windowsill was the best I could do.

And now for the finishing touch!  I'm a little bit proud of this part, Friends.  I wasn't sure if it was actually going to work, or if the group would go along with my zany idea.  

Book group by candlelight

Since there was no electricity in the book, I decided we weren't going to use any at book group either. That should definitely help set the mood!  I can't exactly use real candles -- fire department would frown upon that and it would set off the sprinkler system -- so I used a ton of LED candles and a couple of lanterns.  Best part?  Everyone was cool with it and we totally had the discussion by candlelight.  My book group is awesome!

Another successful book group.  I highly recommend the book, if you like that kind of thing.  If you are doing a book discussion of your own, feel free to steal my ideas!  I'm sure I'm not the first person to have come up with them.  Sometimes it makes it easier to take the idea and run with it once you have seen that it can work, or has potential.

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