ATWOODIANS MESSAGE BOARD

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ATWOODIANS MESSAGE BOARD

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1avaland
Nov 16, 2006, 5:33pm

Welcome! I thought I would create a place where we Atwoodians could gather, have a cup of tea and chat. As I entered my collection (without the duplicates), I discovered there were a lot of you out there. I, for one, would love to hear what you have to say.

2Tricoteuse
Nov 17, 2006, 3:34pm

I can't believe I didn't think of starting this group first - she's probably my favorite modern author.

3avaland
Nov 19, 2006, 2:57pm

I cannot believe that the list our "most commonly shared books" has not changed since just two of us were listed. Anyone know when this gets updated? I will be quite curious what 15 Margaret Atwood fans will have in common...

4sqdancer
Nov 19, 2006, 3:05pm

*hangs head in shame*
I haven't entered my Atwood books yet. I will go remedy that right now.

5avaland
Nov 21, 2006, 11:31am

In answering my own question about "most comonly shared books", I see that a full and updated list is posted on the "group zietgeist" page. It's very interesting. I was also a bit embarrassed to see all my reviews (which I prefer to call recommendations) and my most recently entered books....geesh, I hope the rest of you are still entering books so it will be a bit more mixed in the future...

6avaland
Dez 27, 2006, 11:55am

Have you noticed that on our "group zietgeist" page, under "top shared books" unweighted, the first authors to appear after Margaret Atwood are the Brontes. While I realize these stats are seriously out of date, it a wonderfully interesting bit of information. Any theories?

Now I'm going to try some Atwood titles in the Unsuggester!

7tripleblessings
Jan 9, 2007, 11:55am

I'm pleased to have received a bookstore gift certificate for Christmas, and among a bunch of fun mystery stories, I chose two new Margaret Atwood books:

The Penelopiad and Moral Disorder. I'm looking forward to reading them this month, I hope.

Did any of you add to your Atwood collections over the holidays? Or read any that were new to you?

Happy new year to all!

8smoss
Editado: Jan 11, 2007, 11:14am

Trippleblessings let me know how you get on with Moral Disorder. I'm about 2/3 of way through and enjoying it. The blurb and marketing spiel describes it as a interconnected short stories, but i'm finding it reads more like a slightly disjointed novel. The narrative flow between stories is much stronger than in other such works, i'm thinking of cloud atlas and Hotel World.

9rampaginglibrarian
Jan 11, 2007, 9:24pm

actually many of my Atwood books are still packed away somewhere and i don't like to enter my books until i actually know where they are so they remain unentered until unboxed

10bookishbunny
Jan 12, 2007, 9:01am

#9

I do the same thing. The only thing I entered, because I thought I knew where it was, was my 1st. edition Steinbeck. Now I can't find it and don't know what box it's it (*panicked!*).

11avaland
Jan 12, 2007, 3:08pm

#7 and #8, I've just started Moral Disorder; I'm intrigued because the book flaps purport it to be her most autobiographical novel while not being exactly autobiographical. Do you want to start a separate thread for the book to perhaps attract the attention of others readers?

12rampaginglibrarian
Jan 12, 2007, 4:09pm

i'm very curious about that since she's always hated it when anyone has suggested that ANY of her books are autobiographical. Did SHE actually say it was autobigraphical? My thoughts on it are here if anyone's interested:
http://talesofarampaginglibrarian.blogspot.com/2006/12/moral-disorder-and-other-...

13avaland
Jan 12, 2007, 7:22pm

I will enjoy reading your thoughts when I'm finished.

And regarding the whole autobiographical thing; it's only on the jacket flap so it could be just a promotional gimmick.

14kathrynnd
Jan 12, 2007, 8:04pm

I loved your blog comments rampaginglibrarian. Thank you.

