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  • Tara Sonin 4:00 pm on 2019/11/13 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , find me, , josh malerman, malorie, , , , , , , the testaments, to be continued   

    6 Sequels and Series Continuations We’ve Been Waiting For 

    The only thing better than loving a book is knowing the story isn’t over—that’s what sequels and companion novels are for! This year and next, we’re being gifted with a number of returning characters and continuing stories. Here’s a sampling of these second helpings, which range from the aftermath of a young, tragic love story to the fall of a dystopian regime.

    Find Me (Sequel to Call Me By Your Name), by André Aciman
    Some romances—and some novels—change us forever. Broken hearts around the world rejoiced at the news that Call Me By Your Name was getting a sequel (perhaps in part due to the success of the movie?) that would reveal what happened to Elio and Oliver in the years after their love affair. In sensual, heartrending prose, Aciman reveals that Elio has become a classical pianist who lives in Paris, and Oliver a college professor tempted to seek Elio out after all this time apart. Readers will be left breathless by the story’s end.

    Olive, Again (Sequel to Olive Kitteridge), by Elizabeth Strout
    The follow-up to the Pulitzer prize-winning novel Olive Kitteridge once again returns to the town of Crosby, Maine, and follows Olive (and her family, neighbors, and friends) as they navigate the ups and downs of everyday life. Readers fell for Olive’s cantankerous, imperfect personality as she strived to understand her distant but loving husband, connect with her son, and eventually, move on from a major loss. This time around, Olive has found happiness in the aftermath of that grief, but life always finds a way of messing with a sure thing. With unforgettable characters who return for an encore as well as new faces who help Olive find her way, this sequel may restore your faith in humanity.

    Royal Holiday (Wedding Date #4), by Jasmine Guillory
    Romcom lovers, rejoice in another Jasmine Guillory story just in time for the holidays. This one stars Maddie’s mom (from The Wedding Party) Vivian as she embarks on a no-strings-attached fling while accompanying Maddie on a work trip to England. The catch? The work trip is with royalty, and the fling is the Queen’s trusted aide. What begins as a low-stakes romance evolves into a serious choice Vivian must make about whether she’s ready to make a holiday treat into a real-life love affair.

    The Testaments (Sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale), by Margaret Atwood
    On the heels of the incredible third season of the hit Hulu show, Atwood released a sequel to her original dystopian tale meant to answer the most popular questions she received in the three decades since: What happened to Gilead? How did it rise, and who orchestrated its eventual fall? Following the perspectives of three women, two inside the regime, and one in Canada, The Testaments answers those questions with unfolding tension and characters in contradiction, ultimately giving readers a satisfying conclusion (or second chapter?) to a gripping saga.

    Starsight (Skyward #2), by Brandon Sanderson (11/26/19)
    In Skyward, a YA sci-fi fantasy novel by renowned adult novelist Brandon Sanderson, we met Spensa, one of the last survivors of an alien war, who wants to be a pilot. When she comes into contact with a ship that seems sentient, she decides to pursue this dream at all costs—and by the end, those costs have come crashing down on her, and she learns some terrible truths that will impact her fate. This novel builds on Spensa’s journey towards carving her own destiny in the stars despite a great betrayal unearthed from the past.

    Malorie (Sequel to Bird Box), by Josh Malerman (7/21/20)
    The much-anticipated sequel to the sci-fi thriller Bird Box arrives soon! Details on the plot of Malorie are being kept under blindfolds, so all we know is that she is the star. It picks up in the aftermath of the previous story (which was also adapted into a Netflix movie starring Sandra Bullock) where Malorie, Boy, and Girl have reached the colony of people secluded from the mysterious creature attacks that have taken down modern society. Will we learn the origins of the creatures? Will Malorie remain with Boy and Girl? We’ll find out next May!

    What new sequels are you excited for?

    The post 6 Sequels and Series Continuations We’ve Been Waiting For appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • BN Editors 2:30 pm on 2019/11/12 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , food of sichuan, fuchsia dunlop, greta thurnberg, , mythos, no one is too small to make a difference, , , superlatives, , , , the testaments   

    Announcing the Finalists for Barnes & Noble’s Book of the Year 

    What is the book that defined 2019? This year, for the first time, Barnes & Noble has turned to its thousands of booksellers to answer that question.

