Monday, September 26, 2011

monday in a book

the handmaid's tale. 

it's taken me awhile to succumb to the modern day
"classics" or "best-sellers" or "greats"—whatever you want
to call them. i think it started with pat conroy's the beach,
back in high school, only i didn't know it yet. then there
was life of pie, the road by cormac mccarthy, and others
i can't remember right now. but they've all just sort of 
crept up on me, and i guess i didn't equate them with
any public validation because my stumbling on them
was accidental, before i knew their status, or before
they were made in to movies, action figures, t-shirts...
i read them on my own, not on recommendation
from a teacher or because of a class or book review or
anything. so it was always a surprise, a wonderful,
astonishing, unpremeditated, unanticipated discovery.

now, of course, i know a lot more about the ones
that have been vetted, the authors to be watched,
or the ones who've already made a name for themselves,
and i'm less suspicious of them. i think that for a long
time i thought that if they were writing in the
present day, they couldn't be good—or interesting.
now the surprise is in the writing itself. seeing how very
wrong i was about them not being as good as those
100-year-old classics. like the handmaid's tale. 
i picked it up once but i wasn't ready for it.
when you've seen a title everywhere, you—or i
—tend to lose interest in it before i've even tried it.
i'm sure that's how some of you feel about
the twilight series. anyways, the handmaid's tale
is very good. very very good. i just love the
piecing together of the story. the way atwood
dreams up the telling of it. and the simplicity 
of it—along, of course, with its imaginativeness.
if you like the giver, 1984, or other distopian novels,
you must try this. 
i haven't finished it. i'm trying to savor it.

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