While I am trying to put my thoughts together, here's an article I just pulled up on the internet. I read Moral disorder last October, ( after rereading Bodily Harm, I believe I wrote something to the group about that earlier). I think this article answers "the whole autobiographical thing" quite well, but best read this one too after finishing the book avaland. I skimmed past the first part about Alice Munro's new book The View from Castle Rock because it's still in my to read pile. The comments about Moral Disorder are at the end.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06323/738960-148.stm

'View from Castle Rock' by Alice Munro and 'Moral Disorder' by Margaret Atwood
Canadian writers sift through memory with skilled eyes

Sunday, November 19, 2006
By Bob Hoover, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

15tripleblessings
Editado: Fev 9, 2007, 6:25pm

In today's entertainment news I discovered that CBC is about to broadcast a TV drama adaptation of The Robber Bride starring Mary-Louise Parker as Zenia, the treacherous title character. It will air on Sunday Jan 21st on CBC. Here's a link to the trailer at CBC's website
(might reveal too much if you haven't read the book yet).
http://www.cbc.ca/robberbride/
and here's a link to the news story with a brief interview with Mary-Louise Parker.
England.
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/070117/entertainment/tv_robber_bride (again, plot spoiler warning).
It's a co-production with Canada's Shaftesbury Films and the U.K.'s Working Title Television, (so will probably be shown in the U.K. some time soon), and it will air on Oxygen in the United States.

Sounds like it will be a good thriller, although I don't know whether much of Atwood's darkly bitter humour will make it to TV.

- Edited to add that it was very good, with great acting. Recommended viewing if you can find it.

16Tricoteuse
Fev 6, 2007, 3:14pm

I love Mary-Louise Parker and Robber Bride is one of my favorite Atwood books so I'm super excited to see that movie.

A little web research seems to indicate that it will air in the US in mid-March.

17avaland
Abr 7, 2007, 2:09pm

Being the lit freak that I am, I just received a copy of The Cambridge Companion to Margaret Atwood edited by Coral Ann Howells. It's relatively new c. 2006. Here are some of the delicious topics they address: MA in her Canadian context, Biography/autobiography, Power Politics: Power and Identity; MA's female bodies, MA and environmentalism, MA and history, Home and nation in MA's later fiction, MA's humor, Ma's poetry and poetics, MA's short stories and shorter fictions, MA's dystopian visions: The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake, Blindness and survival in MA's major novels.

Might be some potential conversation catalysts in there, don't you think?

18torontoc
Editado: Abr 21, 2007, 12:05am

Margaret Atwood is one of the 15 writers nominated for the 2007 Man Booker International Prize. To quote the Toronto newspaper -The Globe and Mail-that reported the news-"The award is given to a living writer for an outstanding body of work of fiction"

19torontoc
Editado: Abr 21, 2007, 12:05am

sorry- I spelled " Man Booker" wrong- that extra r just looks right! ( I fixed the original post)

20hbsweet
Abr 21, 2007, 12:59am

Tripleblessings,
I saw a promo recently for the "Robber Bride" movie, and tho' I'm glad to hear you liked it, I am still a little leery. As marvelous an actress as Mary Louise Parker is, she doesn't match the Zenia in my head: the Zenia I've always imagined is more glamorous, more dangerous, darker and fiercer. M.L. Parker is just so...wholesome.

I worry that it'll be like the mini-series of "The Thorn Birds": Rachel Ward was not at all my vision of Meggie, and as good as she was, I was distracted throughout by the thought,"But she's all wrong! That's not what Meggie's supposed to look like!"

Did Ms. Parker's Zenia work for you?

21tripleblessings
Abr 27, 2007, 11:59pm

Yes, in fact, I enjoyed her very much. Zenia in the book is a sort of chameleon, changing her image to appeal to the person she is attempting to manipulate. It's great fun in the movie to see M.L. Parker transform not just her appearance but her manner to get past the defences of the other women. I also liked the other actresses very much - however I had not read the book recently and was not going in with strong preconceptions of how each should appear.

I'm looking forward to the results of the Man Booker prize. The other nominees are very strong, but I think/hope Atwood would be worthy of this great honour.

22torontoc
Maio 6, 2007, 10:40pm

There is an interview with Margaret Atwood in the Sat. Globe and Mail, May 5. Here is the link to the on-line edition.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070505.watwood0505/BNStory/...

