margaret atwood

Friday Reads: Margaret Atwood

On Friday, October 27th in Beverly Hills, PEN Center USA honored Margaret Atwood with the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award. In conversation with novelist Edan Lepucki, Ms. Atwood discussed the screen adaptations of her novels, notably THE HANDMAID’S TALE, but especially ALIAS GRACE. The Netflix Original miniseries about a 19th century murder, “Alias Grace” was adapted by Sarah Polley and premieres tonight Friday, November 3rd. Ms. Atwood read a beautiful excerpt from the novel and you may watch the trailer here. Don’t stop there though… for this Friday Reads edition we offer the following superb books from Margaret Atwood’s distinguished body of work. 

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    Alias Grace by Margaret AtwoodALIAS GRACE: A NOVEL Now a 6-part Netflix original mini-series: in Alias Grace, the bestselling author of The Handmaid’s Tale takes readers into the life of one of the most notorious women of the nineteenth century. It’s 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders. An up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories?   Hag-Seed by Margaret AtwoodHAG-SEED: A NOVEL Now in paperback, William Shakespeare’s The Tempest retold. Felix is at the top of his game as artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he’s staging a “Tempest” like no other. Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda. And also brewing revenge. After twelve years, revenge finally arrives in the shape of a theater course at a nearby prison.   The Handmaid's Tale (Movie Tie-in) by Margaret AtwoodTHE HANDMAID'S TALE: A NOVEL A seminal work of speculative fiction from the Booker Prize-winning author, and Emmy-award winning Hulu series. Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable.   Bluebeard's Egg by Margaret AtwoodBLUEBEARD'S EGG: STORIES By turns humorous and warm, stark and frightening, Bluebeard’s Egg glows with childhood memories, the reality of parents growing old, and the casual cruelty men and women inflict on each other. Here is the familiar outer world of family summers at remote lakes, winters of political activism, and seasons of exotic friends, mundane lives, and unexpected loves. But here too is the inner world of hidden places and all that emerges from them-the intimately personal, the fantastic, the shockingly real…   The Blind Assassin by Margaret AtwoodTHE BLIND ASSASSIN: A NOVEL WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE. In The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood weaves together strands of gothic suspense, romance, and science fiction into one utterly spellbinding narrative. The novel begins with the mysterious death—a possible suicide—of a young woman named Laura Chase in 1945. Decades later, Laura’s sister Iris recounts her memories of their childhood, and of the dramatic deaths that have punctuated their wealthy, eccentric family’s history.   The Heart Goes Last by Margaret AtwoodTHE HEART GOES LAST: A NOVEL Margaret Atwood puts the human heart to the ultimate test in a new novel that brilliantly satirizes the corporate prison complex of the twenty-first century.     The Edible Woman by Margaret AtwoodTHE EDIBLE WOMAN The novel that put the author of The Handmaid’s Tale on the literary map; a groundbreaking work of fiction. Ever since her engagement, the strangest thing has been happening to Marian McAlpin: she can’t eat. First meat. Then eggs, vegetables, cake, pumpkin seeds—everything! Worse yet, while Marian ought to feel consumed with passion, she really just feels … consumed. A brilliant and powerful work, rich in irony and metaphor, The Edible Woman is an unforgettable masterpiece by a true master of contemporary literature.   Oryx and Crake by Margaret AtwoodORYX AND CRAKE Margaret Atwood’s brilliant, page-turning new novel joins her all-time bestselling The Handmaid’s Tale in conjuring a frighteningly convincing future dystopia.     Stone Mattress by Margaret AtwoodStone Mattress: Nine Wicked Tales Nine brilliantly imaginative tales—filled with Atwood’s trademark creativity, intelligence, and humor—that speak to our times with deadly accuracy in tales of acute psychological insight and biting humor.     Angel Catbird Volume 1 (Graphic Novel) by Margaret AtwoodANGEL CATBIRD VOLUME 1 (Graphic Novel; from Dark Horse) Atwood’s first graphic novel, a cat-centric all-ages New York Times bestselling adventure. On a dark night, young genetic engineer Strig Feleedus is accidentally mutated by his own experiment and merges with the DNA of a cat and an owl. What follows is a humorous, action-driven, pulp-inspired superhero adventure—with a lot of cat puns.    There are now 3 in the series .   For our full list of amazing Margaret Atwood titles visit the collection: Atwood  

