After having loved the TV series last year, and in anticipation of the forthcoming Season 2, I decided to re-read The Handmaid's Tale. I finished it the other night. It was a surprise in more ways than one.
One surprise was in seeing how cleverly the TV makers have adapted this incredible novel. They've carefully retained the very best of it whilst developing major strands which are merely hinted at in the book. I think it might be one of the best TV adaptations of a great novel ever.
But my second surprise was the realisation that, actually, I don't think I have ever read it, despite my certainty before starting it that I had, back when it first came out. I think it was in a pile of 'must read' books when I started student life. I definitely haven't read The Exorcist but this creepily illustrated Folio Society edition has just arrived so that's next.
Getting back into reading great fiction has re-ignited my own creative writing juices so I'm re-visiting a book I started some time ago. Thanks to a chance meeting over dinner at our friend Ben's (aka the superb Minute Taker), I've been working with an amazing company called Ziggy's Wish for the last few months and, not only do I find what they do incredible, their Founder and MD Ravi Thornton has become a good friend. As an award-winning writer herself, Ravi uses her considerable skills to create narrative which supports scientific research projects. It's brilliant, inspiring, astonishing stuff. Rav and I are currently supporting each other in our new writing projects, sending through drafts for feedback. It's a great way of making sure we actually get on with it and her wisdom is invaluable.
Not sure she should count on mine though when I can't even remember if I've read a book or not...