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Ranking Author Margaret Atwood’s Best Books (A Bibliography Countdown)

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“What are Margaret Atwood’s Best Books?” We looked at all of Atwood’s authored bibliography and ranked them against one another to answer that very question!

We took all of the books written by Margaret Atwood and looked at their Goodreads, Amazon, and LibraryThing scores, ranking them against one another to see which books came out on top. The books are ranked in our list below based on which titles have the highest overall score between all 3 review sites in comparison with all of the other books by the same author. The process isn’t super scientific and in reality, most books aren’t “better” than other books as much as they are just different. That being said, we do enjoy seeing where our favorites landed, and if you aren’t familiar with the author at all, the rankings can help you see what books might be best to start with.

The full ranking chart is also included below the countdown on the bottom of the page. We will update the article if/when a new book by Margaret Atwood is released. Although it probably won’t be immediate so the scores on each site have time to settle and aren’t overly influenced by the early, usually much more opinionated, users.

Happy Scrolling!



The Top Book’s Of Margaret Atwood



59 ) Days of the Rebels 1815–1840

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 59
  • Amazon: 48
  • LibraryThing: 57

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58 ) Snake Poems

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 57
  • Amazon: 48
  • LibraryThing: 57


57 ) For the Birds

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 52
  • Amazon: 48
  • LibraryThing: 55

Changed into a bird, Samantha gains a new perspective on the lives of birds and the effect of pollution on wildlife

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56 ) Bodily Harm

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 56
  • Amazon: 44
  • LibraryThing: 53

A powerfully and brilliantly crafted novel, Bodily Harm is the story of Rennie Wilford, a young journalist whose life has begun to shatter around the edges. Rennie flies to the Caribbean to recuperate, and on the tiny island of St. Antoine she is confronted by a world where her rules for survival no longer apply. By turns comic, satiric, relentless, and terrifying, Margaret Atwood’s Bodily Harm is ultimately an exploration of the lust for power, both sexual and political, and the need for compassion that goes beyond what we ordinarily mean by love.

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55 ) Anna’s Pet

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 58
  • Amazon: 38
  • LibraryThing: 56

While visiting her grandparents’ farm, city girl Anna decides she wants a pet, learning about a variety of creatures, the world they inhabit, and herself, as she selects one.

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54 ) Life Before Man

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 54
  • Amazon: 40
  • LibraryThing: 52

Imprisoned by walls of their own construction, here are three people, each in midlife, in midcrisis, forced to make choices–after the rules have changed. Elizabeth, with her controlled sensuality, her suppressed rage, is married to the wrong man. She has just lost her latest lover to suicide. Nate, her gentle, indecisive husband, is planning to leave her for Lesje, a perennial innocent who prefers dinosaurs to men. Hanging over them all is the ghost of Elizabeth’s dead lover…and the dizzying threat of three lives careening inevitably toward the same climax.

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53 ) Double Persephone

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 40
  • Amazon: 48
  • LibraryThing: 57


52 ) The Heart Goes Last

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 55
  • Amazon: 40
  • LibraryThing: 49

“Stan and Charmaine are a married couple trying to stay afloat in the midst of an economic and social collapse. Job loss has forced them to live in their car, leaving them vulnerable to roving gangs. They desperately need to turn their situation around—and fast. The Positron Project in the town of Consilience seems to be the answer to their prayers. No one is unemployed and everyone gets a comfortable, clean house to live in . . . for six months out of the year. On alternating months, residents of Consilience must leave their homes and function as inmates in the Positron prison system. Once their month of service in the prison is completed, they can return to their “”civilian”” homes.
At first, this doesn’t seem like too much of a sacrifice to make in order to have a roof over one’s head and food to eat. But when Charmaine becomes romantically involved with the man who lives in their house during the months when she and Stan are in the prison, a series of troubling events unfolds, putting Stan’s life in danger. With each passing day, Positron looks less like a prayer answered and more like a chilling prophecy fulfilled.”

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51 ) The Labrador Fiasco

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 48
  • Amazon: 48
  • LibraryThing: 45

The “Bloomsbury Birthday Quids” are small editions of short stories by major writers, in a format and style of the “Bloomsbury Classics”. Printed on high-quality paper, designed by Jeff Fisher, the books should become collectors’ items.

