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.



February round up

Well, February, you were fun! Highlights from this month included getting to add some more touches to my new home, having time off to really enjoy that Now TV pass, taking a trip to the home town, spending time with some of my favourite people, perfecting my vegan pancake recipe and seeing Twenty One Pilots live!

What I read this month:

9303985Room – Emma Donoghue
Its been on my kindle forever and now the film is out and getting all these awards, so I thought I’d get on with it! While I loved the premise and I liked that a lot of the story was inferred due to our narrator only being five, I can’t say that I enjoyed it in the sense that the subject matter was very difficult. Also, Jack was one of the more annoying children I’ve had contact with. Even so, it was a great read and I am going to try and catch the film if I can!

28425994Flawed – Cecelia Ahern
I adore Cecelia Ahern’s books, I’ve read the majority of her novels, its a shame that no one seems to be able to do the film adaptations justice, Where Rainbows End and PS I Love You are amazing and the film versions… Meh. Anyway, this is her first YA story, so I kind of had to get my hands on it! I’m also told this is the beginnings of a series, though I don’t know if I’ll be as excited about reading the rest of them. Check my review here.

982149Murder in the Mews – Agatha Christie
I’ve only read one other Agatha Christie novel and I didn’t get on with it very well, but I always enjoy the television retellings, so I thought I would give her another go. I’d love to find a full length Poirot or Marple mystery, but all my local library seems to have are anthologies, so grabbed this one!

25478293Another Day – David Levithan
I always list David Levithan as one of my favourite authors, but honestly, the last two books I’ve read of his have just been a bit… Meh. This kept me company on a train journey and I wanted to like it so much. I just… Justin and Rhiannon was such an unhealthy pairing, they were so not good for each other and then the A thing… That was equally as unhealthy and good God. I just wanted to slap everyone!

21937519Moriarty – Anthony Horrowitz
I downloaded the ebook of this a couple of months ago and was super excited to read it, but the last two chapters were missing! I found a copy in the library and decided to get it so I could finally finish it! The Sherlock Holmes story written by Anthony Horrowitz is incredible, unfortunately, this is not.

20525628How to Build a Girl – Caitlin Moran
I do love Caitlin Moran and I’ve wanted to read this for such a long time that I sacrificed picking up a copy of the Nightvale book in my local library to grab this instead. Though it was a very entertaining and enjoyable read, it didn’t have the same spark that her other books have. It did have a lot of genius quotes that I’ve had to take note of!

28674747 Jakob’s Colours – Lindsay Hawdon
I wish I’d had this in January to read around Holocaust Memorial Day because I always feel like I should make a point of remembering the day online, but I don’t feel like I can even comprehend the atrocities and I don’t want to make it all about me. But anyway, this is a story about an often forgotten group of people affected by the Holocaust. I gratefully received a copy from Bookbridgr, see my review here.


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!

  • Frozen Fever
    This counts right? It is only seven minutes long, but hey, I’ve made film shorter than that!
  • If I stay
    Dear God, I don’t remember the last time I cried so much at a movie! The last film I watched that got me super emotional to the point of shedding a tear was probably the Imitation Game, but not to this extent! I was a weepy, weepy mess come the credits to this film! Perfect ending as well. God its a brilliant adaptation, I don’t think I got that emotional about the book even!
  • Bad Neighbours
    Terrible movie, but so many cameos. Well, I say terrible it was one of those movies that is great for background music!
  • Whiplash
    I can’t believe it took me so long to watch this! But, finally, I got around to it. It reminded me a little too much of my traumatic drum lessons. Great movie though!
  • Sweeney Todd
  • Beasts of No Nation
  • The Giver
    The book is one of my favourites so when I saw the adaptation on Now TV (yes, I need to binge watch ALL the movies before my pass runs out!) Although not as good as the book (that book is a masterpiece, you need to read it) I really liked the way it was shot and it was very true to the book. Also, Tay Swift is in it!
  • Interstellar
  • The Theory of Everything
    Man, that was an emotional Tuesday! I can’t believe it took me so long to watch this. Did shed a tear or two!
  • Ex-Machina
  • The Judge
  • Deadpool
    Oh my God, perfection. More please.
  • Transcendence 
    So many science fiction films this month.
  • Northern Soul
    Don’t recommend.

TV I watched this month:

  • Come Dine with me Champion of Champions
    It’s like Come Dine with me crossed with Bake Off – Utter genius! Narrator Dave Lamb does not look how I thought he would!
  • Supergamers
    I had no idea you could be a professional game player! I think I’ve said before that I will sign up for anything that involves Dan Howell’s face, which this did! Really interesting documentary and I think for a first time TV presenter, Dan did well!
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • Supernatural
  • Shadowhunters
    When I started watching this last month, I was unsure as to whether I liked it or not, once Magnus Bane showed up, it started to get a bit more interesting, it’s still bloody terrible with far too much actoring for my liking, but its at least fun now!
  • Grease Live
  • Crashing
    The series ended this month. Come the end I shipped Fred and Sam so hard! Though I don’t think I’ll be seeing a series two!
  • Vera
    I forgot what time it was on one week and my mum got one of the writers to tweet me to tell me off. My mum’s twitter game is strong.
  • Sinatra: All or Nothing.
    He’s one of my problematic faves. But this documentary series was great. You can catch it on Netflix!
  • The BAFTAS
    Bloody love movie award shows, the minute the opening montage began I was instantly reminded of how much I love movies. My thoughts if anyone is interested: I’m super glad that Mad Max and Star Wars were recognised for the work that went on behind the scenes, I wanted either Taron or John to win the rising star so I was happy one of them did, Rebel Wilson did the best speech of the night, I love Idris Elba too and was a bit miffed he didn’t get the award for Beasts of No Nation because that is an incredible film and even though I’ve not seen the Revenant, I’m glad it got so many awards considering the amount of work that went into it!
  • The People vs OJ Simpson
  • Snervous
    The Tyler Oakley doc is on Netflix and as I’ve always enjoyed Tyler’s YouTube videos, I thought I’d check it out and now I’m unsure as to whether or not Tyler is the person I thought he was… Like there are moments with his family that reinforced the idea that he’s really sweet and kind and then there were moments when he was being the big ‘internet star’ and it was like he was a completely different person.
  • The Night Manager
    T Hiddles kicking ass, what more could you ask for?!