    We asked our booksellers to tell us what books moved them, inspired them, challenged them, and charmed them—to name the book that was, to them, the book of the year. We were delighted—in fact, blown away—by the wide range of nominations we received, and the passion with which they were delivered. Out of thousands of nominations, a selection committee assembled the following shortlist of eight finalists. From this list, our booksellers will vote to select our first-ever Barnes & Noble Book of the Year.

    Olive, Again, by Elizabeth Strout
    These thirteen interconnected tales continue the story of prickly yet empathetic heroine Olive Kitteridge, whom we first met in Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge. Now a septuagenarian being romanced by widowed Jack Kennison in Crosby, Maine, Olive will spend the next decade struggling with love, loss, unexpected friendships, and the pain of aging. Strout is a master at finding the universal within the very specific. You don’t need to read her earlier books to appreciate Olive’s universal story, but there are unexpected rewards here for her longtime fans as well. Listen to Elizabeth Strout discuss the novel on the B&N Podcast.

    What our booksellers are saying: “Elizabeth Strout, master storyteller, does not disappoint in this second installment in the continuing story of Olive Kitteridge. Olive returns alongside a cast of characters that are both diverse and fascinating to read about.” – Ellie Zur, Store #2358 (Mishawaka, IN)

    The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, by Charlie Mackesy
    When the illustrator Charles Mackesy first put together his  scenes of a boy talking with three animal friends, he didn’t predict the deep resonance they would have with people all over the world. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is an instant classic, a timeless fable matching Mackesy’s beautiful drawings with a voice that delivers wisdom and inspiration on every page.

    What our booksellers are saying:The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse is a beautiful story about friendship, never giving up, and being true and kind to yourself and others around you. You’ll fall in love with Charlie Mackesy’s gorgeous illustrations and incredible words. Words we all need to hear.” – Erin Lynn, Store #2968 (Souix Falls, SD)

    The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
    The Nickel Boys is Colson Whitehead’s followup to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Underground Railroad, and it is every bit as provoking and praise-worthy. Set in the Jim Crow South of the 1960s,  it follows two philosophically opposed black students at a notorious reform school known as the Nickel Academy. Though the school claims to turn delinquents into “honorable and honest men” via “physical, intellectual and moral training,” in truth it’s a hotbed of corruption and abuse. Elwood Curtis tries to emulate his hero, Dr. Martin Luther King, during his hellish interment there, but his friend Turner is more cynical about the world. The boys’ disparate survival techniques culminate in a plan that will impact the rest of their lives. Listen to Colson Whitehead discuss the novel on the B&N Podcast.

    What our booksellers are saying:The Nickel Boys is a gut punch of a book. Whitehead is a master of words, and this novel hits hard on tough themes. An important read in today’s America.” – Ryan Quinn, Store #2606 (Fargo, ND)

    The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides
    Alex Michaelides’ potent psychological thriller begins with a jolt: Alicia Berenson, a successful artist living in well-to-do London, welcomes her fashion photographer husband home from a late night on the job with five bullets to the face, and never speaks another word. She spends the next six years as a silent patient at the Grove, a secure forensic facility in North London. Theo Faber is a gifted psychotherapist obsessed with the case, and he convinces Alicia’s doctors to allow him to coax her to speak. Theo’s sessions are interspersed with excerpts of Alicia’s diary leading up to the day of Gabriel’s murder. As the clues about what truly happened begin to fall into place, Theo’s personal and professional worlds begin to blur, leading to a shocking ending.

    What our booksellers are saying: “This can’t-put-it-down thriller stuns you as it throws a dark twist in just when you’re sure you have everything figured out.” – Cathy Schultz, Store #2778 (Peoria, IL)

    The Food of Sichuan, by Fuchsia Dunlop
    Some cookbooks are landmarks not merely because of their recipes, but because of the window they open onto a culture via its cuisine. Award-winning author Fuchsia Dunlop first published Land of Plenty—a definitive, gorgeously illustrated guide to Sichuan cooking for the English-speaking world—almost two decades ago, and in this glorious new edition, she adds dozens of fresh recipes and more, making The Food of Sichuan a must-read in its own right.

