I have a steaming cup of chai, a date bar and a yummy walnut butter tart that a friend brought yesterday from a bakery in Erin, which should put me in a good mood this morning, but I’m a bit frustrated. I didn’t manage to finish The Handmaid’s Tale in time for the book club meeting, but I’ve read it often enough to be able to discuss it. I finished it on Wednesday evening, then took up where I left off with the excellent police procedural, Missing, Presumed that I had started the week before but had to put down to read my book club book. Well, I got about another third of the way through it and now I think I’m going to have to put it down again to read the book club choice for next Saturday, The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney. Grrrr… I just want to finish it and be able to enjoy it for more than a couple of days at a time! And I have another book from the library that I want to read before it becomes due as well, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to do that. I guess this is the season for busy-ness and so I’ll have to try harder to make time to read.
We discussed Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale last Monday night, and I think it was the best book club meeting our group has ever had. We spent most of our time discussing the book, everyone finished it (or very nearly!), topics in the book led to discussions of our world right now, and we all took part in the discussion, speaking passionately and with conviction, indicating that we’d all thought deeply about the subjects presented in the novel. I’m sure most of you know what this novel is about, even if you haven’t read it but have only watched the fine, visually arresting series adaptation, so I won't offer a summary here. These are just a few of our discussion highlights. We thought that Atwood, back in the 1980’s, was able to foresee the future very perceptively, particularly regarding the religiosity/religious fervour and the declining birth and fertility rates. We all thought this novel was brilliant and timeless, and that Atwood is a master of words. I was at the big new Indigo the day before our meeting and there on the wall of the store was a huge picture of Margaret Atwood, and beside it was the quotation, “A word after a word after a word is power.” I wish I’d been able to take a picture of that to show the book club members, as it was perfect for our discussion, the power of words to change things. One member found this book alarming, and said that it was too much like what was happening today. Another member thought we have to enjoy each day until bad things happen. Someone else mentioned that this book shows that there will always be revolution. We concluded that we all need to be aware of what’s going on and to fight to keep our rights. We discussed the ending, and one member wondered if the book would have been better if it had ended before the “Historical Notes”; I thought that these put the novel into perspective for first-time readers, as it can be somewhat confusing at the beginning to orient yourself, since Atwood provides no information on time or place for the story. We discussed so much more than this, but these are the things I took time to write down. Anyway, it was an awesome choice, and I determined once again that this is truly one of my favourite novels. I would love to read it alongside someone else and discuss it chapter by chapter.
That’s all for today. Get outside while it’s still clear!Bye for now…