23tripleblessings
Maio 7, 2007, 1:03am

Some great anecdotes there! Thanks for the link, torontoc. I'm very curious to hear how the stage version of The Penelopiad will turn out! Don't know if it will ever appear in my city, I hope to see it one day.

24avaland
Maio 7, 2007, 7:10pm

Great piece, thanks for pointing it out, torontoc! I love her wit...

25writestuff
Maio 14, 2007, 10:13am

I'm new here - and a relatively new fan of Atwoods. I read Oryx and Crake last year (my first Atwood novel!) and loved it. This weekend I finished Alias Grace - astounding! The Handmaid's Tale is on my stack TBR in June.

I love how Atwood weaves a story; and her use of symbolism is brilliant. What an amazing writer!

26tripleblessings
Jun 15, 2007, 12:25pm

I like the new book cover photo on our group page. I guess because it has that great picture of "Peggy" on the cover - it makes me smile!

27torontoc
Editado: Jun 24, 2007, 11:25am

I was going through my library to find all the singletons and also found a cookbook complied and illustrated by Maragret Atwood It was in a stack that came from my mother. The CanLit Foodbook from pen to palate: a collection of tasty literary fare has writings and recipes from Canadian writers and poets. Margaret Atwood contributed recipes for wheat germ muffins ( from her mother) and a Bourbon Pecan Christmas Cake.The book was published in 1987 and was in aid of P.E.N. and the Writer's Development Trust.
I am now going to move it from the cookbook shelf to the TBR pile as it contains interesting excerpts from books and poetry.

28torontoc
Jul 28, 2007, 9:21am

Nice article today ( Sat. July 28 ) in the Toronto Star newspaper about Margaret Atwood's novel The Penelopiad. It has been adapted as a play by Canada's National Arts Centre and England's Royal Shakespeare Company. The play opens at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon this Thursday and at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on Sept.19. The article is by Richard Ouzounian and might be on the Star's web site www.thestar.com

29avaland
Jul 29, 2007, 7:46pm

torontoc, I don't see the article on the website but I had seen an article somewhere else about the production.

btw, the new picture is from the back cover of Power Politics which I just acquired (I'm trying to fill in all my Atwood 'gaps').

30avaland
Nov 5, 2007, 2:51pm

I do hope we aren't as a group on the verge of dying! We've gone terribly quiet. Well, Margaret hasn't had a new novel for a while since Moral Disorder and I suppose there is only so much one can say about a single author...unless, of course, one is an academic:-)

However, please don't feel limited to just talking about Atwood. Certainly, we are all here because we enjoy her novels, essays, or poetry, but we can talk about anything we want. I envisioned the group as a gathering place with Atwood as the common denominator and know we've gathered some of the best readers on LT in this group, so let's talk!

31sqdancer
Editado: Nov 5, 2007, 6:12pm

Has anyone read The door? I have a copy on it's way to me now. Hopefully it will arrive this week or next.

32avaland
Nov 5, 2007, 7:13pm

I've read parts of it but not read it cover to cover due to class work. Do let us know what you think of it!

33avaland
Nov 19, 2007, 8:58am

Did anyone see The Robber Bride on either Canadian or US television last winter? There was also a documentary on Atwood that was supposed to air in Canada in September. Did anyone see that?

34Caroline_McElwee
Nov 19, 2007, 9:47am

I read The Door and enjoyed it a lot. Can't remember off the top of my head the pieces I liked most, will take a look at my notes tonight.

No good at posting clickable links, but here is an article Atwood wrote in the Guardian Review at the weekend about Huxley's Brave New World

http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,2212230,00.html

35torontoc
Jan 12, 2008, 8:29pm

There was a small news item in a Toronto newspaper today about Margaret Atwood's next novel- it will be published next fall.

36kathrynnd
Jan 13, 2008, 12:26am

Oooh thanks. Here's the CBC story and photo.

http://www.cbc.ca/arts/books/story/2008/01/12/atwood-novel.html

I have The robber bride on my to reread list, better move it up to spring if there will be a new novel in the fall.