    What our booksellers are saying: “This book is a culinary tour guide to one of the most flavorful parts of the world, including recipes for those who are new to the kitchen and others that require some more expert techniques. Beautifully photographed, with great writing that really gets to the heart of what makes this cuisine unique and special.” – Sarah Kane, Store #2236 (Evanston, IL)

    Mythos, by Stephen Fry
    Mythos is a collection of Greek myths retold by writer, comedian, and celebrated wit Stephen Fry. His lively, refreshing take on classic stories—from Prometheus to Pandora—will enchant mythology enthusiasts, as well as readers who are less familiar with these tales. Brimming with humor, as well as a deep affection and respect for the original stories, these adventures perfectly capture the colorful feats and foibles of the gods and mortals of ancient Greece. 

    What our booksellers are saying: “Stephen Fry’s Mythos is a fascinating and intelligent and an exciting read! Fans of Mr. Fry’s wit, wisdom, and humor will find in his newest book Greek and Roman myths reimagined and reexamined for our modern age.” – Lorien Campbell, Store #2974 (Athens, GA)

    The Testaments, by Margaret Atwood
    A lot has changed in the 35 years since Margaret Atwood’s dystopian classic The Handmaid’s Tale was published, but little that makes her dark vision of the future—one in which an environmental disaster and an idealogical uprising have seen America toppled and replaced by the theocratic state of Gilead, where increasingly rare fertile women are forced to bear children for the wealthy and powerful—seem any less prescient. In The Testaments, an unexpected but vital sequel, Atwood dives deeper into the politics of Gilead—its Aunts, its Marthas—and, in the lives of its younger characters, delivers hope that a better, if hard-won, future might be possible. Listen to Margaret Atwood discuss the novel on the B&N Podcast.

    What our booksellers are saying:The Handmaid’s Tale pulled us in, but The Testaments is the novel that doesn’t let us go. Told from the point of view of three women in a dystopian North America, Atwood’s ultimately hopeful novel is a feminist triumph.” – Ryan Quinn, Store #2606 (Fargo, ND)

    No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference, by Greta Thunberg
    In August 2018, the simple decision by a 15-year-old girl to walk out of school to protest the climate crisis sparked a worldwide movement. A year later, Greta Thunberg has given voice to an entire generation of young people facing life in an uncertain future on a planet that seems precariously close to a breaking point. Though Thunberg has rejected the notion that she be viewed as an icon, her message—delivered in speeches to the United Nations, on Capitol Hill, and amid massive street protests—carries undeniable weight. Collected in this volume, her words act as a call to arms—a potent argument that the time for action is yesterday, and that we all have a role to play in saving our tomorrows.

    What our booksellers are saying: “Although her speeches may feel repetitive, her message merits repeating: Greta, a young woman of 16 with Asperger’s syndrome, brings her black-and-white viewpoint to the problem of climate justice. The clarity with which she views the issues is formidable. She speaks from the gut and pulls no punches. From her specialized point of view, she argues that action for climate justice needs to be quick and all-encompassing. There are problems to solve. We know the solutions. The time for action is now.” – Gabriel Jacobson, Store #2701 (Brentwood, TN)

    Barnes & Noble’s Book of the Year will be announced in December.

    The post Announcing the Finalists for Barnes & Noble’s Book of the Year appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Tara Sonin 4:00 pm on 2019/10/18 Permalink
    Tags: amal el-mohtar, , , , , , joanne ramos, , , , , , , , , , the testaments, this is how you lose the time war, , vengeful,   

    9 Books to Read if You Loved The Testaments 

    In 1985, The Handmaid’s Tale  was published as a terrifyingly possible prophecy about the dangers of the small, seemingly insignificant choices that can lead even the most advanced, modern societies into a world that barely resembles the one they knew. Margaret Atwood is famous for saying that everything which occurs in the dystopian novel is pulled from real, recorded historical events—meaning that the fictional society known as Gilead could happen anywhere, even at home where we feel most safe.