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50 ) Surfacing

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 53
  • Amazon: 36
  • LibraryThing: 50

Part detective novel, part psychological thriller, Surfacing is the story of a talented woman artist who goes in search of her missing father on a remote island in northern Quebec. Setting out with her lover and another young couple, she soon finds herself captivated by the isolated setting, where a marriage begins to fall apart, violence and death lurk just beneath the surface, and sex becomes a catalyst for conflict and dangerous choices. Surfacing is a work permeated with an aura of suspense, complex with layered meanings, and written in brilliant, diamond-sharp prose. Here is a rich mine of ideas from an extraordinary writer about contemporary life and nature, families and marriage, and about women fragmented…and becoming whole.

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49 ) Wandering Wenda and Widow Wallop’s Wunderground Washery

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 40
  • Amazon: 47
  • LibraryThing: 45

After her wise and watchful parents are whisked away, Wenda sets out in search of them with woodchuck Wesley, but before long they find themselves captives of the Widow Wallup at her Wunderground Washery, where the whites are whiter than white.

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48 ) Dancing Girls

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 50
  • Amazon: 34
  • LibraryThing: 42

This splendid volume of short fiction testifies to Margaret Atwood’s startlingly original voice, full of a rare intensity and exceptional intelligence. Her men and women still miscommunicate, still remain separate in different rooms, different houses, or even different worlds. With brilliant flashes of fantasy, humor, and unexpected violence, the stories reveal the complexities of human relationships and bring to life characters who touch us deeply, evoking terror and laughter, compassion and recognition–and dramatically demonstrate why Margaret Atwood is one of the most important writers in English today.

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47 ) Two-Headed Poems

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 20
  • Amazon: 48
  • LibraryThing: 54

Atwood’s first new collection since 1974 reaffirms her status as a perceptive writer and includes her poetic musings on the violence of history, the awkwardness of love, the preciousness of time, and other topics

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46 ) The Edible Woman

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 45
  • Amazon: 38
  • LibraryThing: 38

Ever since her engagement, the strangest thing has been happening to Marian McAlpin: she can’t eat. First meat. Then eggs, vegetables, cake, pumpkin seeds–everything! Worse yet, she has the crazy feeling that she’s being eaten. Marian ought to feel consumed with passion, but she really just feels…consumed. A brilliant and powerful work rich in irony and metaphor, The Edible Woman is an unforgettable masterpiece by a true master of contemporary literary fiction.

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45 ) Lady Oracle

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 45
  • Amazon: 34
  • LibraryThing: 40

From fat girl to thin, from red hair to mud brown, from London to Toronto, from Polish count to radical husband, from writer of romances to distinguished poet – Joan Foster is utterly confused by her life of multiple identiities. She decides to escape to an Italain hill town to take stock of her life. But first, she must organise her own death…

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44 ) Good Bones

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 33
  • Amazon: 46
  • LibraryThing: 34

These wise and witty writings home in on Shakespeare, tree stumps, ecological disasters, bodies (male and female), and theology, amongst other matters. We hear Gertrude’s version of what really happened in Hamlet; an ugly sister and a wicked stepmother put in a good word for themselves,and a reincarnated bat explains how Bram Stoker got Dracula hopelessly wrong. Good Bones is pure distilled Atwood – deliciously strong and bittersweet.

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43 ) The Animals in That Country

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 25
  • Amazon: 48
  • LibraryThing: 35

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41 ) The Journals of Susanna Moodie

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 42
  • Amazon: 32
  • LibraryThing: 32

The poetic/artistic exploration of what it means to find yourself thrown into a hostile environment, these poems by Margaret Atwood and silk-screen illustrations by Charles Pachter are based on the journals of Canadian pioneer Susanna Moodie. The setting allows Atwood to write cutting lines about the fundamental tensions in creating and defining a self. One such tension, the assertion of will on the world as well as on one’s self, set against the spirit-crushing tribulations of loneliness and hopelessness, is especially electric. The Journals of Susanna Moodie is a beautiful and hypnotic book.