37avaland
Jan 14, 2008, 6:41pm

Thanks torontoc and kathrynnd! How exciting! I've cleared my fall schedule:-)

38torontoc
Mar 11, 2008, 7:40pm

There is an article by Marsha Lederman in the Review section of The Globe and Mail today ( Tuesday March 11 ) about Margaret Atwood. Atwood will be writing the libretto for an opera on the life of E. Pauline Johnston for the City Opera , Vancouver.

39torontoc
Editado: Mar 12, 2008, 6:33pm

There is another article today, this time in the Toronto Star.(March 12) Apparently, Margaret Atwood's New York publisher did not want a publishing date for her new book close to the US election-so it will be published in 2009. Atwood will be delivering the 2008 Annual Massey Lectures instead-she was supposed to do this in 2009 but switched. Her topic is Payback: Debt as Mental Construct and the Shadow Side of Debt.This series is sponsored by CBC Radio, Massey College and the House of Anansi Press-they usually publish the lectures. You can hear the lectures on CBC Radio in the fall. Atwood will deleiver the lectures in 5 cities ending at Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto on Nov 1.

40avaland
Mar 16, 2008, 9:21pm

Thanks for the update, torontoc. Bummer about the novel being pushed back; I would've liked it as a distraction from the election (since I am already suffering election fatigue).

41avaland
Mar 16, 2008, 9:21pm

Is it coming out in Canada or the UK in 2008?

42torontoc
Mar 17, 2008, 3:16pm

I think that Atwood's new book would come out in both Canada and the US at the same time. UK , I'm not sure. According to the article, in 2008 Margaret Atwood will be busy with the Massey Lectures-which also come out in book form.

43torontoc
Abr 2, 2008, 8:34pm

Margaret Atwood will be one of the three jurors for the next Giller Prize.

44avaland
Abr 3, 2008, 7:07am

yay!

any inklings of a younger Canadian who might be seen as inheriting the mantle of Margaret Atwood? I realize I'm premature here, but it was just a thought. . .

45torontoc
Abr 6, 2008, 4:32pm

I can think of some very good writers ( whom I Have praised in other groups since I have been Librarything) but no one who is as prolific.

46avaland
Abr 8, 2008, 8:30am

Atwood has been such a champion of Canadian lit, do you think that perhaps Canadian lit no longer needs such a champion? Does her shadow prevent other great authors from getting the attention they deserve?

47torontoc
Editado: Abr 9, 2008, 11:57am

In answer to your second question-not really- there is a whole lot of Maritime writers who have had good press. CBC just made a TV movie of The Englishman's Boy by Guy Vanderhaeghe
Ann-Marie Macdonald wrote a book Fall on Your Knees that was featured as one of Oprah Winfrey's book choices.
Jane Urquhart writes wonderful books.
Certainly Atwood helped Vincent Lam ,a recent Giller Prize winner.The story is that Lam was a doctor on a cruise ship and showed one of the guests-Margaret Atwood- his writing.
The first question- I think that Canadian lit always needs a champion. But Atwood has been joined by the Canada Reads programme on CBC. the Giller prize and numerous literary festivals.

48avaland
Abr 18, 2008, 4:39pm

Ran across this site today. It has links to many Atwood-related sites.

http://www.poemhunter.com/margaret-atwood/resources/

49avaland
Jun 2, 2008, 4:21pm

Oryx and Crake seems to be the choice for a group read this summer. Discussion will begin August 1st or thereabouts.

50avaland
Jul 27, 2008, 8:23pm

I'll be out of the country most of August, would someone remember to start the discussion of Oryx and Crake the first week of August? I'll post if I can when I'm away, if not, when I return (I'm taking the book with me to reread on one plane or another).

51avaland
Set 9, 2008, 5:28pm

re: the group picture. I came across this on the web, on someone's blog. There was no further information on the artwork except title and author. Clearly artwork inspired by the book, I thought it intriguing enough to post for a while.