My favourite Instagram posts this month:


I can't go outside until my delivery arrives so I'm compromising on the reading in the sun

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

Waiting for bookcases to arrive means you can’t go out into the sun to do a spot of reading!


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

Visited the home town and checked out the Cosmonauts exhibit at the science museum, I bloody love space and it was genuinely fascinating, go if you can!

I may have gotten hideously lost trying to find the venue, but I saw Twenty One Pilots and they might have just put on the best show I have seen in a long time! Blurry face has gotten me through some very tough times since its release and it was wonderful to see Tyler and Josh perform it (and a few others) live!

What I did on YouTube this month:

The video I made at work for the B&NES Mayor referendum!

What I loved on YouTube this month:
I might just go ahead and mention Casey Neistat in every single one of these, it’s kind of hard not to seeing as he’s a daily vlogger and all, but this video of him attempting a drone rescue mission was all kinds of incredible, my friend Sophie spent the month uploading reviews of her favourite LGBTQA+ books for LGBT history month, obviously I had to rewatch Rebel Wilson’s BAFTA presentation,  then there the ultimate Turing Test, Dan and Phil talking to chimpbot and having a supernaturally good time. I also need to give a mention to Daniel J Layton’s first instalment of PMS

Ten Influential Books Tag

As always I found this tag on YouTube and didn’t get tagged, but I love these tags and I want to find out more about the books that influenced other people, so if Kathy, Emma, Becky and George have the time, I’d love them to do this tag too!



So, here are ten books that have influenced me in some way or another.

#1 Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat – Ursual Moray Williams
I absolutely had to include this because this is where it all started. Gobbolino was one of the first ‘proper’ books I ever read by myself, by ‘proper’ book I mean one without pictures and actual prose. Not only that, but it was a gateway book for me into fantasy novels like the Worst Witch, the Hobbit and Harry Potter which pretty much dominated my childhood.

#2 Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats – T S Eliot
I’ve never really been taken with poetry, I appreciate a good poem, but I never really got it. Which is why, when I found myself having to write a poem in junior school, I came across T S Eliot and being a cat person, fell in love with this collection of poems. I think these were one of the reasons why I ended up getting so into theatre.

#3 Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
(Please ignore the fact that this is in an anthology in the picture!) I was very, very young when I first read this, but Jo March had a really profound affect on me and made me want to be strong and independent, I might not be anywhere near there yet, but I am working on it.

#4 Goodnight Mr Tom – Michele Magorian
Another childhood favourite which directly correlates with my fascination of WW2 and fuelled many a trip to war museums and even concentration camps. It really opened my eyes to a completely fascinating time in history.

#5 The Giver – Lois Lowry
This book was the first to really challenge my way of thinking and became my step into dystopia which is now one of my favourite genres. It was also a title I picked completely at random to fulfil an offer and it really taught me that taking a chance on something is always worth it.

#6 Harry Potter – J K Rowling
Yeah I know, but HP really opened my eyes. I had always loved stories, but JKR made me passionate about them and convinced me that they were worth telling. I’d always written shorts and stories and then hidden them away in cupboards, after Harry Potter, I wanted to show them to people and have them read. Honestly, she made me realise that I could be a writer if I wanted to be and the series inspired me to write this.

#7 Catcher in the Rye – J D Salinger
I make no secret of how much I hated uni, of how scared I was all the time about everything and the fact that I pretty much have an existential crisis every other week, I had no idea what I was doing, but at least I wasn’t in as much of a quandry as Holden. I read this for the first time during my second year at uni and it really helped me pull myself together, I just knew that I in no way wanted to be a pretentious prat like Holden and it really helped me just get over myself and get on with it. I did end up buying a hat like his though. Sorry I’m not sorry.

#8 The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
Not only is this wonderfully written and about my favourite historical period, but also got me back into reading in a major way. After I’d finished uni, I found myself disolusioned with everything, I sort of gave up on books because I never really had the time to read any of them and I honestly just didn’t enjoy it anymore after trailing through academic texts all the time. Then I read this and fell in love with words all over again.

#9 13 Little Blue Envelopes – Maureen Johnson
I’ve always liked the idea of travelling but never seriously thought I could do it until I read this. I lost myself in Ginny’s international adventure and now I want to go to all the places!

#10 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
This book had such a profound affect on me it was almost frightening.
I was suffering quite badly from anxiety and depression exacerbated by being unemployed, poor, lonely, miserable and uninspired. I was forever travelling in and out of my nearest city for interviews I never got a job out of and visits to the job centre which made me feel as worthless as the paper my degree is printed on so I would make my trip in worthwhile by spending hours in the library which is where I first came across this and with it, I found someone else who was a writer who was scared, unfulfilled and lost in her own mind and it was exactly what I needed. Given Sylvia Plath’s eventual end, the fact that I related to her novel about manic depression probably isn’t a good thing, but the Bell Jar really understood me and put into words everything I was feeling at a time when I didn’t even understand myself.

What ten books influenced you the most?
I’m always on the look out for more things that are likely to change my outlook on life.