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Alias Grace > Question #1: Margaret Atwood's Books

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Margaret Atwood has had a varied career as an author with works ranging from fiction and non-fiction to poetry, short stories and graphic novels. Her novel "The Handmaid's Tale" was adapted into a major motion picture.

How much have you read of Margaret Atwood's works and do you have a favourite?


message 2: by Dana (new)

Dana (dkmckelvey) | 51 comments Sadly, I have never read a Margaret Atwood book! They were filming the mini-series in the County I work for, so I am looking forward to reading this before it comes out.


message 3: by Maureen (new)

Maureen B. | 212 comments I read Surfacing many years ago and loved it. It was a win-win as I was so proud of myself for having read something that was actually CanLit! (It had a bit of a dreary reputation back then.) But then came Life Before Man, which I just couldn't develop any affection for, at all. So we parted ways and, although I really enjoyed her book of poetry, Morning in the Burned House, haven't read any fiction of hers since.

That's not without some guilt as the scope of Atwood's work is mind-boggling. From her Wikipedia resume, it appears she'll happily tackle just about any writing and/or art project.


message 4: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia Valevicius | 81 comments I've read about five Atwood novels over many decades; she is a prolific writer, indeed! However, I have never felt that comfortable with her material, felt I was always 'missing the point'. There was an edge to her writing which later as my own education increased , I realized was the point. And so I avoided her more recent novels, disturbed by the dystopian elements. Now, having read 'Alias Grace' I have a greater appreciation of her breadth as a writer, and of course, I have improved as a reader, as well. I enjoyed AG immensely. Talk more about this later throughout the month !


message 5: by ebookclassics (new)

ebookclassics | 6 comments I've read a number of Margaret Atwood's novels and agree that she is a prolific writer. I admire her work because she explores issues related to women, as well as because she is so imaginative and loves to experiment. For instance, I'm very excited for her new graphic novel. Who would've thought we'd see that?!

I'm also excited for the adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale. Alias Grace is also being adapted by the CBC and Netflix, and HBO is working on the Maddadam trilogy. So much Atwood, so little time!


message 6: by Kate (new)

Kate (arwen_kenobi) | 100 comments Mod
It's taken me a long time to find a Margaret Atwood book that I actually enjoyed. I had to read a fair amount of her in university and only seemed to enjoy her short stories and poetry - maybe because they were shorter to go over again when exam time came around!

I read "The Handmaid's Tale" for the first time a year or so ago and loved it and I also have really enjoyed "Alias Grace." Also anticipating the adaptation of those two as well!


message 7: by Rocio (new)

Rocio (rociofarrell) | 64 comments MArgaret Atwood has been in my "to Read" list for a very long time. At one point I got from the library "Cat's Eye" but never finished it. It is a shame considering her vast work. This is a great opportunity for me to get into her work and for what I read in this forum seems that AG is a very good novel. I just started it last night.


message 8: by Charity (new)

Charity (calgovin) | 8 comments The only one (so far) is Alias Grace. I became a fan not far into the book. I wish I could attend her speak at the Oakville Centre!


message 9: by Darrell (last edited Oct 05, 2016 12:23PM) (new)

Darrell | 55 comments I will admit that the only book I've read of Margaret Atwood's--besides Alias Grace, of course--was the Handmaid's Tale. I remember having to read it in grade 10 or 11 and it was one of the few assigned readings that I really enjoyed reading. I've always been into dystopic fiction, so I'm a bit surprised that I haven't read any of her other stuff. I'm hoping to read more of her recent futuristic dystopian stuff in the future. I am really enjoying Alias Grace, although I must admit it takes me a bit getting used to the style--particularly the lack of punctuation and quotation marks, and her habit of writing without direct dialogue. It's not bad, just different to what I'm used to, but I am enjoying the book.


message 10: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia Valevicius | 81 comments As Darrell mentions Atwood's lack of punctuation, I recall telling my English students (some years ago) that you must learn the proper grammar & only when you do, you can be like Margaret Atwood, and break the rules!


message 11: by Susan (new)

Susan | 130 comments When I thought of how to answer this question, I went back through my print and ebooks and realized that I have several Margaret Atwood books but, other than Cat's Eye which I took out as an audio book for a long car trip, had never gotten around to reading them. Obviously, my sense of Canadian literary duty was at play ... but somehow haven't gotten around to them so far. Perhaps that will change ... I will keep my opinions of Alias Grace for future questions ... but I needed to take it out of the library twice to finally get through it. As a very quick reader who often sacrifices sleep t finish a good book, that isn't the best endorsement.


message 12: by Erika (new)

