The summer gets me into such a reading mood. The weather is lovely, long bright days and time to relax. That’s why I walk into Waterstones in Brussels every month and treat myself with some books. (I added a rule : I won’t buy new ones until I finished my stack of three/four freshly bought books from the previous month. Update : I failed this rule a week after I wrote it.)
July was the month of sales so it’s buy one and get the second one half price. Ofcourse I couldn’t resist. That’s how I picked up the first book. This book has been on my to read list ever since the tv series began. I am ofcourse talking about Margaret Atwood’s classic ‘A Handmaid’s Tale‘.
Margaret Atwood – A Handmaid’s Tale
The serie got me crying every single episode of the first season, so I was way too curious how the story was told in 1985 (the book was written in this year). The reason why it hit me so hard was the disbelief and the fear that something like this could happen. It’s so close to home that I could empathize with it even more.
There are some details, which I found very interesting to give a clearer image of this world (for example, Offred, the handmaid, always tried to sneak a little piece of butter in her shoe to her room. This way she could hydrate her skin and feel like she could treat herself oncemore). Some of these details aren’t shown in the serie. Not a critical note, these things weren’t necessary for the storyline but I found them very interesting to sculpt my imagination some more.
I watched the first season when it came out last year, read the book in about a week this month and bingewatch the first and second season after finishing the book (in just two days).
The serie more or less follows the timeline of the book but here and there they switch things up. They add new characters and show different sides of the story. Which I absolutely loved. The book ends abruptly and made me feel wanting so much more and this is where the series fullfilled my wants.
I recommend reading the book and then binge watch the two seasons. Ideal way to spend a hot summer!
Naomi Alderman – The Power
“In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there’s a rich Nigerian kid who lounges around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power – they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.” (source)
Naomi Alderman creates a world where all the women suddenly get a power. We see how the world reacts to this change, from family circles to presidential leaders. Men aren’t in power, the tables have turned. Women are feared by men.
I read this book after Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s tale‘ and at first it made me feel so empowered. It felt great to read that women didn’t have any fears anymore. But the men started suffering. After reading some horrible and unforgetful scenes I realised that even this world isn’t ideal.
The build up of this book is very layered. It starts off with conversations between Naomi and a man called Neil. He had written this historical fiction about men and women. In this world women always had a power, a strength.
After a conversation between Naomi and Neil the story starts. “The Power” by Neil Adam Armon. Every chapter follows a different character. They all have their story and as the book progresses all of their stories become one.
The story slowly unfolds, Alderman sketches everyone’s fears and reactions to those fears very clearly. It isn’t hard to understand the world she creates. It isn’t as far from the world we live in as you may think, just different paths for the men and women throughout history. Personally it was hard to get into this book, since every chapter shifted from one character to the other and I am not that great with remembering names. But after every glimpse, every chapter of one person, my curiosity grew and I wanted to know more about how the story of this particular person would develop.
Jennifer Niven – Holding up the universe
This book was a quick read, I read it in about four hours (over four days). It isn’t a heavy story as ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ or ‘The Power’, but that’s what I loved about this book.
The story follows the life of two teenagers. On the one hand there’s Libby, a girl who has gone through some rough times in her life and processed it all by eating too much. She’s having a hard time in high school since no one wants to get to know her.
On the other hand there’s Jack, a popular high school boy who has it all, except that he has prosopagnosia (face-blindness), which explains his ‘douchness’. The prosopagnosia is something Niven read up on and spoke to different people who actually have this illness. It gave the character a different layer and made him interesting instead of a typical high school boy. Imagine if you can’t even remember the faces of your loved ones and have to remember different characteristics so you know who you are talking to?
The story covers subjects as body image, high school mentality and young romance. I couldn’t stop reading. The girl, Libby, gave me some moments where I thought ‘you go girl, don’t let them get to you!‘ and there were some very romantic parts throughtout the book which warmed my heart.
I am a sucker for books like this. I like reading such simple and heartwarming stories. Jennifer Niven has a way of getting me sucked in the book. She knows how to play with words.
I would love to quote the romantic parts, but I don’t want to spoil anything for those of you who would want to read it. If you are looking for a romantic and a story to dive into, you should pick up this book and start reading.
Currently reading : Carrie Hope Fletcher – When the curtain falls
F O L L O W E M I T T R A O N