New Author Month – Margaret Atwood

Yes, it’s official: I am biting off more than I can chew, eat and digest, book-wise. But I’m trying to challenge myself. I am making very slow progress on My Uncle Napoleon, being only a third through the 500-page book. And I just started an Anne Boleyn bio that is incredibly interesting. AND I signed up for a course on two Faulkner novels, which (if enrollment goes through and course isn’t canceled) starts tomorrow night.

With all of that, I still intend to stick to my plan as January being New Author Month. I could take the easy way out and use My Uncle Napoleon’s author, Iraj Pezeshkzad, as my “new author.” But the goal wasn’t just to read an author I hadn’t read before; I wanted to read a prominent author I feel as a Literate Kitten (read: Educated and Sophisticated Reader) I should read. Thanks to several blogger recommendations, I decided to go with Margaret Atwood and her novel Cat’s Eye. As part of my dedicated reading to my chosen “New Author,” I hope to explore some essays and critique of her work.

Okay, I haven’t started it yet, but it’s only the first week of January. As long as I start it in January, it will count.

First, though, must finish My Uncle Napolean. This is quite a fun romp, with lots of characters and drama and satire. The novel kicks off with the unnamed narrator, a 13-year-old boy living in Iran, falling madly in love with the young daughter of the strict and pompous family patriarch — Dear Uncle Napolean, so-called because of his excessive admiration of France’s military leader. Not many affairs, puppy-love or otherwise, are attested to so eloquently:

One hot summer day, to be precise on Friday the thirteenth of August, at about a quarter to three in the afternoon, I fell in love. The bitterness and longing I’ve been through since have often made me wonder whether if it had been the twelfth of the fourteenth of August things would have turned out differently.

How could I put down a novel that starts with THAT?

More as I near the finish line…

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13 Responses to New Author Month – Margaret Atwood

  1. Courtney says:

    Oh, I LOVED that Atwood book! Oh, I’m so happy Atwood is your new author – I really think you’ll enjoy it tremendously. Can’t wait to hear your post about it.


  2. Kate S. says:

    Good choice! I think that you’re going to have fun with Atwood. If your quest for context includes biographies, Rosemary Sullivan wrote an excellent biography covering Atwood’s early years called <>The Red Shoes: Margaret Atwood Starting Out<>. As an aspiring writer, I found it somewhat intimidating but also enormously inspiring. And then there’s Atwood herself on the writing process in <>Negotiating With the Dead: A Writer on Writing<>. I haven’t read that one myself yet, but it came to me highly recommended by someone whose opinion I trust.


  3. cat says:

    LK, I’ve never read Margaret Atwood either, but after reading your post, I went to read an excerpt of Cat’s Eye online. It sounds so good! I’m going to run out and get a copy as soon as possible. I look forward to hearing what you think of the book.


  4. charlotte says:

    Oooh, good luck with Margaret Atwood. She is one of my favourite authors. I want to be her when I grow up. (Or at least have an nth of her talent …)


  5. SFP says:

    Cat’s Eye is one of the best books ever.


  6. Dorothy W. says:

    Plenty of time left in January for your new author! I need to read Atwood too …


  7. Nonanon says:

    Mmm…Margaret Atwood. I’ve never read Cat’s Eye (so sad, I should get on that), but I have read her nonfiction collection “Writing with Intent: Essays, Reviews, Personal Prose” and actually fell in love with her a little bit. So enjoy! (Also: love your “months of reading” plan–oh, to be so organized!)


  8. LK says:

    Wow, you are all getting me all revved up for the Atwood book, thanks!

    And thanks Kate and Nonanon for your recommendations. They are most appreciated and welcome, because I did not have any idea of reference books on Atwood.


  9. Stefanie says:

    My Uncle Napolean sounds like fun.

    Cat’s Eye is a great Atwood book. I hope you enjoy it!


  10. danielle says:

    Oooh–I love Margaret Atwood!! Cat’s Eye is a great place to start!


  11. iliana says:

    I do hope you enjoy Margaret Atwood. Count me in as another Atwood fan. My first one was The Handmaid’s Tale which might be the reason that’s my favorite but still Cat’s Eye and Alias Grace are up there on the faves list.


  12. Pauline says:

    I had almost decided to sell Cat’s eye away, then your post reminded me how good it was and decided me against it!


  13. Since I’ve met WILLIAM FAULKNER, all his “Gen-Next” groupies want me to tell of his “vibe.” Well in 1963, he was kind of washed-out, with pale cheeks and white moustache & hair – – thickly white, but combed, buzzed, manicured. No five o’clock shadow on him. Washed out and wrinkled khaki linen 3-piece with pockets full of ‘bacco and a corn cob, stained dark as mahogany. His eyes were nothing when he talked – – flat and hard as steel. But when he listened, they were frightening. Deep – – yes, cavernous – – no, deep like jewels, with points that pierced you and disected your thought before you spoke ’em. I stammered, stuttered, and clipped off my replies to him. He noticed my nervousness, looked away and whispered “I’m sorry.” That was the part of him I liked, the gentility.


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