    Legions of readers followed Offred’s story as a Handmaid in Gilead, one of many women forced to bear and relinquish children into the care of their captors. Offred’s first child, born in a free America, is stolen from her before the novel begins, and when the novel ends her fate is unknown, faded into darkness as the van she steps in may be taking her to freedom, or to her doom.

    In the thirty-five years since its publication, The Handmaid’s Tale has become an international bestseller and received the television treatment as a Hulu show starring Elizabeth Moss. But the fascination with the story has only led to more questions: what happened next? Did Offred survive? Did she have another child? How was Gilead created, and even more urgently: how did it fall?

    The Testaments (which was B&N’s September Book Club pick!) is Atwood’s answer to those questions: a new novel, taking place fifteen years after the conclusion of one that started it all. From the perspective of three different women (two within Gilead, one beyond its borders), the story follows both the early origins of Gilead and its essential founders as well as a dangerous plot to destroy the country from within.

    Without spoiling the revelations learned in the story, I can say The Testaments is a truly satisfying novel for both fans of the original book and the show (and fans of just the show can read it and will not be lost for a second) and answers most, if not all, of the questions offered above. The characters are complex and flawed, and their arcs—both redemptive and tragic—are wholly satisfying. For example, the architect of Gilead’s downfall will be a delightful surprise to fans of the show, and provides a future potentially award-winning turn for at least one actress who currently appears on it, should the show decide to pursue The Testaments as a continuation. But I will say this: If The Handmaid’s Tale was a prophet of doom for women’s rights, The Testaments is a beacon of hope. It is a manifesto on female courage and resilience, one that I think many readers will find welcome in 2019.

    When you finish it, check out our readalike picks below!

    Vox, by Christina Dalcher
    In The Testaments, the world is defined by keeping women subjugated, mainly in the name of reproduction. But in Vox, female subjugation has another, insidious element: women are no longer allowed to speak more than 100 words a day, or a device embedded into their skin will shock them. Jean McClellan, a former cognitive linguist (who lost her job as a result of these new laws) watches as her young daughter already knows to silence herself, expecting rewards for how little she speaks, and her teenage son sinks into dangerously abusive territory where he sympathizes with the government more than his own mother. But when an opportunity arises for Jean to regain her voice and fight the oppression from within, she knows this is her one and only shot to make a better life for her daughter and protect her only son from himself. She must engage in lies and deceit with the people she loves most in order to save them—that is, if she’s not caught first.

    Red Clocks, by Leni Zumas
    In an America eerily similar to that of Gilead’s beginnings, abortion is no longer legal. That of course doesn’t mean that people aren’t obtaining abortions, it means they are going outside the system, to women such as Gin, an herbalist who lives on the outskirts of a small Oregon town…who suddenly becomes a national spectacle when she is accused of and tried for providing such a service. Her story interweaves with that of three others: a single woman desperately trying to get pregnant before the law only allows married couples to have children; a mother of two in a dangerous marriage; and a teenage girl who finds herself pregnant with nowhere to turn. The characters are what make this novel memorable, as they all go to great lengths to get what they want in a world that forbids them to want anything.

    Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers
    How is a YA historical novel that takes place during Medieval France a readalike for The Testaments? Well, let me tell you: because in 14th Century Brittany, life for women was kind of like a dystopia. The main character of Robin LaFevers’ brilliant Grave Mercy is about to be married off to a terrible man and she has no say in the matter. In fact, women during this time often turned to convents and took sacred vows in order to gain more autonomy and freedom than they would have had as married mothers. That is what Ismae does—to escape bondage, she swears to serve the God of Death and in his service, kill other terrible men who deserve it. The elite sisterhood of assassins she joins makes her feel powerful for the first time in her life…until she falls in love with a man she doesn’t entirely trust. Romance, swordplay, and feminism all in one series—of which there are five books to binge!

