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If you like The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

If you like The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

This readalike is in response to a customer's book-match request. If you would like personalized reading recommendations, fill out the book-match form and a librarian will email suggested titles to you. Available for adults, teens, and kids. You can browse the book matches here.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.” ― Offred, The Handmaid's Tale

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules. (catalog summary)

The Handmaid's Tale is an upcoming American television series based on the book. It has been ordered by streaming service Hulu with a straight-to-series order, with the production beginning in late 2016. Atwood will serve as consulting producer.¹ Elisabeth Moss will star in the series, along with Joseph Fiennes, Alexis Bledel, and Madeline Brewer. It will premiere on April 26, 2017. There has been two movies based on Atwood's book: 1990's The Handmaid's Tale, and 2016's The Handmaiden. See the first trailer below book suggestions.


If you enjoyed the dystopian themes of this novel and would be interested in similar works, here are some other titles you may enjoy:
 

1984
1984
by George Orwell
Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell's chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell's narrative is more timely that ever. 1984 presents a "negative utopia," that is at once a startling and haunting vision of the world—so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of entire generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions--a legacy that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time. (catalog summary)

 

 


Brave New WorldBrave New World by Aldous Huxley
Hundreds of years in the future, the World Controllers have created an ideal civilization. Its members, shaped by genetic engineering and behavioral conditioning, are productive and content in roles they have been assigned at conception. Government-sanctioned drugs and recreational sex ensure that everyone is a happy, unquestioning consumer; messy emotions have been anesthetized and private attachments are considered obscene. Only Bernard Marx is discontented, developing an unnatural desire for solitude and a distaste for compulsory promiscuity. When he brings back a young man from one of the few remaining Savage Reservations, where the old unenlightened ways still continue, he unleashes a dramatic clash of cultures that will force him to consider whether freedom, dignity, and individuality are worth suffering for. (catalog summary)

 


A Canticle for Leibowitz
A Canticle for Leibowitz
by Walter M. Miller

In a nightmarish ruined world slowly awakening to the light after sleeping in darkness, the infant rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by cloistered monks dedicated to the study and preservation of the relics and writings of the blessed Saint Isaac Leibowitz. From here the story spans centuries of ignorance, violence, and barbarism, viewing through a sharp, satirical eye the relentless progression of a human race damned by its inherent humanness to recelebrate its grand foibles and repeat its grievous mistakes. (catalog summary) 
 

 


The Children of Men
The Children of Men
by P.D. James 

The human race has become infertile, and the last generation to be born is now adult. Civilization itself is crumbling as suicide and despair become commonplace. Oxford historian Theodore Faron, apathetic toward a future without a future, spends most of his time reminiscing. Then he is approached by Julian, a bright, attractive woman who wants him to help get her an audience with his cousin, the powerful Warden of England. She and her band of unlikely revolutionaries may just awaken his desire to live . . . and they may also hold the key to survival for the human race. In 2006, a movie was made starring Clive Owen and Julianne Moore. (catalog summary)

 


A Clockwork Orange



A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
After his youthful adventures of raping and pillaging, Alex finds himself in prison. When he volunteers for an experiment, his sentence is commuted to two weeks. The experiment leaves him physically incapable of doing wrong and releases him back into the world. However, when he repeatedly runs into people he has wronged in the past, his real suffering begins. Famed and controversal film director Stanley Kubrick created his own version of Burgess' masterpiece in 1971, starring Malcom McDowell as Alex. (catalog summary)

 


Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451
by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which book paper burns. Fahrenheit 451 is a novel set in the (perhaps near) future when "firemen" burn books forbidden by a totalitarian "brave new world" regime. The hero, according to Mr. Bradbury, is "a book burner who suddenly discovers that books are flesh-and-blood ideas and cry out silently when put to the torch." Today, when libraries and schools in this country and all over the world are still "burning" certain books, Fahrenheit 451 remains a brilliantly readable and suspenseful work of even greater impact and timeliness. In 1966, a movie was made starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie. (catalog summary)

 


The Fireman: A Novel
The Fireman: A Novel
by Joe Hill

The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton: a highly contagious spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies before causing them to burst into flames. There is no antidote. Harper Grayson was a nurse who treated hundreds of infected patients; now the telltale gold-flecked marks are on her skin. But Harper wants to live at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. Her husband Jakob becomes unhinged and abandons her. And a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter's jacket straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted—and as a weapon to avenge the wronged. (catalog summary)

 


The Dispossessed
The Dispossessed
by Ursula K. Le Guin
A bleak moon settled by utopian anarchists, Anarres has long been isolated from other worlds, including its mother planet, Urras—a civilization of warring nations, great poverty, and immense wealth. Now Shevek, a brilliant physicist, is determined to reunite the two planets, which have been divided by centuries of distrust. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have kept them apart. To visit Urras—to learn, to teach, to share—will require great sacrifice and risks, which Shevek willingly accepts. But the ambitious scientist's gift is soon seen as a threat, and in the profound conflict that ensues, he must reexamine his beliefs even as he ignites the fires of change. (catalog summary)


 


Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth

In a future Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all. In 2014, a movie was made starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James. (catalog summary)

 

 


Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. DickDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. . . They even built humans. Emigrees to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn't want to be identified, they just blended in. Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.
In 1982, Ridley Scott made a movie called Blade Runner, which is based off of Dick's science fiction masterpiece, starring Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard. In 2016, it was announced a sequel to the popular Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049, due to be released October 6, 2017. Harrison Ford reprises his role, and Ryan Gosling has been added as another main character.(catalog summary)

 


Goodhouse by Peyton MarshallGoodhouse
Incarceration in the Goodhouse system is tough enough, but protagonist James is in a worse spot in Marshall's debut novel. Goodhouse facilities are prison/reeducation camps for boys identified as having a genetic tendency toward violent behavior. But are they born criminals, or does the Goodhouse program make them violent? Life there is hard, with class leaders who keep positions through violence, experimental drug regimes, and roommates who report the tiniest infraction rather than risk the chance that they will be one of the few allowed to return to normal society. Now a religious extremist group, the Zeros, wants something even worse for the Goodhouse boys: their fiery eradication. James escaped an Iowa fire bombing, only to find himself moved to a tougher California Goodhouse. An encounter with a strange, brilliant girl with a heart problem on the one day he is allowed to leave campus sends him down a rabbit hole of twisting loyalties, near escapes, and chilling dangers. (catalog summary)
 


The Hunger Games


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place. In 2012, a movie was released starring Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. (catalog summary)


 

 


Infomocracy



Infomocracy by Malka Older
It's been twenty years and two election cycles since Information, a powerful search engine monopoly, pioneered the switch from warring nation-states to global micro-democracy. The corporate coalition party Heritage has won the last two elections. With another election on the horizon, the Supermajority is in tight contention, and everything's on the line. (catalog summary)


 


The Lord of the Flies
Lord of the Flies
by William Golding

William Golding's compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first it seems as though it is all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious and life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic and death. As ordinary standards of behaviour collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket and homework and adventure stories—and another world is revealed beneath, primitive and terrible. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a true classic. In 1963, a movie version was made, and again in 1990. (catalog summary)

 


Neromancer
Neuromancer
by William Gibson

In an unknown dystopia, Henry Dorsett Case was the sharpest data-thief in the Matrix, until an ex-employer crippled his nervous system. Now a new employer has recruited him for a last-chance run against an unthinkably powerful artificial intelligence. With a mirror-eyed girl street-samurai riding shotgun, he's ready for the silicon-quick, bleakly prophetic adventure that upped the ante on an entire genre of fiction. Gibson's cyberpunk masterpiece influenced the movie The Matrix in 1999, starring Keanu Reeves. (catalog summary)


 


Parable of the Sower


Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler
In 2025 California, an eighteen-year-old African American woman, suffering from a hereditary trait that causes her to feel others' pain as well as her own, flees northward from her small community and its desperate savages. (catalog summary)



 


Red RisingRed Rising by Pierce Brown
Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children. But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow and Reds like him, are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class. Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity's overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society's ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies . . . even if it means he has to become one of them to do so. (catalog summary)
 


The Road: A Novel

The Road
by Cormac McCarthy

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food—and each other. In 2010, a movie starring Viggo Mortensen was released. (catalog summary)

 


Smoke: A Novel by Dan VyletaSmoke: A Novel
In an alternate England, where people who are wicked in thought or deed are marked by the Smoke that pours from their bodies, Thomas, Charlie, and Livia notice that some people appear to be able to lie without triggering Smoke. As they dig deeper, they discover teachers who have mysterious ties to warring political factions, a sumptuous estate which hides attic rooms and laboratories, revolutionaries who are fighting against a secret police force. They begin to suspect that everything they have been taught about Smoke is a lie; but if that is a lie, what else about their world is lies? What is their place in the struggle between faith and reason, between good and evil? And who can they trust? (catalog summary)


 


The Stand

The Stand
by Stephen King

After a virus kills most of the people in the world, a handful of survivors choose sides—a world of good led by 108-year-old Mother Abigail—or evil led by a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man. King's epic was made into a TV miniseries in 1994, starring Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald. (catalog summary)


 

 


Station Eleven: A NovelStation Eleven: A Novel by Emily St. John Mandel
Kirsten Raymonde will never forget the night Arthur Leander, the famous Hollywood actor, had a heart attack on stage during a production of King Lear. That was the night when a devastating flu pandemic arrived in the city, and within weeks, civilization as we know it came to an end. Twenty years later, Kirsten moves between the settlements of the altered world with a small troupe of actors and musicians. They call themselves The Traveling Symphony, and they have dedicated themselves to keeping the remnants of art and humanity alive. But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who will threaten the tiny band's existence. And as the story takes off, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, the strange twist of fate that connects them all will be revealed. (catalog summary)

 


The Unit



The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist
In the Society, men and women past middle age who are single, childless, and without jobs in progressive industries are considered outsiders and are sequestered. They are kept healthy and are expected to gradually donate their organs to the "necessary" ones. But suppose two people who live in the Unit should fall in love? (catalog summary)