NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Sunday, December 6, 2009


by Margaret Atwood

"As the story opens, Snowman is sleeping in a tree, wearing a dirty old bedsheet, mourning the loss of his beautiful and beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. In a world in which science-based corporations have recently taken mankind on an uncontrolled genetic-engineering ride, he now searches for supplies in a wasteland. How did everything fall apart so quickly?" (From the CD container.)

Now that I have read both books I will say I preferred The Year of the Flood, but Oryx and Crake was still really good. My preference lies in that I enjoyed the wider variety of characters presented in The Year of the Flood, but Oryx and Crake filled in a lot of questions raised from reading Flood first. I wrote previously that one does not need to read the books in order and I still stand by that statement, but if you have the opportunity I would recommend beginning with Oryx and Crake.

These two and The Handmaid's Tale are the only books by Margaret Atwood I have read, but I am now more convinced than ever that I need to explore her work further. The Handmaid's Tale would make My Life's Top 10 Books if I were to write that list today, and Oryx and Flood have left me even more curious about her other books. One of the things I found so striking in her writing in these two was her ability to write such beautiful formal prose, then suddenly jar me with modern slang or odd futuristic terminology and make it work. I'm looking forward to exploring the rest of her bibliography. Any suggestions regarding where to go from here?


Mel u said...

I read her retelling of the story of Odysseus from the point of view of Penelope, The Penelopiad. It is a super creative brilliant book and a lot of fun. I have so far only read that and A HandMaid's Tale-which I also loved-I want to read Oryx and Crake next then The Flood-I really enjoyed your post

Tasha said...

I checked out a book of her short stories - Wilderness Tips - from the library a few weeks ago, but I did not get around to reading it before it was due. I liked the title.

Lezlie said...

Mel ~ Thanks! Now that you mention it, I *did* read The Penelopiad, but it didn't do much for me. However, I had not yet read The Odyssey. Now that I have, I should revisit that one!

Charley ~ A book of her short stories would be fun to try. I'll keep an eye out for that one. Thanks!


bermudaonion said...

I have The Year of the Flood and my son has told me that I should read Oryx and Crake first, so I haven't read it yet. Now that you've said it, too, I'll have to look for Oryx and Crake.

Lezlie said...

Bermudaonion ~ Yeah, if you get to pick, definitely read Oryx and Crake first. It's not a necessity, but it think Year of the Flood would have been even more meaningful had I known the background story.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Glad u thought this was good. I do want to read this and The Year of the Flood at some point. Plan to read several Atwood in 2010.

Ladytink_534 said...

Sorry I haven't read anything by her before. This does sound neat though!

Lezlie said...

Diane ~ I'm speaking from limited experience, but I think Atwood is very creative in getting deep messages across without preaching. I hope you enjoy these!

Ladytink ~ I hope you have a chance to give her work a try. The Handmaid's Tale is always the one I recommend.


Thomas Hogglestock said...

I think I have read all of Atwood's novels and my favorite is The Robber Bride. It is the story of three women who discover that Zenia, a woman they once thought dead, is still alive. I think all of the characters in this book are fascinating. I really need to re-read it.

Mel u said...

I bought Cat's Eye Yesterday and hope to have it read soon-

Andi said...

I have to be in the mood for Atwood's work, but when I am--wow! The Robber Bride remains an all-time favorite. Not to mention The Handmaid's Tale.

Lezlie said...

Thomas ~ I've heard a lot of good things about that one and Cat's Eye. Thanks for the recommendation!

Mel ~ I can't wait to see what you think of it!

Andi ~ I can see where one would have to be in the mood for her books. That's how I am with Anne Rice. That's multiple recommendations for The Robber Bride. Hmmmm . . . Better move that one up on the mental TBR.


Lightheaded said...

My first Atwood book was Cat's Eye and it's a good book, really except that I followed it up with The Handmaid's Tale which was even better (although Cat's Eye is still my sentimental favorite). The Robber Bride is also good. Same with Alias Grace although that one is based on a true crime.

I haven't read The Year of the Flood. I've read and loved Oryx and Crake that's why I'm so looking forward to this. Still waiting for a paperback version though.

Lezlie said...

Lightheaded ~ I've often wondered if I'd be sorry that the first Atwood I ever read was The Handmaid's Tale, if the others wouldn't be able to measure up. It's still my favorite, but I've barely begun to read her bibliography. Lots to go! And Alias Grace is also high up on the mental list. Thanks for the recommendations!


Teddy Rose said...

Yuck, you got spammmed up above.

The thing you may not know about Atwood since you only read 3 of her books is that she writes in many different genres, not just distopian.

I have not read all of her books but a personal favorite of mine is Alias Grace. It is historical fiction.

Poppy Q said...

I liked Alias Grace, The Robber Bride and Cats Eye. I think no matter what she writes about, she is such a lyrical writer with great flow that you get absorbed into the story. The characters never seem unbelievable and likeable.

The Blind Assasin won a few awards, but I never really enjoyed it as much as many of the critics.

Good luck exploring.

Julie Q

Lezlie said...

Teddy Rose ~ That spamming has been happening every now and then. Not too bad yet. I turned off the comments on the one post that was getting it every day.

It is funny that the three I've read happened to be the dystopian ones. I want to read Alias Grace as part of a group of books including In Cold Blood and a couple of others, because there was a chapter in The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative that talked about different styles of true crime in fiction and I want to compare them. It should be fun!

Poppy Q ~ Thank you for the recommendations! I have a suspicion she will grow quickly to be one of my favorites. :-)