Film and TV

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ voted number one book for men to read

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, was voted the best book for men to read in a new poll by the Women’s Prize for Fiction. 

In a campaign that aims to encourage more men to read novels by female authors, The Women’s Prize for Fiction team took to a poll — inspired by the release of Mary Ann Sieghart’s best-selling book The Authority Gap which highlighted that men rarely read a fiction novel written by a woman.

To fine-tune the selection process, they invited Sir Salman Rushdie, Andrew Marr, and Richard Curtis among others, to recommend novels written by women for the “top 10 men’s reading list” before the list went to a public vote. Over 20,000 votes were cast over ten days, which narrowed the sixty recommended books down to just ten. Margaret Atwood’s iconic novel The Handmaid’s Tale received the most votes and topped the list which included a stellar line-up of classic and modern novels, including works from Harper Lee, Britt Bennett, and Mary Shelley.

Bernardine Evaristo
Margaret Atwood & Bernardine Evaristo. Credit: WPost

Here are the essential top ten books for men written by women.

1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale

2. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

to kill a mockingbird

3. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Credit: Penguin UK

4. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Credit: Clark University

5. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

the song of achilles
Credit: Amazon

6. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

half of a yellow sun
Credit: HarperCollins

7. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

the goldfinch
Credit: Amazon

8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Credit: Simon & Schuster

9. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

the poisonwood bible
Credit: Fable

10. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The Vanishing Half
Credit: Little Brown

Atwood thanked the readers who voted and said: Thank you to the hardworking jurors and the readers who voted – I’m honored. There was no Women’s Prize for Fiction at the time I wrote The Handmaid’s Tale but it was true then as now that many male readers shied away from books by women (except for murders and fantasies with wizards) and may also have felt excluded from them.”

Atwood went on to say, “It was normal for men to say to me, ‘My wife just loves your books’, a double-edged compliment.

“But The Handmaid’s Tale is not about men vs women. It’s about totalitarianism – it is not a paradise for all men, any more than any totalitarianism is. All totalitarianism controls women in specific ways having to do with reproduction. “

“Take note in light of current events in the USA: The state’s claim to ownership of women’s bodies  will  also affect men.”

The full list of 60 nominated titles can be seen here.