    Vengeful (Vicious #2), by V.E. Schwab
    No one writes villains the way V.E. Schwab does. The first book in this duology, Vicious, focused on male villainy, when two friends at college discover the secret to developing ExtraOrdinary superpowers and as a result, become enemies each bent on destroying the other. The second book, though (which should technically be read after Vicious for continuity’s sake) is all about female anger, villainy…and justice? This is where it connects to the world of The Testaments for me; it’s a novel in which we see female characters do terrible things in order to attain justice. In Vengeful, women take center stage and are determined to use their ExtraOrdinary abilities not only for self-preservation, but for ultimate power, no matter the cost.

    This is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
    Readers of The Testaments who love watching the ultimate takedown of Gilead from within will love this unique sci-fi novella about two agents on opposite sides of a war throughout time. Red and Blue are supposed to be enemies, but when they start exchanging letters , that begins to change. With literally out-of-this-world prose that sets the pages on fire, the love story that unfolds against the backdrop of tyrannical rule is an unforgettable reminder that even in the darkest of times, love wins.

    Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
    Gilead’s beginnings are not just rooted in patriarchy, but in a global health crisis: plummeting fertility rates force people into extreme panic, during which a fringe group seizes control. Station Eleven also begins with a health crisis, but a different one: an flu pandemic that ravages most of modern society, forcing the world into a version of the Dark Ages where people search for pockets of the civilization they once knew. This literary page-turner follows a group of actors as they perform Shakespeare twenty years after the collapse of modernity. When a dangerous prophet threatens the peaceful existence they’ve managed to carve out for themselves, the survivors have a choice to make that could determine their survival.

    The Farm, by Joanne Ramos
    Possibly the most direct readalike on the list, this novel is about women who have children for other women in a place known as the Farm. The deal is this: a huge payday in exchange for nine months of your time growing a baby that, once birthed, will go to the person who paid for it. Jane agrees to be a ‘Host’, but soon realizes there’s another, hidden cost to this agreement: she can’t leave as long as she’s pregnant, or she forfeits the fee she so desperately needs to help her actual family, the one she loves beyond the walls of the Farm. An eerie, modern approach to similar questions addressed by Atwood’s novels.

    What did you think of The Testaments?

    The post 9 Books to Read if You Loved <i>The Testaments</i> appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Joel Cunningham 6:30 pm on 2019/10/15 Permalink
    Tags: , bernardine evaristo, girl woman other, historic, , , the testaments   

    Booker Award Shocker: Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo Share the U.K.’s Top Fiction Award 

    Like the National Book Award, the U.K.’s Man Booker Prize is one of the world’s leading literary honors. Since 1969, the Booker Prize for Fiction has been awarded to the year’s best novel written in English and published in the U.K. or Ireland.

    Except for this year, when the judges for the literary award defied the rules to award the top prize to two novels—Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments and Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other.

    The announcement “shocked the literary world,” per The Guardian, as the Booker rules have outright prohibited joint winners since they were amended 1992, after Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient and Barry Unsworth’s Sacred Hunger both won the award.

    According to 2019 jury chair Peter Florence, the judges simply couldn’t choose between Atwood’s blockbuster dystopian sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale and Evaristo’s vibrant, intricate story of the intersecting lives of a dozen Black British women.

    “We were told quite firmly that the rules state you can only have one winner,” Florence said. But when the judges—who have spent the last year reading over 150 novels put forward for the prize—still couldn’t reach a decision after multiple rounds of deliberation, the “consensus was to flout the rules and divide this year’s prize to celebrate two winners.”

    The choice has been both celebrated—on stage accepting the award, Atwood (who also won the Booker for 2000’s The Blind Assassin) said she was pleased to share the honor with her co-winner—and criticized by those who would prefer to see a single novel honored. But it’s also easy to see things from the judges’ perspective, for who could choose between two so urgent and deeply felt works, both of them exploring different facets of women’s lives?

