We’re very excited about this month’s read! In March, post awards season, we like to pick a book that’s been (or will be) made into a movie. Did you notice that of the nine 2017 Best Picture nominees, five were based on books: Arrival, Fences, Hidden Figures, Lion, and Moonlight? Well this year we’re getting ahead of the game and reading a book that’s being made into a movie as we speak and set to be released in September of this year.
The book is the first in Jeff VanderMeer‘s Southern Reach trilogy. In fact, Katherine C. read it earlier this year and said it’s a can’t-put-it-down, unlike anything she’s read, must-read! And, well, that’s a pretty big sell so we couldn’t resist. This month we’re reading Annihilation.
Annihilation was released in 2014 and describes a team of four women (bonus points for Women’s History Month) who set out into an area known as Area X. All you have to do is read the dust jacket and you’ll be instantly hooked …
“Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation […] we join the twelfth expedition. The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one another, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.”
This novel won the Nebula Award for Best Novel and the Shirley Jackson Award for best novel. Salon.com named it book of the week while The Washington Post said it was “successfully creepy, an old-style gothic horror novel set in a not-too-distant future. The best bits turn your mind inside out.” And Jason Sheehan of NPR captures this book’s novelty perfectly when he says, “I hated it from the start. Didn’t come up for air again for three hours, and finished the entire thing in less than a day, knowing it finally for the strange, clever, off-putting, maddening, claustrophobic, occasionally beautiful, occasionally disturbing and altogether fantastic book that it is. Annihilation is a book meant for gulping — for going in head-first and not coming up for air until you hit the back cover.”
Basically, it’s unlike anything you’ll read this year. Or ever?
But wait, it gets better.
Soon after the book’s release Paramount Pictures acquired rights to the novel with writer-director Alex Garland (of Ex Machina and 28 Days Later fame) set to adapt the script and direct the film. Natalie Portman stars as the biologist, Jane the Virgin star Gina Rodriguez co-stars, and Jennifer Jason Lee stars as the psychologist. Garland revealed that his adaptation is based on only the first novel of the trilogy, saying;
“At the point I started working on Annihilation, there was only one of the three books. I knew that it was planned as a trilogy by the author, but there was only the manuscript for the first book.” Given the film’s heavy-loaded talent on both sides of the camera we expect to see it get a lot of notice come awards season 2018.
Intrigued? We hope you’ll join us in taking the advice of many and reading this book. Oh, also, you may be wondering; if Katherine C’s already read this book what can we expect from her review? She’ll be reading the second in the trilogy this month, Authority. So if any of you are interested in continuing with the series after Annihilation, you’ll know what to expect.
Keep us posted on your thoughts and progress using #booklymark! As always, happy reading.