Like The Handmaid’s Tale? Check these out!

Do you know what the internet is missing? More posts like this /end sarcasm.

Anyway, the TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale is on at the moment and so everyone has done a similar post, but there are always more books to recommend am I right?

So, here are a collection of books I think you might like if you’re enjoying the Handmaid’s Tale.

The obvious one to go with is 1984, so instead of including it on this list, I’ll do some honourable mentions first, so you know, if you haven’t read 1984, then you totally should especially if you are a fan of dystopia. Other honourable mentions would go to Fahrenheit 451, the Hunger Games trilogy, the Divergent trilogy and the Flawed series, which yes, are all YA books, but show a society that are strictly governed. I’d also mention Children of Men, you know, cos the whole no kids being born thing. Anyway, on to the real list.

I’m going to start off with The Giver by Lois Lowry, it’s the first in a series, but I think the book stands well enough on its own. Like the Handmaid’s Tale, we have a very strictly regimented society in which everyone is given a job to do when they reach a certain age. For example, again like in the Handmaid’s Tale, certain people are picked out for giving birth, others are picked out to look after babies which are then assigned to family units. The story follows Jonah who is given the job of keeping all the memories of the world before and with the knowledge he acquires, he tries to escape the society in search of something better.

Second up, The Power by Naomi Alderman, which I only read recently but bloody hell, that was good!
The Power is a novel based on research notes (kind of like The Handmaid’s Tale is a bunch of people analysing Offred’s account of what happened to her.) of a phenomenom that happens to only women and the evidence of it dating back to biblical times. The women in this novel all have what appears to be an extra organ near their collar bone that allows them to shoot electrical charges at will and follows the stories of four people living through more trying times where war is breaking out and women are becoming the more dominant sex. It’s a very interesting novel and raises a lot of questions about what the world would be like if the roles in things like rape culture were reversed.

Never Let me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, now I wouldn’t normally say this, but I think watching the film immediately after reading the book is highly recommended, I certainly thought the two complimented each other well. This is kind of a deviation because while society as a whole largely appears to be the same as… Well, normal life, there are moments in this where you get the feeling something odd is happening and then when you realise, the subtly makes it all the more haunting.

Next, here’s a sci fi dystopia, Philip K Dick’s Do androids dream of electric sheep? Yes. It is the book that inspired Blade Runner, so I guess you could just watch that because Harrison Ford. Or the new one because Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, but whatever. Like all Philip K Dick’s books, this has a lot of government conspiracy related stuff going on amongst the awfulness of general life. This is the story of a world ruined by nuclear war, it follows Rick Deckard who has to find and take out some androids to earn enough money to be able to have a pet because pets are a status symbol due to mass extinctions following the whole nuclear thing. It also features the whole Turing Test thing which to nerds like me is endlessly fascinating.

Finally, Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neil, which if you’ve not read the Handmaid’s Tale would be a great book to read either immediately before or immediately afterwards. I would describe it as being the YA version, but perhaps even creepier because these are all children that are being groomed into the ‘perfect’ female to then either be selected by rich men or be cast out. Also, while it isn’t technically the same genre, you should also totally read Louise O’Neil’s other work because sweet jesus, she is good.

So there you have it, some books to read if you’re enjoying The Handmaid’s Tale.



September round up

Ahh, September, the month in which my existential crisis increases ten fold because I am very neurotic and now am closer to thirty than I am to twenty. I am not a youth any more. wtf. Anyway, remember that I was attempting to achieve gingerness? Well, September has seen me get closer to this goal. This month featured bantz, wii tournaments, Yorkshire pudding failures, frozen churros, birthday celebrations, the first theatre trip of 2016 and fun times with my favourite munchkins. The oldest munchkin just started school. I can’t even.

What I read this month:

27766357Moth Girls – Anne Cassidy
What to even say. On the one hand, I raced through this, on the other it was quite simplistically written for something with such a creepy subject and because I’m not good with like kidnapping and murder as a plot line it did freak me out a bit! I was kind of disappointed with the ending, there was closure, but I wanted more and I felt like Tina was kind of robbed by having one chapter where the others got way more.

22913648Only Ever Yours – Louise O’Neill
Is Louise O’Neill the feminist author I have longed for? You know, I think she might be. If you’ve read A Handmaid’s Tale, this won’t be anything new for you, its essentially the same story, young women chosen by men to either be wives/companions or handmaids/concubines, only this features children rather than grown women, children being groomed into the most perfect they can be so that they can be picked by eligible men. Reading this made me think that this is life before the events of A Handmaid’s Tale. If I had a copy of Handmaid’s Tale, I’d have read it immediately after reading this, I think it would have been interesting to have the two as companion novels. Not exactly pleasant reading, but brilliant nontheless.

dangerousDangerous Boys – Abigail Haas
I read Dangerous Girls a while ago and dear God, it was incredible. One of those books that really stay with you, you know? If you’ve never read it, I recommend that you do so immediately. This wasn’t anywhere near the same standard,which was so disappointing. It didn’t have anywhere near the same thrill that Dangerous Girls did, I didn’t find myself desperately tearing through the pages trying to get to the bottom of the story and I do kind of find love triangles a bit… meh, essentially, this book was a teenage love triangle trying to be Dangerous Girls. It was entertaining enough and I think had I not loved Dangerous Girls so much I might have liked it a bit more… But… Yeah.

