In fact, I spent about a week or so thinking about the three different books that I mentioned at the end of our last meeting, but I couldn’t quite make up my mind. Then, I remembered an earlier observation I had had about men being the writers of all of our fictional selections, while women were predominantly the authors of the non-fiction ones. Though that changed on the non-fiction side when we read Cary Elwes’s As You Wish, it hadn’t for the fiction reads. So I went back to the drawing board and after another week of personal back-and-forth, I decided on Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
My guess is that this selection isn’t too much of a surprise – after all, with the recent premiere of the television adaptation on Hulu, it’s been nearly impossible to avoid think pieces on Atwood’s classic dystopia, Elisabeth Moss’s superb acting skills, and the resonance of the book’s themes today given our current political climate.
I will admit, all of this buzz caught my eye and I have been reading a fair amount of those news articles; I also distinctly remember picking up The Handmaid’s Tale on several occasions when I was working at Barnes & Noble. For whatever reason, I ended up grabbing Atwood’s Booker Prize-winning The Blind Assassin first, and struggled mightily through the first five chapters before completely giving up. As such, I was a bit hesitant to try another one of her books, regardless of how interesting the plot line seemed.
With one friend after another asking other friends to borrow their copies of the book, I just couldn’t resist the siren song anymore and ran out to the bookstore the other night to grab my copy. I started reading it yesterday and though I am only a few chapters into it, I’ve had trouble putting it down! Maybe there’s just something about this story that resonates with me more than the other, or maybe my reading tastes have matured. Either way, I’m really looking forward to finally diving into this story!
Now, as for the specifics about the book and our next meeting, there is a new edition with a dramatic tie-in cover and a new introduction from Atwood. However, if you only have access to an older version – or just prefer the classic cover – you can also read the introduction here. The meeting itself will be a little unconventional since it will go up on Thursday, June 1. Yes, I know this is the “May” selection, but that seemed like the best date given that I wanted you all to have time to dive into the world of Gilead. Until then, happy reading and “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”
Update: In between writing this post and discovering that it hadn’t published on Thursday as I intended, I’ve had a chance to watch the first three episodes of the Hulu version and all I will say is, it is definitely worth the hype!!