Erika Nerdypants (serenity1066) | 1 comments Over the last 20 years I have read most of Atwood's books. My first was "Surfacing", and it left me a little bewildered, no pun intended, but interested in more. My most favourite work is "Alias Grace." I read it during a heatwave in June, and Grace Marks came so alive for me that I dreamt of her. I found the ending to "Life Before Man infuriating, but after several days of mulling it over realized that it had exactly the right ending. Margaret Atwood opened the door for me to fall in love with Canadian literature.


message 13: by Darrell (new)

Darrell | 55 comments Sylvia wrote: "As Darrell mentions Atwood's lack of punctuation, I recall telling my English students (some years ago) that you must learn the proper grammar & only when you do, you can be like Margaret Atwood, a..."

Haha great point, Sylvia! If you know the rules, then you know how to break them and still make it work :)


message 14: by Darrell (new)

Darrell | 55 comments Susan wrote: "When I thought of how to answer this question, I went back through my print and ebooks and realized that I have several Margaret Atwood books but, other than Cat's Eye which I took out as an audio ..."

Oh no, sorry it was a struggle for you to get through. I can definitely see that myself--I really like it but it's a lot of text and not particularly fast moving, though I do like the glimpses of historical Toronto and that era in general. I do agree it's not a quick read and can be a bit of a slog to get through at times, though personally I am enjoying it.


message 15: by Ashley (last edited Oct 11, 2016 08:09AM) (new)

Ashley | 116 comments Mod
I love Margaret Atwood. I read The Handmaid's Tale when I was in high school, and since then I have been hooked. The Handmaid's Tale is still my favourite - I love dystopian themed and science fiction works, and with Atwood you get the added bonus of a feminine perspective (most of the time.) I also really love Lady Oracle. On the flip side however, there have been titles by Atwood I just did not love, but sometimes I think I should give them another chance. I think I have read maybe half of her major novels, but not her poetry or short stories.

As mentioned above, there is a new mini series in production starring Elizabeth Moss & Joseph Fiennes of The Handmaid's Tale which I am eagerly awaiting! I didn't know about the other two adaptations! I will have to get reading!


message 16: by Jennifer (last edited Oct 11, 2016 12:07PM) (new)

Jennifer Patrick | 57 comments Mod
I have read a few Margaret Atwood books in my life, namely The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake, I thoroughly enjoyed them and I especially enjoyed her dystopian fiction. Oryx and Crake I plowed through. The Handmaid's tale is such a classic and a wonderful piece of literature. And I enjoyed Alias Grace too, even though it was a bit of a slog.


message 17: by Terry (new)

Terry | 30 comments Despite the fact that for once my turn at the 'OPL holds game' has come up on time to read along with you all, I'm going to give this one a pass. I'm 60 pages in and could take it or leave it - between the slower pace and the lack of punctuation (which I get as a style, but don't favor and it slows down my reading), I find my initial liking of the character and interest in the subject matter failing. It might be that I've only read in 8-10 page chunks instead of a good long sit down... but I keep thinking the next person on the Holds list is waiting, and they might love it in a way I don't. Sure I could slog through it... but I remember thinking this the last time I tried Atwood's work, the Handmaid's Tale back in high school. I know I finished it, but have very little memory of it - which is a bit of a red flag for me.
That said, I'll keep tabs on all of your favorite Atwoods and maybe give her a try another time. :)


message 18: by Allison (last edited Oct 17, 2016 08:20AM) (new)

Allison | 396 comments Terry wrote: "Despite the fact that for once my turn at the 'OPL holds game' has come up on time to read along with you all, I'm going to give this one a pass. I'm 60 pages in and could take it or leave it - bet..."

Terry, I agree that the first part of the novel is a bit slow, as we are introduced to various characters and given a very brief synopsis of the murders. I struggled a bit with this part as well. However, once past the first 100 pages or so, this novel really takes off. I am totally enthralled by Grace's ongoing account of her past. At approximately the halfway mark in the novel, I really didn't want to stop reading, but alas I have work to do though cannot wait to get back to it. Anyway, do try to get your hands on one of the library's Fastlane copies if you can!

Prior to this novel, I had only read The Handmaid's Tale, which I really enjoyed.


message 19: by Maureen (new)

Maureen B. | 212 comments I agree, Alllison! It's easy to get bogged down in the incredible amount of detail but it does clip along nicely beyond the midway point. Pity it takes so long to get there! :-)


message 20: by Terry (new)

Terry | 30 comments Allison wrote: I struggled a bit with this part as well. However, once past the first 100 pages or so, this novel really takes off."

Good to know that it DOES pick up some... perhaps I'll try it again another time.


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