There’s a Book for That! is brought to you by Penguin Random House’s Sales department. Please follow our Tumblr by clicking here—and share this link with your accounts: theresabookforthat.tumblr.com. Thank you! Did you see something on the news or read about something on your commute? Perhaps you noticed something trending on Twitter? Did you think: “There’s a book for that!”? Then please, send it our way at theresabookforthat@penguinrandomhouse.com  

There’s a Book for That: PEN Literary Awards

PEN Center USA, The West Coast center of PEN International, which is the world’s oldest international literary and human rights organization, held their 27th annual Literary Awards last Friday, October 27 in Beverly Hills, California. Hosted by Nick Offerman, the ceremony honored Margaret Atwood with a Lifetime Achievement Award and winners in 8 categories were announced. Congratulations to all winners and finalists!

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WINNERS PEN Award for Creative Nonfiction: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul KalanithiWHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR by Paul Kalanithi, Abraham Verghese (Random House) Also a finalist for the Pulitzer, this deeply humane memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal diagnosis attempts to answer the questions: given that all organisms die, what makes a meaningful life? And, as a doctor, what does it mean to hold mortal—and moral—responsibility for another person’s identity? For readers of Atul Gawande and Siddhartha Mukherjee.   PEN Award for Research Nonfiction: The Perfect Horse by Elizabeth LettsTHE PERFECT HORSE: THE DARING U.S. MISSION TO RESCUE THE PRICELESS STALLIONS KIDNAPPED BY THE NAZIS by Elizabeth Letts (Ballantine) The daring behind-Nazi-lines rescue of priceless pedigree horses by American soldiers in the closing days of World War Two—a riveting equine adventure story from the author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion.   PEN Award for Young Adult Fiction: Outrun the Moon by Stacey LeeOUTRUN THE MOON by Stacey Lee (Speak) Critically acclaimed author Stacey Lee continues to weave adventure and romance in a novel set during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake: A spot at St. Clare’s School is off limits for all but the wealthiest white girls. However, fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong knows that education is the best way out of Chinatown’s squalor.   FINALISTS The Association of Small Bombs by Karan MahajanTHE ASSOCIATION OF SMALL BOMBS: A NOVEL by Karan Mahajan (Viking) Also a finalist for the National Book Award, The Association of Small Bombs is an expansive and deeply humane novel that is at once groundbreaking in its empathy, dazzling in its acuity, and ambitious in scope.   Cockroaches by Scholastique MukasongaCOCKROACHES by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated by Jordan Stump (Archipelago) Scholastique Mukasonga’s Cockroaches is the story of growing up a Tutsi in Hutu-dominated Rwanda—the story of a happy child, a loving family, all wiped out in the genocide of 1994. A vivid, bittersweet depiction of family life and bond in a time of immense hardship, it is also a story of incredible endurance, and the duty to remember that loss and those lost while somehow carrying on.   For more on these titles visit the collection: PEN Awards 2017 Stay tuned for this week’s Friday Reads wherein we will honor the work of Margaret Atwood.  

There’s a Book for That! is brought to you by Penguin Random House’s Sales department. Please follow our Tumblr by clicking here—and share this link with your accounts: theresabookforthat.tumblr.com. Thank you! Did you see something on the news or read about something on your commute? Perhaps you noticed something trending on Twitter? Did you think: “There’s a book for that!”? Then please, send it our way at theresabookforthat@penguinrandomhouse.com

Read Our Books Starring in New Fall TV, Streaming Series and Films

This year’s fall television and streaming season is upon us, with a number of new shows, series and films based on books published by Penguin Random House imprints, as well as two new books of ours based on the programming itself. The following viewers and readers guide shines the spotlight on this diverse selection:

