Recovery Reading with Margaret Atwood

Well, it is day three post surgery and my face hurts.  I can’t say anything about it though, as in my home uttering the phrase, “My face hurts,” would undoubtedly elicit a response akin to, “Well I’d think so, it is killing me!”

Facial swelling and new areas of soreness inside my left eye and on the roof of my mouth have developed, and I live for when I can take my next dose of pain medication, even though it makes me a bit nauseous.  This is not the best experience of my life, so today I’ve been distracting myself by choosing a book to read.  This is not just any book or any choice.  This will be the first book I will have purchased to read as an ebook on my Literati that Zilla got me for my birthday. 

Reading is such a powerful behavior, it is one of those acts from the litany of the sacred ordinary of life.  To be able to read is to connect with the greatest minds of humanity and to have the right to read anything ever written is a treasure.  I do not often stop to think about such things but there was just something about reading a non-paper and  ink book that seemed momentous.  And yes, I know that others have been reading this way for years… but I have not.  Just call me a sentimental book nerd.

A couple weeks ago I had to wrestle with what the first things I would read on my Literati would be.  I chose from the free pre-loads.  The Constitution of the United States was my choice for first read.  Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass was my choice to read as second item.    Then I transferred a bunch of social justice literature that I’d previously stored as pdfs to read.

But now, after surgery,  I wanted something to distract me from the not so comfortable world I’m living in at the moment but also be a fitting introduction into this new era.  I thought of reading Ursula LeGuin’s new work, The Wild Girls, but I couldn’t find it in an electronic format.  I then thought about William Gibson’s latest work but I have his second  to last novel in paperback and have not finished it, so that precludes buying the later one until I’ve read the first. Then I thought…. Atwood.  Margaret Atwood!  I have She has written and published a follow-up set in the same universe as Oryx and Crake titled The Year of the Flood.   That is the one.  No one writes post-modern cautionary environmental fables interwoven with fear informed fundamentalism and both human frailty and strength emerging out of chaos as profoundly as does Atwood.  I can’t wait to start this book.  It is downloaded and I’m set to go. 

If it is even one third as good as The Handmaid’s Tale – well then she will have another classic on her hands.  If you have not read The Handmaid’s Tale, or seen the move, you need to.  Nothing paints a clearer picture of where fundamentalism, militarism, and environmental degradation could lead.

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