    Both womanhood and Blackness are at the center of Girl, Woman, Other, which the author—the first Black British woman to win the prize—has said she wrote because she felt the experiences of women like her are rarely depicted in fiction. “We black British women know that if we don’t write ourselves into literature, no one else will,” she said. The vibrant, moving novel weaves together the stories of twelve central characters, mainly Black British women whose identities, backgrounds, and experiences are vastly different, even as their lives intersect: an acclaimed socialist lesbian playwright; her friend, a burned out teacher; a former student of the teacher who has become an ambitious investment banker; an elderly farmer, and more. Sometimes friends, sometimes lovers, sometimes simply passing acquaintances, these disparate characters all wrestle with thorny, often universal questions—how to live in a patriarchal society, who best to turn to for guidance and advice, and achieving success versus “selling out.” Viewed as a unified tapestry, the lives of these women reveal a fascinating, dynamic, ever-changing social landscape of Britain across the last century that is not often represented in literary works. Written at times in a poetical free-flow that dispenses with punctuation and capitalization, Girl, Woman, Other is a story about what connects us, and what it means to be true to your identity.

    Even placed next to that worthy winner, perhaps the judges simply felt that Atwood’s novel could not be relegated to the shortlist in 2019, arriving as it has in the wake of the rise of the #MeToo movement and a tense political atmosphere in the Western world that has seen woman dressing in the traditional crimson garb of her grim future’s Handmaids—fertile women treated like broodmares for the wealthy elites—as a sign of protest. The Testaments, which is set 15 years after the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, employs three female narrators from Gilead—the totalitarian society formerly known as the USA—to continue a riveting story of subjugation and rebellion that moves with the speed of a thriller. While two younger characters serves as our eyes into the growing resistance movement against Gilead’s ruling class, the novel’s most fascinating character may be Lydia, one of the “aunts” working within the regime to bring young handmaids, wives, and girls to heel. Aunts are the only women in Gilead allowed to read or write, and Atwood’s intimate portrayal of Lydia—who cut a monstrous figure in The Handmaid’s Tale—provides new insights into a fascinating character who can tell us something about the ways people in the real world sometimes compromise their humanity in favor of power and security.

    Regardless of the reasons for the joint decision, readers have come out winners: the additional attention brought about by both the award and the controversy is likely to put copies of The Testaments and Girl, Woman, Other into many more hands.

    The Testaments is available now. Girl, Woman, Other will be published in the U.S. on December, and is available for preorder.

    The post Booker Award Shocker: Margaret Atwood and Bernardine Evaristo Share the U.K.’s Top Fiction Award appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jen Harper 2:00 pm on 2019/10/02 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , naomi alderman, , , , , the power, the testaments, , yoko ogawa   

    8 Books to Read if You Loved The Testaments, September’s B&N Book Club Selection 

    The Barnes & Noble Book Club selection for September, Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, picks up more than 15 years after the events in her original classic The Handmaid’s Tale. Though the theocratic regime remains in the Republic of Gilead, signs abound that it’s the beginning of the end for the patriarchal power. Poised for revenge, Aunt Lydia is now old and dying, but she has no intention to leave this world without taking down some people with her in this captivating tale that fans won’t be able to put down. But what is a reader to do after finishing this incredible book and discussing it at your local B&N Book Club meeting on Wednesday, October 9th at 7 p.m.? We’ve rounded up 8 more reads to keep you busy until next month. Check out our readalike picks for The Testaments.

    The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
    After reading the sequel, you may want to revisit Atwood’s instant classic that started it all. The dystopian future novel focuses on Offred, an enslaved Handmaid to the Commander and his wife in the Republic of Gilead—which was once known as the United States—an oppressive monotheocracy in which women have no rights and are only as valuable as their reproductive systems are viable. Offred only has her memories of a time when she had her freedom, a job, a husband, a child, a life of her own. And now she’s not even permitted to read and is only allowed to leave the house once a day to go to the food market. It’s a reality that seems all at once surreal and prescient to readers who won’t soon forget The Handmaid’s Tale or its powerful sequel.

    Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
    Kirstin Raymonde is just 8 years old, acting in a production of King Lear in Toronto when the show’s star, Hollywood-famous Arthur Leander, dies on stage of a heart attack. On the very same night, a flu pandemic is spreading across the world, wiping out civilization in Emily St. John Mandel’s spellbinding National Book Award finalist that will appeal to fans of Atwood’s latest dystopian tale. Kirsten can’t find her parents, and she and her older brother must try to survive this bleak new reality. We pick back up with Kirsten 20 years later—she has joined up with a traveling Shakespeare troupe called the Traveling Symphony, determined to bring art to those that remain to remind the survivors that humanity can indeed still exist.

