A Reader's Guide to Unfamiliar Literature
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A Good Place To Start

The Handmaid's Tale 8
Cat's Eye 3
Alias Grace 2
The Robber Bride 1
Oryx and Crake 1

A Bad Place To Start

The Robber Bride 2
The Penelopiad 2
The Handmaid's Tale 2
Surfacing 2
Cat's Eye 1
The Blind Assassin 1
The Edible Woman 1


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Categorization is odious. There is tremendous overlap among genres. These pigeonholes are offered only as a convenience.

Margaret Atwood

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Please consider recommending where to begin reading this author, or where not to. A few words about your experiences reading this author and why you make the recommendations you do will be helpful to other users. If you are the author or have studied this author extensively, please say so.

elisek January 31st, 2006 08:37 PM PST

The Handmaid's Tale is an excellent fast paced read. I have found some of her other books to be slow moving and less compelling.

swmbo February 6th, 2006 03:22 PM PST

I originally started with The Handmaid's Tale and I confess, it turned me off of Atwood for years. Recently I tried, on the recommendation of a friend, Oryx and Crake - another dystopian novel and one which worked much better for me.

jaime February 7th, 2006 09:54 AM PST

"Handsmaid's Tale" is rather dated, when you read it now. If you haven't read Atwood before, I would recommend starting with "Cat's Eye," "The Blind Assassin" or "Alias Grace."

Marian November 10th, 2006 10:02 PM PST

I feel a lot like the other people who've posted comments. I started with SURFACING, and it turned me off. But later I read and really liked HANDMAID and ROBBER BRIDE. Thing is, her books are so different from each other, liking or hating one of them does NOT predict how you'll feel about the others.

nickyturnill May 19th, 2007 07:39 AM PST

I have read MANY of Atwoods books which tend to focus on psychological relationships between people.

My Favourite is Oryx and Crake but this is quite different from her usual style.

Personally I felt that the Handmaids tale is over-rated, although the premise is clever I wouldn't start here.

I'd recommend starting with either Cat's Eye or Alias Grace as these are more typical of her style.

The Pennelopiad recently in 2006 is also a really interesting read but not the one to start with.

bookwyrm June 26th, 2008 11:30 PM PST

I recommend The Robber Bride, one of the most engrossing books that I've ever read. I couldn't wait to see what deviltry the main character would perform next. I think the villainess in this book is the BEST!


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