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Posts Tagged ‘Handmaid’s Tale’

A lot of people are familiar with the classic dystopian literature that you have to read in school.  These titles would include, The Handmaid’s Tale, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and A Brave New World.  A few more people are getting to know this genre through titles like The Hunger Games or the comic The Walking Dead that’s become a hit TV show.  Here are a some other notable dystopian novels I read this year:

Divergent. In the future, all 16 year old’s go through trials to join one of 5 factions, or they risk becoming factionless.  This is the story of one girl, who was raised in Abnegation (the selfless faction) joining Dauntless (the brave).  I thought the concept was interesting, but there wasn’t much information about why society had made the choice to divide everyone into these factions.

Shatter Me. This story is narrated by a girl in a prison/insane asylum whose touch kills people.  A warlord has her released so he can use her as a weapon.  The most interesting aspect of this book was the way it almost seemed like the girl had written it by hand.  It was very notably in her voice and even included things that were crossed out.

Enclave. After massive wars and plague, the story picks up with a human enclave living in the tunnels below a city.  They trade with other enclaves and avoid “freaks” who seem to be plague-ridden monster humans.  A girl, Deuce, becomes a hunter in this society and learns something disturbing about the nearest enclave.  The book  has definitely made me look at subways differently.

Eve. Eve has spent her entire life in an all-girl’s school after a virus wiped out most the earth’s population.  When she turns 18, she ends up leaving the school in unexpected circumstances and meeting men for the first time.  It’s interesting how many of these books involve coming of age and then discovering terrible secrets.

When She Woke. This book is loosely based on The Scarlet Letter.  It’s about a future when many prisoners are released after short sentences, but their skin is marked with a dye that alerts everyone as to what their crime was.  It’s a cheaper alternative to prisons, and in this future you can get marked red as a murderer for having an abortion.  It’s a depressing read but I think envisioning different outcomes of the abortion debate is really important, whether you are pro-life or pro-choice.  There are scary futures possible on both ends of the spectrum.

The Pledge. In this future, each social class has their own language, and all of the classes share one common language.  Knowing other languages is punishable by death.  This book was unbelievable in many ways, but the whole notion of restricting the languages that a person can speak was fascinating to me.

Finally, here’s a recommendation that’s not from 2011, but that I just picked up and read this year:

The Road. After a horrific nuclear war, a father and his son journey to the sea.  Along the way, you discover what happened to the boy’s mother, encounter the typical post-apocalyptic bandits, and start to wonder about the point of living in a world that’s been destroyed.  This book was compelling and depressing – it’s on Oprah’s booklist, so that should tell you something about the depressing factor.

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