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“THE VIETNAM WAR” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWFzaUlZz-k&feature=youtu.be Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s ten-part, 18-hour PBS-TV documentary series, THE VIETNAM WAR, tells the epic story of one of the most consequential, divisive, and controversial events in American history as it has never before been fully presented on film. THE VIETNAM WAR: An Intimate History by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns is the expansive, richly illustrated Knopf book based on the series. Ten years in the making, the series includes rarely seen and digitally re-mastered archival footage from sources around the globe, photographs taken by some of the most celebrated photojournalists of the 20th Century, historic television broadcasts, evocative home movies, and secret audio recordings from inside the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations. The book, which serves as a companion to the series, plunges us into the chaos and intensity of combat, even as it explains the rationale that got us into Vietnam and kept us there for so many years. Rather than taking sides, the book and series seek to understand why the war happened the way it did, and to clarify its complicated legacy. Airing throughout September on PBS television stations, the series is also streaming on PBS apps.   “OUTLANDER” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1YrLG2ddQs&feature=youtu.be The third season of the highly-rated Starz adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s multi-million-bestselling Outlander series focuses primarily on the third book in the series, VOYAGER (Dell), continuing the story of Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser. Two decades before, Claire had traveled back in time and into the arms of Jamie, a gallant eighteenth-century Scot. Then she returned to her own century to bear his child, believing him dead in the tragic battle of Culloden. Yet his memory has never lessened its hold on her. When Claire discovers that Jamie has survived, she is torn between returning to him and staying with their daughter in her own era. The third season premiered on Starz September 10, with new episodes airing weekly into the fall.   “OUR SOULS AT NIGHT” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lci71HjGvaM&feature=youtu.be The Netflix adaptation of Ken Haruf’s novel, OUR SOULS AT NIGHT (Knopf/Vintage), reunites Oscar-winners Robert Redford and Jane Fonda for the fourth time. Addie (Fonda) and Louis (Redford), long-widowed, empty nesters, come to know each other better and discover a second chance at love in the small community of Holt, Colorado. The film, which has received positive reviews, is also enjoying a concurrent brief run in select theaters. Premieres on Netflix, September 29   “LORE” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPnuT2TLvLQ&feature=youtu.be Aaron Mahnke’s THE WORLD OF LORE: Monstrous Creatures (Del Rey) is the basis for a new Amazon horror anthology. Spread across six episodes, the series explores the disturbing history behind a number of horror-tinged myths. In his book, Mahnke, the host of the hit podcast Lore, serves as a guide on a fascinating journey through the history of terrifying creatures. In a world of “emotional vampires” and “zombie malls,” the monsters of folklore have become both a part of our language and a part of our collective psyche. Of note, Mahnke invites readers to the desolate Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where the notorious winged, red-eyed Jersey Devil dwells. Premieres on Amazon Prime, October 13   “JOAN DIDION: The Center Will Not Hold” joandidion Across more than fifty years of essays, novels, and criticism, Joan Didion has chronicled the changing tides of American culture and politics – often in deeply personal ways. This upcoming documentary, JOAN DIDION: The Center Will Not Hold, directed by Didion’s nephew Griffin Dunne, is primarily based on SOUTH AND WEST: From a Notebook (Knopf), in which Didion presents excerpts from two notebooks. In one, she traces a road trip she took with her late husband, John Gregory Dunne, in June 1970, through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. She interviews prominent local figures, describes motels, diners, a deserted reptile farm, a visit with Walker Percy, a ladies' brunch at the Mississippi Broadcasters' Convention. A different notebook, the "California Notes," began as an assignment from Rolling Stone on the Patty Hearst trial of 1976. Though Didion never wrote the piece, watching the trial and being in San Francisco triggered thoughts about the city, its social hierarchy, the Hearsts, and her own upbringing in Sacramento. Dunne’s documentary, which debuts next month as part of the New York Film Festival, intersperses archival footage alongside his interviews with his Aunt Joan, delving into her extraordinary body of work and its impact on our cultural landscape. Of note: footage of Didion partying with Janis Joplin in a house full of L.A. rockers in the ‘60s; hanging out in a recording studio with Jim Morrison of The Doors; and cooking dinner for one of Charles Manson’s followers for a magazine story. Debuts at The New York Film Festival, with screenings on October 11, 12 and 14; and then premieres on Netflix, October 27   “ALIAS GRACE” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-fofQ9VpPQ&feature=youtu.be On the heels of the success of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwoods novel of the same name and winner of six Emmy Awards, our author’s work is a hot property in Hollywood. Expectations are high for Alias Grace, an adaptation Atwood’s ALIAS GRACE: A Novel (Anchor). In the book, it is 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders. An up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she cannot remember. What will he find in attempting to unlock her memories? Produced by Netflix and Canada’s CBC, the six-part series will tell the story of Marks and delves deeply into this twisty tale. Premieres on Netflix, November 3   “THE LONG ROAD HOME” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNP5PaKXlN8&feature=youtu.be Based on ABC News reporter and author Martha Raddatz’s searing nonfiction book, THE LONG ROAD HOME: A Story of War and Family (Berkley), this National Geographic series recounts, across eight episodes, the harrowing story of The First Cavalry Division, which suffered a surprise attack on the streets of Sadr City, a district of Baghdad, on April 4, 2004. The series, like the book, will chronicle the events of the attack through the eyes of the soldiers who lived it. Premieres on the National Geographic Channel, November 7   “THE CROWN” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k15O_eBfUuk&feature=youtu.be Season two of Netflix’s critically acclaimed and Emmy Award-winning series, The Crown, is expected to wade into darker territory. There will be more emphasis on the complexities of Elizabeth’s (Claire Foy) marriage to Prince Philip (Matt Smith) while also delving into Philip’s backstory – one that is both extraordinary and tragic. THE CROWN: The Official Companion, Volume 1: Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, and the Making of a Young Queen (1947-1955) (Crown Archetype) was written by the show’s historical consultant and royal biographer, Robert Lacey. The book is filled with beautifully reproduced archival photos and show stills, adding expert and in-depth detail to the events of the series, painting an intimate portrait of life inside Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street. A wonderful holiday gift for THE CROWN fan in your life. Premieres on Netflix, December 8

