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Islamic Extremists. Shootings. Bombings. Credit Cards. These are the things of Offred’s past. These are the things Offred remembers. She lives now, as a handmaid, for the Commander and Serena Joy. Offred is a vessel–her only job is to conceive a child and keep living life along the guidelines she was taught in her re-education classes.
Offred remembers a time before she wore the red habit, before the rhythm of the whole home depended on her fertile times. Offred had a life, a child, a lover/husband…best friends and a mother who was known for being a woman’s rights activist.
Offred held a job until the day the banks froze accounts belonging to woemn, the same day that the Constitution was ‘susepended.’ Women are now to be dependent on men, it is an edict…and then there is a new order to things. In this new order, there is safety. There are less bombings. There is less to fear.
Offred is one of the lucky ones, and she knows it. Despite her age, she is deemed fertile. She is not, as some havge been, shipped off to the colonies and deemed an unwoman. That is the worst that could happen, apart from not conceiving a baby with the man of the house, acting as a surrogate for the lady of the house.
There is a lot of ceremony in Gilead, where the story takes place. There are a lot of ‘do’s and ‘don’t’s. There is shopping, always done by two handmaids in the company of one another. There is Salvaging–the act of hanging criminals for their wrongdoings for things like perversion or gender treachery (being gay).
There is also an underground female movement called the Femaleroad, where women are helped and taken to other, more sympathetic countries.
After the abrupt end of the novel is an afterward which is dated 2195. It is here where a few details are fleshed out. The Handmaid’s Tale apparently consisted of multiple cassette tapes, with voice recording. It is here we find out the city of Gilead was really Bangor, Maine. Also, the Handmaid’s account may have some holes, particularly where the commander and his wife are
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I’ve read it before, but it was calling to me because of my recent interest in social dystopian novels. Margaret Atwood masterfully melds story, character and societal commentary into one enjoyable novel. There were a lot of things leading to the Cleansing that are in the media now–it definitely made me a bit nervous. The idea that it could happen is sobering.
I received a copy of this book electronically, using my Nook’s LendMe feature and the site http://bookfriend.me/
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
286 pages; Houghton Mifflin
Beecher White is a reliable, quiet man working at the National Archives. Contacted by a former childhood crush named Clementine, Beecher agrees to meet her and do some research for her. On the day of her visit, the safe and reliable life he knows is over– Beecher uncovers a secret men have died for!
While a lot of the action takes place in the National Archives, there is action in and around Washington D.C. It was interesting to read about the policies and procedures within the library…And I definitely liked reading that a librarian/historian is the main character.
I got a copy of this, in ebook format, from Net Galley, in exchange for a review. It will be released on January 11, 2011.
It’s obvious author Brad Meltzer knows his subject and does his research. I really liked the book and, at 457 pages, I never felt like the book dragged on–which is fantastic! I did feel like there was a major opening at the end for a continuation of the novel–a possible series.
<u>The Inner Circle</u> by Brad Meltzer
457 pages; Grand Central Publishing
Hardcover: Jan 2011 Retail: $26.99
Lena lives in a world where love is a disease. It’s a disease Lena does NOT want. She will have the procedure that will stop all of the sickness within four months–on her eighteenth birthday. Until then, she has much to do–graduation and evaluation.
Evaluation is done by the government to determine the course of her life…in this way, her life will be safe and predictable. But on the day of Lena’s evaluation, a herd of cattle are released into the facility and Lena must be retested.
But for the first time, Lena is uncertain as to whether or not she wants to be evaluated. She saw a boy, Alex, that day…and it changed her life. Alex wears the three pronged scar that the cured wear, but Alex hides a dark secret.
Soon, Lena is no longer the obedient child she once was. She sneaks out during a raid to notify people at a party playing restricted music. At the party, she is rescued from the raiders by Alex. And begins to have feelings for Alex.
I really liked this novel, once I got it downloaded onto my Nook. It was a quick read and well-written novel. I liken it to Brave New World, The Handmaiden’s Tale or Carrie Ryan’s Dead Tossed Waves series. It’s a social dystopian novel. The government monitors phone calls for words like ‘love’ and ‘sympathizer’ and ‘Invalid.’ There is a border fence all around the country, including the area Lena lives in (Maine). Borders are closely watched and identification is needed at all times, for lack of a better term the whole place is a police state. All websites are written by governemnt agencies, there are lists of approved books, movies and music.
This is very startling read, and the idea that these types of things could happen are very scary to me, I believe in the first amendment, and I think that people should have freedoms, I am blessed to have my freedom. I received a copy of this from NetGalley in epub format in exchange for a review…Here’s a countdown meter to it’s release date.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
305 pages; Harper Collins
Hardcover: February 1, 2011 Retail: $17.99
We all have heard our mothers regale friends, family and complete strangers with cute things we did as kids–that just so happen to embarass us as adults. With his book Sorry I Peed On You (and Other Heartwarming Letters to Mommy), MSN parenting blogger Jeremy Greenberg takes ‘cute’ to the next level.
From a twenty-two month old’s missive ‘See how far I can throw my sippy cup’ to a ten month old’s ode to dirt (hint: It’s what’s for dinner!), Greenberg hits the nail on the head–these letters to our favorite lady inspire laughs and fun for one reader–or even the whole family!