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41 ) Moral Disorder

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 49
  • Amazon: 22
  • LibraryThing: 35

“A brilliant collection of connected short stories following the life of a single woman, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Handmaid’s Tale.

In these eleven tales, Margaret Atwood brings to life the story of one remarkable character, following her from girlhood in the 1930s, through her coming-of-age in the 50s and 60s, and into the present day where, no longer young, she reflects on the new state of the world. Each story focuses on the ways relationships transform a life: a woman’s complex love for a married man, the grief upon the death of parents and the joy with the birth of children, and the realization of what growing old with someone you love really means. By turns funny, lyrical, incisive, earthy, shocking, and deeply personal, Moral Disorder displays Atwood’s celebrated storytelling gifts and unmistakable style to their best advantage.”

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39 ) The Penelopiad

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 45
  • Amazon: 22
  • LibraryThing: 38

Margaret Atwood presents the cycle of stories about Penelope, wife of Odysseus, through the eyes of the twelve maids hanged for disloyalty to Odysseus in his absence.

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39 ) The Tent

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 42
  • Amazon: 16
  • LibraryThing: 47

One of the world’s most celebrated authors, Margaret Atwood has penned a collection of smart and entertaining fictional essays, in the genre of her popular books Good Bones and Murder in the Dark, punctuated with wonderful illustrations by the author. Chilling and witty, prescient and personal, delectable and tart, these highly imaginative, vintage Atwoodian essays speak on a broad range of subjects, reflecting the times we live in with deadly accuracy and knife-edge precision.

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38 ) Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 28
  • Amazon: 42
  • LibraryThing: 33

In this fantastic and funny picture book Margaret Atwood offers a deliciously ridiculous tale about the virtues of resisting restrictions. Rude Ramsay has reached the end of his rope! Sick of eating rock-hard rice, wrinkled ravioli, and raw rhinoceros, Ramsay and Ralph the red-nosed rat resolve to leave their rectangular residence in a quest for more refreshing repast and to prove that the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence. With lots of ‘r’s’ to help the story roll along, Margaret Atwood’s rollicking text, combined with Dusan Petricic’s lively art, make this book a real treat for Margaret Atwood fans, old and new.

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37 ) Bluebeard’s Egg

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 36
  • Amazon: 22
  • LibraryThing: 44

A collection of short stories that concern themselves with relationships of various sorts, by turns humorous and warm, as well as stark and frightening.

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36 ) Wilderness Tips

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 32
  • Amazon: 36
  • LibraryThing: 28

In these ten richly layered and disturbing tales, Booker Prize-winning Margaret Atwood author deftly illuminates the single moments that can shape an entire life. In a few brief pages we watch as characters progress from the vulnerabilities of adolescence through the passions of youth into the precarious complexities of middle age. By superimposing the past on the present, Atwood paints interior landscapes shaped by time, regret, and life’s lost chances, endowing even the banal with a sense of mystery. Poignant at times and scathingly witty at others, the stories in Wilderness Tip stake us into the strange and secret places of the heart and inform the familiar world in which we live with truths that cut to the bone.

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34 ) Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 50
  • Amazon: 42
  • LibraryThing: 3

In this story told mainly with words that begin with the letters “b” and “d,” Bashful Bob, abandoned and raised by dogs, meets Doleful Dorinda, who deals with dirty dishes, and the two become fast friends and eventually heroes.

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34 ) Procedures for Underground

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 38
  • Amazon: 48
  • LibraryThing: 9

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33 ) Up in the Tree

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 44
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 48

Two children rejoice in their home up in a tree, free from parental guidance and earthbound concerns. But when beavers gnaw their ladder into matchsticks, the children aren’t sure they want to be quite so alone. Playful, whimsical, and wry, the story is vintage Atwood. Long out of print, Up in the Tree was first published in 1978. Because it was considered too expensive and risky to publish a children’s book in Canada, Atwood not only wrote and illustrated the book, but hand-lettered the type. This facsimile edition captures all the charm of the original, and makes a thoughtful gift for Atwood fans as well as for young readers.