52Picola43
Set 11, 2008, 3:43am

I've just discovered this discussion and am bursting to ask whether anybody else has downloaded the ipod versions of Atwood's addresses at the Hay Festival this year and previous years. I found myself (this will sound quite ridiculous, I know) knitting a tea cosy pattern called "Chicken Little" while listening to Atwood reading several pieces from "The Tent". Nearly fell off my chair when she read the story about Chicken Little! There's nothing quite like hearing her lovely Canadian voice reading her own words in that dry, almost laconic, manner. She then answered questions from the audience with her usual wit. I accessed this podcast at but I will point out that I had to pay for each podcast I wanted (and I wanted many). I have also downloaded earlier years' addresses for free (slightly edited) from the website of The Guardian .
I started reading Atwood in 1987 when I bought "The Handmaid's Tale" and am an addict.
Finding this group in the last twenty minutes has alerted me to the Cambridge Companion and the CBC film of "The Robber Bride" and I have to go now and chase them up. Thanks!

53Picola43
Set 11, 2008, 3:47am

Hmmm. Why didn't those websites appear in my post? I'll have another go :
http://www.hayfestival.com/archive/default.aspx
and
http://books.guardian.co.uk/

54avaland
Set 11, 2008, 3:25pm

Nice to meet another addict:-) Welcome. And thanks for the podcast notes!

55Caroline_McElwee
Jun 23, 2010, 9:58am

Lovely photo of Margaret on the home page, must be new, surely I haven't just noticed it!

Not read any Atwood recently, but will try and put a couple on my Summer reading list. I've been meaning to re-read The Handmaiden's Tale for a few years.

56BookNrrrd
Jun 23, 2010, 5:17pm

I haven't read any Atwood for awhile, either. I'm trying to decide whether to read The Year of the Flood--Oryx and Crake was not my favorite of her novels, but I am somewhat curious about reading another perspective on that particular world.

57Caroline_McElwee
Editado: Jun 22, 2011, 7:16am

I haven't read an Atwood for a while, and I need to put that right this year. I keep meaning to re-read A Handmaiden's Tale so maybe I will start by bringing that up the pile as folks have been discussing it in the threads. Add to summer reading pile!

ETA: I did bring a couple of her essay volumes near the top of a pile the other day!

58Bcteagirl
Jun 22, 2011, 12:30pm

Highly recommend The Handmaid's Tale. Just creepy considering she did not include anything that had not been done to women at some point.

59krazy4katz
Editado: Jun 22, 2011, 3:42pm

I loved The Handmaid's Tale! I, too, am in need of reading another Atwood. I am thinking of Oryx and Crake this year. Or Alias Grace. Or both. Not sure.

60benitastrnad
Jun 22, 2011, 6:45pm

My book discussion group, (in real time) decided to do an Atwood book a few months ago. However, we couldn't decide what to read. The group had previously read Oryx and Crake and some members were not that impressed with it so we decided to not read Year of the Flood. In discussing what book to read we were surprised to learn that the majority of people at the discussion had not read Handmaid's Tale so we decided to do so for our July book. This discussion will take place on the heels of reading Farenheit 451 so as I am reading I keep finding parallels in the two works.

61benitastrnad
Jun 23, 2011, 9:44am

I entered in my copy of Handmaid's Tale to my library list and was amazed to discover that over 16,000 LT'ers have this title in their libraries. Why is this book so famous and popular?

62Caroline_McElwee
Jun 23, 2011, 11:46am

>>60 benitastrnad: - interesting benitastrnad. Farenheit 451 is one of my all-time favourite novels.

63avaland
Jun 26, 2011, 6:02pm

>61 benitastrnad: Well, I have 4 copies myself... :-)

The novel was written during the Reagan/Thatcher years when conservatism was on the rise and the religious right was gaining political power (i.e. Falwell's Moral Majority). Atwood criticizes both with her speculative tale set in future New England (Cambridge, Massachusetts near Harvard mostly, but Bangor, Maine is mentioned). It was popular when published with both literary fiction and science fiction readers. It remains relevant to today, imo, and I think that is why it still sells.

It was also one of the first contemporary novels written by a woman that had CliffNotes, so I suspect it was taught in schools or colleges.

