Maybe you all saw the Emmy’s this weekend and noticed that the television adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale cleaned up. Or maybe you didn’t see the awards show but have watched The Handmaid’s Tale and really liked it. Maybe neither of those statements are true but you’ve heard of Margaret Atwood and wanted to read something by her. Or maybe you’re just between books right now and in the mood for something that will twist up your brain. Margaret Atwood is one of those unique and awesome writers where you can’t really pin down what type of fiction she writes and so she appeals to a wide variety of readers. Her books are a little bit mystery, a little bit contemporary fiction, a little sci-fi, and a little bit women’s lit. If any of that appeals to you, here are a few good selections on where to start.
- The Handmaid’s Tale – This pick is a little obvious, but it’s an amazing and unfortunately timely book that has been adapted into an incredibly popular television show. Published in 1985, the narrative follows Offred, a Handmaid in the near future Republic of Gilead. The story alternates between Offred’s current role in a wold where women are only valued for their ability to produce children, and her past where she had her own life and her own name.
- Oryx and Crake – This book will suit the sci-fi fan and is my own personal favorite novel by Atwood. It starts with a disjointed account of life by the weirdly named narrator, the Snowman. Gradually, the book takes into Snowman’s past and our future, telling of a world where genetic engineering is a part of every day life and cities and colleges are owned and funded by corporations. Snowman’s personal story involves his best friend Crake and a mysterious woman tied to both of them named Oryx.
- The Year of the Flood – Some people have a difficult time with Oryx and Crake because it gets off to a confusing start. The Year of the Flood tells a story set in the same universe and at the same time as Oryx and Crake but featuring different characters. It’s a more traditional beginning to the MaddAddam trilogy and you can read either book first. Atwood is a fan of time jumping narratives and The Year of the Flood goes between the childhood lives of Ren and Toby as disciples of Adam One and his eco-religious group God’s Gardeners, and their current predicaments hiding in their respective strongholds from what remains of humanity after a mass-extinction event.
- Hag-Seed – Hag-Seed is Margaret Atwood’s take on The Tempest in a contemporary setting with a psychological twist. After Felix is fired from his artistic director position at the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival, he exiles himself to rural Ontario with his imaginary daughter, Miranda. He takes a job teaching Literacy Through Theatre to the prisoners at the nearby Burgess Correctional Institution, where his class stages their own bizarre production of The Tempest.
- Stone Mattress: Nine Tales – Short story collections are always a great way to introduce yourself to a new author. Each story in this collection is classic Atwood – a total genre mash-up. And with short stories, you can figure out a lot faster whether this author is right for you.
Welcome to #FDL! #FDL is a twice weekly update on all things Fondulac District Library and East Peoria. Twice a week, library staff will make posts that highlight some aspect of library life and relate it to you – our readers. Have you ever wanted to know which Dewey number represented a certain topic? Are you looking for book recommendations based on your favorite television show or television recommendations based on your favorite book? Have you ever wondered about the secret details of librarian life? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then #FDL is for you. We look forward to writing posts that are informative and entertaining and hope that you enjoy getting better acquainted with Fondulac District Library.