Okay, so the first week of the challenged book reading challenge went well and I read one book, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Since then my reading has come to a halt and I’ve only managed a hundred pages or so in Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners.
I was a little surprised by The Handmaid’s Tale. I didn’t think I’d like it because lately many of my friends and acquaintances have told me how they don’t enjoy Atwood’s writing, yet I remember my brother enjoyed this book when he was in high school (and another friend mentioned his brother did too!). I have only ever read some of her poetry before and had never read any of her novels. I know she gets quite irritated if anyone calls her work “science-fiction” and prefers the term “speculative fiction” but um, yeah that’s what sci-fi is pretty much (I guess she thinks of robots and space ships like most people do when they hear that term). I always thought The Handmaid’s Tale was sci-fi-esque (because of my brother) but it’s not, it really is dystopic though.
The Handmaid’s Tale made me think and as I’ve written before, that’s what I like about books. A lot of books don’t make me think; I turn the page and I’m done with them, so books that make me think about real issues, like women, religion, society in general is usually alright by me. I didn’t feel that it brought up any new ideas for me to focus on, but it did stir up some old ones.
As you may notice, my reviews really aren’t much of a review. So, here’s a link to the New York Times review from 1986.