64neverlistless
Jun 27, 2011, 3:14pm

"It was also one of the first contemporary novels written by a woman that had CliffNotes, so I suspect it was taught in schools or colleges."

Wow. I'm not even sure what to say to that! I guess CliffNotes are relatively new, but still!

65benitastrnad
Editado: Jun 29, 2011, 5:27pm

I was astounded when I noticed that there were over 16,000 members of Librarything who have Handmaid's Tale listed in their libraries. I figured that the only way a book, any book, would get that many is if it was required reading for college courses. If it has CliffNotes then it is probably required reading, so my guess was not so wrong wrong. Even so, I am still curious as to why this book is so popular? I am about halfway through with it and find it interesting but not astonishing. It doesn't wow me, the way Blind Assassin did. And I did not particularly like Oryx and Crake as I am not that big of a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction. This one has all of the main themes of Oryx and Crake and not as much storytelling as Blind Assassin. I will see when I get done with the book how I liked it.

66avaland
Editado: Jun 29, 2011, 9:19am

>65 benitastrnad: Well, then there's the movie factor... (it's also been a play and an opera)

Well, the difference between HT and O&C is that the latter is a satire, with more than a little tongue-in-cheek. HT is not meant to be humorous. I don't agree that they address the same issues. For HT, she aimed at conservativism and religious fundamentalism, for O&C and the Year of the Flood, I think she aimed much more broadly - from climate change and ecology to the power of corporations.

Handmaid's Tale had a powerful impact on me personally when I first read it. I can't speak for the other 15,996 people:-) I've read it several times since the mid-80s and it doesn't quite pack the punch it did for me then, I think I would list it alongside Blind Assassin or The Robber Bride as favorites nowadays.

67Caroline_McElwee
Jun 29, 2011, 9:53am

I think one of the things to remember is that the impact of a novel when it is first published may be considerably greater than reading it when it may have inspired other novels (and you have read the later novels) and therefore seems less fresh.

I have to remind myself about this when I am disappointed by younger folks thoughts after seeing the film Blade Runner. Almost every movie set in the future since references it, but young folks have seen all these, but not the film that inspired many of the effects and are so much less impressed with the original because of this.

For me as a regular re-reader, I get a lot of pleasure even from books that don't pack the same punch as a first time read, but there are a handful of books that just keep on getting better!

68benitastrnad
Jun 29, 2011, 5:35pm

#66 & 67
You have a point about the time when a book was published. I imagine that when the book came out it had a real impact on many people because it would have been quite controversial as well as ground breaking. Because it had such an impact it is natural that it would then become a reference point for other works. I did not see the movie so don't have that reference point.

I do see many of the same themes in Handmaid's Tale that I saw in the other books and I do think that it is an amazing piece of writing, but for me it isn't as engrossing of a story as was Blind Assassin. In fact, I tried to get my book group to read Blind Assassin instead of Handmaid's because I thought the former was such an excellent story. There were places in Oryx and Crake that were quite funny and I did get the satire, especially about advertising, but think that some other books I have read did what she did in that book, earlier than her and better. (For instance, Feed by M. T. Anderson.) I am about half way through with Handmaid so will know more about this book as I get more read.

69benitastrnad
Jul 6, 2011, 5:48pm

I finished reading Handmaid's Tale today and found it to be a good story, but not a great one. I found myself wondering what all the fuss was about and came to the conclusion that had I read this book when it came out that perhaps I would have been bowled over by it. That didn't happen now. I think you guys were right about it being a book for its time. I think it has valuable discussion points and it is a book that I should have read a long time ago. It is just that the ideas it has in it are no longer novel and shocking. I liked Blind Assassin so much better. I also noticed that the author used several of plots devices in both of these books, and I wonder if she used them in her other books. No doubt that I will keep reading Atwood as I think this author has something to say about our culture and our times.

70avaland
Jul 6, 2011, 10:04pm

I really do need to reread some of her books. So many of them I read during the blur of child-rearing. I have actually reread Surfacing and The Robber Bride since being on LT (well, that 2006 on, but still, I'm not a big re-reader).