Reading Margaret Atwood – April 2019

One of my reading goals for 2019 is to become more familiar with works by different authors by featuring a different author every month (see A Focus on Authors Reading Challenge). April was spent reading as many works by Margaret Atwood. Previously I had only read The Handmaid’s Tale, which I loved.

I got to start my Margaret Atwood month off by seeing her live at Jones Hall in Houston. She talked about her life and career, which was just fascinating. She read aloud a collection of alien poetry, which was amazing. Unfortunately, she could not give away any spoilers for her upcoming sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. Needless to say, seeing her live just made me want to read her books even more.


The following are the books I managed to complete:

Stone Mattress
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Short Stories
Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Publication Date: August 28, 2014
Pages: 273 pages
Format Read: audiobook
Standalone or series: standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading: April 6, 2019

Goodreads Description: A collection of highly imaginative short pieces that speak to our times with deadly accuracy.
A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband. An elderly lady with Charles Bonnet syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. A woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire, and a crime committed long ago is revenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion-year-old stromatolite.

In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood ventures into the shadowland earlier explored by fabulists and concoctors of dark yarns such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Daphne du Maurier and Arthur Conan Doyle – and also by herself, in her award-winning novel Alias Grace. In Stone Mattress, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ 

The Blind Assassin
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Virago Press Ltd.
Publication Date: September 2, 2000
Pages: 637 pages
Format Read: audiobook
Standalone or series: standalone
Where I got the book: Library Libby app
Date finished reading: April 14, 2019

Goodreads Description: Margaret Atwood takes the art of storytelling to new heights in a dazzling novel that unfolds layer by astonishing layer and concludes in a brilliant and wonderfully satisfying twist. Told in a style that magnificently captures the colloquialisms and clichés of the 1930s and 1940s, The Blind Assassin is a richly layered and uniquely rewarding experience.

It opens with these simple, resonant words: “Ten days after the war ended, my sister drove a car off the bridge.” They are spoken by Iris, whose terse account of her sister Laura’s death in 1945 is followed by an inquest report proclaiming the death accidental. But just as the reader expects to settle into Laura’s story, Atwood introduces a novel-within-a-novel. Entitled The Blind Assassin, it is a science fiction story told by two unnamed lovers who meet in dingy backstreet rooms. When we return to Iris, it is through a 1947 newspaper article announcing the discovery of a sailboat carrying the dead body of her husband, a distinguished industrialist.

For the past twenty-five years, Margaret Atwood has written works of striking originality and imagination. In The Blind Assassin, she stretches the limits of her accomplishments as never before, creating a novel that is entertaining and profoundly serious. The Blind Assassin proves once again that Atwood is one of the most talented, daring, and exciting writers of our time. Like The Handmaid’s Tale, it is destined to become a classic.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ 

1297481929797_ORIGINALTitle: Oryx and Crake
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Publication Date: April 22, 2003
Pages: 378 pages
Format Read: audiobook & book
Standalone or series: MaddAddam series Book #1
Where I got the book: Library Libby app & library sale
Date finished reading: April 23, 2019

Goodreads Description: Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ¾

My Review: I only managed to make it through three Margaret Atwood books this month. Atwood’s books are ones that you tend to take your time with and read thoroughly. You don’t want to miss any detail or description.

Margaret Atwood creates characters that really explore the dark side of human nature, that there is a fine line between love and hate and good and evil. Everytime I finished one of her books, I found myself unable to truly express my thoughts about it. The characters, the scenery, the plot, and the message are always so complex in her writings. You always think you know what will happen and then feel disbelief that that is really what is happening but ascends anything that you could have imagined. I am in awe that Margaret Atwood can do this.

You can tell based on my ratings, that I prefer a more literary genre, since The Blind Assassin was most like that and also my favorite Atwood read of the month. While most of Atwood’s books of a mixed-genre (sci-fi, dystopia and humor) are not necessarily for me, I will always adore Margaret Atwood’s writing style and descriptions. She is a definite one-of-a-kind writer.

My Overall Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ½


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