Today’s post is brought to you by Serena of That’s What She Read. Not only does she and her friend Ravena run an incredible bookish podcast, but we’re teaming up to offer one lucky reader two of our favorite books and a tote to stash your reads in!
For my favorite books–the ones that have a special place in my heart or that have changed me in some fundamental way–all of the moments leading up to reading the book take on an importance of their own, remaining imprinted indelibly upon my brain. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is one such book.
While the use of rhetoric and social commentary has likely been prevalent in literature since pen was first put to paper and certainly populated several of the classics we studied in school, my love for this form didn’t truly click until I read The Handmaid’s Tale. I felt simultaneously empowered and enraged and was further convinced of the important role fiction could play in activism and social change. Sorry, I’m getting a little worked up here just thinking about it. I should also say that the book was pretty freaking entertaining. This enthusiasm and passion sparked by Atwood years ago led me to pick up When She Woke by Hillary Jordan.
“When she woke, she was red.”
From its opening line, Jordan thrusts the reader into a futuristic world where the morals and rules of this society are bound together by law in a way that would make Nathaniel Hawthorne blush. Hannah, our protagonist, is guilty only of an ill-fated love and, yet, wakes to find herself part of a new criminal caste known as Chromes, wherein skin color is genetically modified to match the crime of which you are accused. Hannah, now a striking red for the murder of her unborn child, is left to navigate an America that would sooner leave her for dead than lend a helping hand.
I love that a title I picked up on a whim still haunts me a year later. If Atwood plucks your strings, then you have to read When She Woke!
To hear more book rambling, you can find Serena podcasting with her friend Ravena over on That’s What She Read (iTunes search: That’s What She Read) and blogging about books, travel, and life over at a girl named sue.