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Woodstock Book Discussion Group Tackles ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

  • Elisabeth Moss as Offred in “The Handmaids Tale.” As a fertile woman, Offred was re-educated as a “handmaid” and assigned to the Commander Fred Waterford. MUST CREDIT: Take Five-Hulu



Valley News Staff Writer
Friday, May 19, 2017

Amid renewed interest in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the Classic Book Discussion Group in Woodstock will explore the Canadian author’s dystopian masterpiece at the Norman Williams Public Library on June 10.

The group is inviting the public to join the discussion of the novel, which envisions a theocracy taking control of the United States and subordinating women of childbearing age to the level of enslaved breeding stock. The TV streaming network Hulu recently adapted the novel into a miniseries starring Elisabeth Moss (co-star of the late Mad Men series) as Offred, a handmaid who can’t help rebelling in ways overt and covert, and Ralph Fiennes as The Commander, who effectively owns Offred and who as a leader of the theocracy, emits a Mike Pence-ian aura.

The discussion begins at 10:30 a.m. The Yankee Bookshop in Woodstock is offering discounts to book-group participants who buy the book.

Looking Ahead

Phil Pochoda, moderator of the Canaan Meetinghouse Readings, previews the coming season of author appearances on Wednesday night at 7, with a presentation at Lyme’s Converse Free Library.

The readings, each beginning at 7:30 p.m., at the meetinghouse on Canaan Street, begin on July 6 with poet and Dartmouth writing professor Cynthia Huntington sampling from her new collection Terra Nova, and with novelist Rick Moody sharing excerpts from Hotels of North America. Subsequent author appearances, by date, follow:

July 13 — Former Dartmouth President James Wright discusses Enduring Vietnam: An American Generation, and mystery writer Megan Abbott reads from her new collection You Will Know Me.

July 20 — Poet April Ossmann reads from her second collection, Event Boundaries, and novelist Victoria Redel shares from Before Everything.

July 27 — Poet Major Jackson samples from Roll Deep, and novelist Alexander Chee shares excerpts from Queen of the Night.

The Norwich Bookstore will sell current and past books of each writer during the series.

Dartmouth College alumna Kimberley Tait reads from and signs copies of her debut novel, Fake Plastic Love, at the J. Crew retail store in downtown Hanover this afternoon from 2 to 4. The story follows two millennial women pursuing their careers in New York City with very different sensibilities.

The parade of authors scheduled to read from and sign their new books at the Norwich Bookstore continues into June, with Michele Campbell and Bill Schubart sharing excerpts from their new novels.

Campbell, a former federal prosecutor now living in the Upper Valley, is touring her murder mystery It’s Always the Husband, about three former college roommates whose lives take unlikely and precarious turns over the ensuing decades. Campbell’s appearance is scheduled for May 31 at 7 p.m.

Schubart, who grew up in northern Vermont and now lives in the Burlington area, samples passages of his Lila and Theron at the Norwich Bookstore on June 7 at 7 p.m. The book follows the lives of two women from a hardscrabble corner of rural Vermont. He previously introduced the women in his 2008 collection The Lamoille Stories.

While admission is free to both readings, the bookstore advises reservations because of limited seating at the store. To learn more, visit norwichbookstore.com or call 802-649-1114.

Looking Back

Members of several Woodstock-area memoir-writing groups will pay tribute to classmate Erwin Fullerton on Monday afternoon, by reading from his two published books during a celebration of Fullerton’s 90th birthday at the Norman Williams Public Library in Woodstock.

Fullerton, a resident of South Woodstock, released his most recent collection of reminiscences, The Woodsman, in 2016.

The celebration for Fullerton runs from 2 to 4:30.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304.