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What We're Reading Now: Annihilation; Jeff Vandermeer

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Are you in a book club? Do you take turns [painstakingly] picking out each read? Hoping everyone likes it and your one friend doesn’t complain about how “the chapters are, like, sooo long” again? And, as the end of each month nears, do you realize that a) the plan for you and your two roommates to share one copy of a 300-page book was dense and b) you need to shuffle your calendar to find a Friday night you and the girls can try out that new spot in Chelsea at 10pm to…discuss a book?

Does that ever work? The last time my ‘Book Club’ got together we pretty much…well, suffice to say, everything after the second course is a little fuzzy.

No, that’s not the way to share books.

A better way is this: Matt, EW’s Editor / the dude with whom I share an office wall (I’ll let you decide which is his bigger claim to fame) walks past my desk several mornings raving about Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation, which EW reviewed here –> I bemoan having nothing to read whilst giving the book in his hand a pointed stare –> he promises to pass it along once finished –> I receive it, knowing he loved it, and begin reading.

There’s a chance I’ve buried the lead, but basically –> I also love it.

 Annihilation takes you inside the weirdness (read: mind-blowing, post-apocalyptic, potentially LSD-fueled Eden) of Area X. The prose is phenomenal,  the characters, despite existing in a very different world and time, have much to teach us about our own and the plot is…well, I’m actually  still not sure what the plot allegory is (Jesus? The 2nd Coming? Conservationism?) but I know it toyed with my imagination in ways that haven’t happened since A Wrinkle in Time.

And the best part? This is just the first book of the Southern Reach Trilogy — we won’t be bidding Area X or its mind-bending oddities ‘goodbye’ anytime soon. Book Two, Authority lands on bookshelves May 6.

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So that’s the kind of book-sharing that goes on at EW. I’ll be back here every week reporting on what books the EW staff is reading, and loving (or…hating). In the meantime: What are you reading?

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