I laughed a lot during this reading, and at only 65 pages in electronic format, it’s a quick read–a great gift for even the non-reader you may know…or the mom who’s juggling a lot of hats and doesn’t have enough time to sit down with a large five hundred plus page tome. I think the grouping of the pictures in the book were also pretty cute, you know, for a book about kids (this is coming from someone without kids).
I received this book in electronic format in exchange for a review from NetGalley. I was in no way compensated for my review, but when the book comes out on March 22, 2011, I’m definitely going to pick up a copy for a Mother’s Day gift.
Sorry I Peed On You (And Other Heartwarming Letters to Mommy) by Jeremy Greenberg
65 pages; Andrews McMeel Publishing
Paperback: March 22, 2011 Retail: $9.99
Wil Wheaton is best known for his roles in ‘Stand By Me’ and ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation.’ But, as he’s grown up, Wheaton spent less time in front of the camera and in front of a computer.
Wil Wheaton is a blogger.
Yes, a blogger.
Now, before you start thinking ‘why is this even relevant, why should we read a review of a BLOGGER’S Book,’ let me tell you that Wheaton is a skillful writer. He deftly writes essays that sound less like boring ‘this is what I did today’ blog posts and more like things you’d hear on PBS’ ‘This American Life.’
From his demons in regards to his exit from ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ to his day-to-day struggles as a man trying to provide for his family while satisfying his soul.
I recommend this to anyone into pop culture, or anyone into a good read that doesn’t hold any punches.
Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton
296 pages; O’Reilly Media
Paperback: August 2009 Retail: $16.99
One might think that the title of The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance as the most descriptive and possibly boring book title on the planet. You would be wrong, as I found out by reading this gem.
While I am not Mormon, I have seen much of what I know about the faith through tv, reality tv and literature. After reading Elna Baker’s memoir, I realize that the faith is more than just polygamy and the women are exciting and real!
Yes, Elna is Mormon. She chooses to remain a virgin until marriage. She doesn’t drink or smoke. These may sound like obvious choices, and something she probably doesn’t have to struggle with ‘out on the farm,’ however Elna has chosen to live in New York City. Refreshingly enough, Elna is smart, funny and while she struggles on occasion, Elna is and surprisingly true to her beliefs.
I think that is the best lesson to take from this novel, the fact that you can be true to what you believe in, without having to give up to fit into modern day society, or at least try your best.
The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker
288 pages Dutton Adult
Hardcover October 2009 Retail: $25.95
Carl Hiaasen takes us back to the weird and wacky world of South Florida in his newest novel, Star Island.
The story centers on pop tartlette Cherry Pye (formerly known as Cheryl Bunterman), a start in the tradition of all other pop sensations known more for their bad behavior than any type of talent. Because of Cherry’s proclivity to excess and passing out, a secret double is hired by her family and management–without Cherry’s knowledge.
Ann is a normal enough girl–for an actress. While she’s not a huge fan of the pop star, she is collecting her much appreciated and steady paychecks to add to her savings.
Fans of Hiaasen will know there is more than meets the eye–soon a simple enough story takes a turn for the weird, and the strange, zany characters come out of the woodwork, or rather, the everglades. Hiaasen’s deeper message of preservation shines, much like the smile of one Clinton Tyree (who happens to be my FAVORITE Hiaasen character).
I love Hiaasen’s work, and Star Island is no exception. Character development and pacing are his strengths.
I purchased this book in ebook format to read on my Nook ereader.
Moving from New Orleans to a small mountain community in Colorado, the hunt for the man once known as Viktor Frankenstein continues. Though, in the previous novel he died, the scheming, brilliant genius is back…and his plan to take over the human race is in full swing.
This time, two detectives, an elderly man, a child and three of Viktor’s own creations are preparing for a final and DEADLY confrontation to take him down for good.
To be honest, I was unhappy when I heard there was ANOTHER in this series. I had waited over three years from the second book to the third and had no idea that a fourth book (which would turn out to be Lost Souls) was needed until I was nearly finished with the third one.
The ending of this is so abrupt, I’m certain there will be a fifth book in another year. I’l begrudgingly read it. And though I may deny that I like it, I will probably enjoy the story. I liked this one more than I like to admit, and it was a great metro read (yes, I read my Nook on the metro to Los Angeles). I cared about the characters for the first time in a while, which was really exciting to me.
When Genna Hewett-Meade, daughter of privilege (and a radical, paranoid lawyer father), goes off to Schyler college (which her Quaker relatives founded) in the 70s, she keeps an open mind and tries her best to keep her nose to the proverbial grindstone.
Genna is matched with Minette Swift, a black Reverend’s daughter from Washington D.C. The two girls could not come from more dissimilar backgrounds. But, while Genna is trying to get closer, Minette keeps her roommate (and everyone else) at arm’s length.
The hate crimes against Minette start, and soon escalate. Minette leaves the residence hall and Genna makes a discovery about her ex-roommate so shocking that it will rock the entire campus.
Joyce Carol Oates continues to be a literary powerhouse in my eyes. I enjoy reading nearly everything by her, mostly because of her technical and emotional mastery.
I received this book through the library’s Overdrive media program to read on my Nook.