20797806The Apple Tart of Hope – Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
I bloody love apple tart and it is September, the season of apples, so… yeah, I might have picked up this book based on the fact that I really like apple tart. Or pie if you happen to be into pastry. Which I am. Anyway. Though I enjoyed this I did have a lot of questions. This is the story of next door neighbours, Meg and Oscar, Oscar likes to bake apple tarts and is a genuine ray of sunshine, like he saves a man he thought was considering suicide by baking him a pie. Anyway, Meg moves to New Zealand for six months during which time Oscar makes friends with the girl renting Meg’s house who is a total bitch and then Oscar goes missing and I’m just like… How great was this pie for convincing someone not to kill themselves? Wtf is up with Pamela? It was well written and flowed nicely, but I felt like it needed more…

895856Sometimes Madness is Wisdom: Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald a marriage – Kendall Taylor
You might have noticed (and if you haven’t you’re in luck because I’ve linked it below for you) that I wanted to read more non fiction. I guess this was me easing myself in to exploring the world of non fiction by picking a subject I’m already knowledgeable on. Though I think this book was a little too wordy in places, I did like that unlike other books I’ve read about the Fitzgeralds it focused on Zelda rather than Scott. You can see my review of this here! I did find little notes in this from the last person who read it, which is awesome! I love reading other people’s thoughts on books!

23210035My own story – Emmeline Pankhurst
Yes, I’m furthering my quest for non fiction! I spent some time in the library hunting for a specific biography, which I didn’t find, but then my eye caught this. I am hugely interested in feminism and the suffragette movement and I want to read more about this subject and I do find autobiographies easier to read than anything else. This was so interesting and I learned so much more about the period and the suffragette movement. Also I’ve completely changed my view on Gladstone, he used to be one of my favourite prime ministers! (Yes, I have a list of favourite prime ministers. The current one and her predecessor aren’t on the short list in case you wondered.) Its a shame, but we weren’t taught an awful lot about the Suffragette movement at school, all that was covered was that a group of women wanted the vote and went around terrorising the government and throwing themselves under horses. This should be part of the curriculum, especially as we have such low voter turn outs. Since finishing this, I did go and do some further reading and while this was biased (being an autobiography) and didn’t acknowledge that the Pankhursts were privileged (for instance, the majority of women didn’t have access to education or money – though it would have taken people of the Pankhurst’s position in society to have gotten the vote in the first place) or the not so nice things that took place, like the disowning of her own children. That sort of thing. Regardless, from a historical point of view, political point of view and feminist point of view, this was super interesting and now I want to check out the film!

26255907How Hard Can Love Be? – Holly Bourne
This isn’t the first Holly Bourne book that I’ve read, but it is the first Spinster Club book that I’ve read and I appear to have started with the second one rather than the first. Ooops. I was drawn to the series seeing the author appear on YouTube talking about how the theme of the series is feminism and well, I am into that equality. I did enjoy this in a nice, fun, YA kind of way, but I can’t say that I got an over riding vibe of feminism coming from this. Had this been sold to me as teenage girl with serious mum issues spending the summer in a foreign country trying to make sense of her dysfunctional family I’d have enjoyed it so much more. The story line with Amber’s mum was so interesting and though I usually get annoyed with whiney white kids moaning about their parents, I was totally with Amber on this one. I’m not saying this isn’t feminist, I think there are many things that make it feminist, but I can’t say it is the most feminist thing I’ve ever read.

Films I watched this month:

You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter, have been keeping up with my Film reviews in 10 tweets or less posts or this video, that I really like films and that I spend a lot of time watching them, so here are all the films (some new, some rewatches) that graced my television this month!

  • Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
  • Brooklyn
  • Tropic Thunder
  • Bridget Jones’ Baby
  • Cockneys Vs Zombies


TV I watched his month:

  • Great British Bake Off
    Best enjoy it while we can, eh?
  • Gilmore Girls
  • Ripper Street
  • Adolf and Eva – Love and War
    I am a massive history nerd and love learning about World War 2 so I couldn’t resist this documentary about Eva Braun, I don’t know an awful lot about her, so this was super interesting!
  • Brooklyn 99
    I’ve never seen this before and it is legit the funniest thing I’ve seen in a very long time! Also I’ve accidentally fallen for Jake Peralta and I can’t get up.
  • Go 8 bit
  • Teen Wolf
    Netflix just uploaded the first two series and its been forever since I watched this show… So…
  • Gogglebox

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

The 1975's reading set on the tv and updating the scrap book only six months behind…

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

Full of food and walking around Bishop's Palace with mum – pretty good celebration of my birth so far

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:

Well, the first thing I saw that made me go YES. YES, LET’S SHOUT THIS FROM THE ROOFTOPS this month is this video from my friend Joe explaining his stance on Nuclear Weapons. Coincidentally, the day after I uploaded a video about reading non fiction, Sophie uploaded this abut non fiction! I got so many recommendations from her video, so thanks Sophie! Other mentions have to go to this episode of Drunk Advice with Rose and Rosie – can these two make videos with Hannah all the time? And while we’re on the subject of Drunk Advice, here’s the episode with the Midnight Beast. I feel like its been a while since Casey Neistat made an appearance, so here’s his vlog showing us how the other half live with this incredible airplane journey. And I can’t not mention my bae, danisnotonfire and the hilarious story of how he almost blinded himself.