    1984, by George Orwell
    Much like Atwood’s The Testaments, George Orwell’s 1984, written 70 years ago, feels chillingly prophetic in today’s climate. A masterpiece of dystopian fiction, Orwell’s tale offers his profound take on the effects of government surveillance, oppression, and revisionist history. In the tale, Winston Smith is a government employee for the Ministry of Truth, altering historical records to reflect the storyline preferred by the Party, who punishes anyone for even thinking negatively about the government—after all, Big Brother is always watching. Thus Winston has been secretly writing his thoughts in a diary, and one day, when he sees a girl staring, he naturally assumes she’s onto him. But Julia is also a rebel, and soon the two attempt to have a relationship and form a bond that simply isn’t allowed in this society.

    Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Fans of alarmingly prophetic dystopias would also do well not to miss (or, if it’s been a few decades, to revisit) Aldous Huxley’s ruthless, timeless, terrifying vision of a world that seems, in the current climate, jarringly famillier. This classic is often contrasted with the more overtly dark dystopian novel 1984, but it also offers an interesting counterpoint to the world depicted in The Handmaid’s Tale (in it, reproduction is also managed by the government, but in this case, it has been completely divorced from humanity, and babies are genetically engineered and grown in jars.) Brave New World finds humanity completely controlled by the state—but this control is implemented not through fear and subjugation, but by keeping people so distracted by trivial entertainment, state-sanctioned tranquilizing drugs, and government-approved promiscuity that they barely notice or care about their lack of personal freedom.

    The Power, by Naomi Alderman
    Have you ever heard a woman say she always knows where men are on any given street she’s walking on…like she has eyes in the back of her head? This novel imagines that men might be the ones who have something to fear, when teenage girls can torture and kill if they want to. Follow four perspectives of people whose lives are irrevocably altered when this power emerges, and remember the metaphor that Handmaid’s Tale and its sequel also drive home: that the power for evil is certainly within us, and if provoked, we can unleash it.

    The Memory Police, by Yoko Ogawa
    Ogawa’s dystopian tale about government surveillance and control is a perfect next read for fans of Atwood’s The Testaments. Objects, people, and even concepts are disappearing from the island—and it’s happening at a more rapid pace by the day. Most people on the island don’t even notice, but some are able to remember the things lost to the Memory Police—and these people live in fear of the draconian enforcement group. When a young novelist finds out that her editor has been targeted by the Memory Police, she hides him away in a secret room in her house, where they cling to her writing as a way to preserve the past and their relationship as a means for preserving their humanity. This novel was longlisted for the National Book Award for Translated Literature.

    Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
    In Ishiguro’s dystopian sci-fi novel, Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy all grew up attending an exclusive private school together in the English countryside, where the students were sheltered from reality. The children always knew that they were somehow special, but their uniqueness was shrouded in mystery. Now, as adults, the threesome has come back together as 31-year-old Kathy is serving as a “carer” for Ruth and Tommy prior to becoming a “donor” herself in this haunting novel in which an oppressed underclass exists solely to act as organ banks to keep other people alive longer—and the underclass doesn’t understand their unavoidable destiny until it’s too late.

    Vox, by Christina Dalcher
    Vox‘s entire premise is based on the silencing of women, literally: allotted only 100 words per day and violently punished if they exceed it, women in this version of America have been robbed of their voices, their careers, and their dignity. But when one former cognitive linguist (aka, a scientist of words) is recruited by the higher echelon of the government to work on a cure for a Very Important Person’s brain injury impacting their speech, she decides that this (and her added allotment of words per day) is her opportunity to seek justice. Not just for her, but for her young daughter, who has grown up being silent, and her teenage son, whom she watches becoming more indoctrinated into this toxic system each day. A gripping read with twists and turns you won’t see coming!

    What books would you recommend for fans of The Testaments?

    The post 8 Books to Read if You Loved <i>The Testaments</i>, September’s B&N Book Club Selection appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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