TV Adaptations of THE HANDMAID’S TALE and BIG LITTLE LIES Win Multiple Major Emmy Awards

Hit television series based on Margaret Atwood’s THE HANDMAID’S TALE (Anchor) and Liane Moriarty’s BIG LITTLE LIES (Berkley) won a combined 11 awards at the 69th annual Emmy Awards Sunday night, September 17, in Los Angeles.  

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[caption id="attachment_7796" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo Credit: Inwood/AP[/caption] The Handmaid’s Tale, airing on Hulu, won in six categories:  Outstanding Drama Series; Lead Actress, Drama Series (Elisabeth Moss); Supporting Actress, Drama Series (Ann Dowd); Guest Actress, Drama Series (Alexis Bledel); Directing for a Drama Series (Reed Morano); and Writing for Drama Series (Bruce Miller).   Several acceptance speeches praised and expressed gratitude to Ms. Atwood. Ms. Moss said, “”Thank you for what you did in 1985 and thank you for what you continue to do.”  Ms. Atwood received a standing ovation as she walked onto the stage when The Handmaid’s Tale  won Outstanding Drama Series. Big Little Lies, airing on HBO, won in five categories: Outstanding Limited Series; Lead Actress, Limited Series or Movie (Nicole Kidman); Supporting Actress, Limited Series or Movie (Laura Dern), Supporting Actor, Limited Series or Movie (Alexander Skarsgard); and Directing for a Limited Series (Jean-Marc Vallée).  BIG LITTLE LIES author Liane Moriarty was thanked a number of times, including by Nicole Kidman, who thanked Ms. Moriarty for writing a book “that presented strong, multi-dimensional women.” Also, Alec Baldwin, author of the upcoming Penguin Press book, YOU CAN’T SPELL AMERICA WITHOUT ME, won the Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Comedy (Saturday Night Live).  W. Kamau Bell, author of the Dutton title, THE AWKWARD THOUGHTS OF W. KAMAU BELL, won the Emmy for Unstructured Reality Program (United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell).  And  Aziz Ansari, Penguin Press author of MODERN ROMANCE, won the Emmy for Writing for a Comedy Series (Master of None).