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Book Group Recommendations

Musing Mondays2

This week’s musing asks:

If your book group asked you to bring two (2) suggestions for group reads to your next meeting, what two books would you suggest? Why?

In keeping the sentiment of banned book week, and that I just read about Handmaid Tale‘s being banned in Texas, I would like to suggest this dystopian novel to a book group. No offense to women (most of the book group members, as well as book bloggers are women), I would like to hear women’s thoughts on this book, which is told from the perspective of Offred (Of Fred), a handmaid. Offred is a patronymic which describes her function in the Republic of Gilead. Other than the sheer purpose of breeding, women are stripped of teir most basic identity: they are nameless. Emotion is stripped. Not only are the women stripped of their individuality, they are forbidden to read and write, for they are mere containers–it’s only the insides of their bodies that are important, the viable ovaries. It was considered a banned book because it’s anti-Christian and pornographic.

The second book I would suggest is completely on the opposite end of the spectrum: An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears (what a coincidence that they are exactly 200 books apart on my reading journal). A book with an unreliable narrator, for which John Banville and Kazuo Ishiguro are known, often provokes heated discussion. How about four unreliable narrators who all have distinct motive and reason that render the self-contained (and self-conscious) account less objective and misleading. This would be perfect book for an evening of discussion, wine, and nosh.

8 Responses

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale is a great choice. I bet my book club would really like it, and it would definitely be different from what they are used to reading!

  2. Having read The Handmaid’s Tale I think that is an excellent choice!

  3. I have not read either book, but The Handmaid’s Tale sounds like a very interesting read.

  4. The Handmaid’s Tale is one of the most beautiful yet scary books I have ever read. I don’t think it is anti-christian but it is a warning against being fanatical and a call to common sense. Would love to discuss it in a book group.

    Actually, I have done the opposite of banning it. I am giving is as presents to all of my girlfriends to make sure that they read it.

  5. The Handmaid’s Tale is a terrific choice and I’ve read another book of Ian Pears with an unreliable narrator and can see where something longer of his might provide an interesting discussion too. Of my recent reads, I’d look to Keith Oatley’s Therefore Choose (because the choices therein, those made and unmade, offer lots to chat about) and Michael Crummey’s Galore (because it’s just so wonderfully strange).

  6. I just finished the Atwood book. I would really like if you could visit my blog and read my review. I found the book astonishing, disturbing and challenging all at the same time!

  7. The Handmaid’s Tale is another on my must read list…and I bet prefect for a discussion.

  8. The Handmaids Tale is very good and would generate a good discussion both about women and the role religion plays in politics.

    I first read it when the Religious Right was gaining strength in elections and found it interesting to reflect on cause and effect of decisions people were making and why they were making them.


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