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32 ) Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 27
  • Amazon: 22
  • LibraryThing: 40

Prunella, a proud, prissy, princess, plans to marry a pinheaded prince who will pamper her–until a wise old woman’s spell puts a purple peanut on the princess’s pretty nose.

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31 ) The Robber Bride

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 29
  • Amazon: 33
  • LibraryThing: 25

From the extraordinary imagination of the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Handmaid’s Tale , comes one of her most intricate and subversive novels. Set in contemporary Toronto, The Robber Bride revolves around the lives of three fascinating women. Classmates from university, Roz, Charis, and Tony all shared the seductive and destructive experience of a past friendship with the flashy, sensuous, smart, irresistible Zenia. As the novel opens, they are twenty years past their college days and have met at Zania’s funeral, but at lunch, after the funeral, they spot Zenia—not dead at all and up to no good.

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30 ) You Are Happy

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 6
  • Amazon: 48
  • LibraryThing: 31

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29 ) In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 36
  • Amazon: 22
  • LibraryThing: 26

This book is Margaret Atwood’s account of her relationship with the literary form we have come to know as science fiction.

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28 ) Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 39
  • Amazon: 22
  • LibraryThing: 22

In this wide-ranging history of debt Margaret Atwood investigates its many meanings through the ages, from ancient times to the current global financial meltdown. Many of us wonder: how could we have let such a collapse happen? How old or inevitable is this human pattern of debt? Imaginative, topical and insightful, Payback urges us to reconsider our ideas of ownership and debt – before it is too late.

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27 ) The Circle Game

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 24
  • Amazon: 45
  • LibraryThing: 13

“The appearance of Margaret Atwood’s first major collection of poetry marked the beginning of a truly outstanding career in Canadian and international letters. The voice in these poems is as witty, vulnerable, direct, and incisive as we’ve come to know in later works, such as Power Politics, Bodily Harm, and Alias Grace. Atwood writes compassionately about the risks of love in a technological age, and the quest for identity in a universe that cannot quite be trusted.

Containing many of Atwood’s best and most famous poems, The Circle Game won the 1966 Governor General’s Award for Poetry and rapidly attained an international reputation as a classic of modern poetry. This beautiful edition of The Circle Game contains the complete collection, with an introduction by Sherrill E. Grace of the University of British Columbia.”

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26 ) Murder in the Dark

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 35
  • Amazon: 8
  • LibraryThing: 35

These short fiction and prose poems are bizarre: the pretensions of the male chef are subjected to a light roasting; and knowing when to stop is of deadly importance in a game of Murder in the Dark.

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25 ) Interlunar

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 17
  • Amazon: 48
  • LibraryThing: 9

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24 ) Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 20
  • Amazon: 22
  • LibraryThing: 27

What is the role of the writer? Prophet? High Priest of Art? Court Jester? Or witness to the real world? Looking back on her own childhood and the development of her writing career

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23 ) Second Words: Selected Critical Prose

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 11
  • Amazon: 48
  • LibraryThing: 9

Fifty of Margaret Atwood’s finest essays and reviews from 1960 to 1982 are included in this collection of her key critical writings. Wit and originality infuse discussions of the writing process, literary life, and such literary figures as Adrienne Rich, Northrop Frye, Anne Sexton, and E. L. Doctorow. Atwood’s perspectives on Canadian nationalism and the American dream emerge, as do her controversial attitudes about feminism, sexism, and contemporary North American life. This largest collection of her critical prose showcases the human insight and sharp intellect that has distinguished Atwood as one of the most compelling writers of the 21st century.

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22 ) True Stories

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 8
  • Amazon: 8
  • LibraryThing: 51

Poems stress the need to recognize the crimes of repressive regimes, the redeeming power of friendship, the unreliability of perception, and the mystery of nature

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21 ) Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 29
  • Amazon: 8
  • LibraryThing: 28

When first published in 1972, Survival was considered the most startling book ever written about Canadian literature. Since then, it has continued to be read and taught, and it continues to shape the way Canadians look at themselves.

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20 ) Moving Targets: Writing with Intent, 1982–2004

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 15
  • Amazon: 48
  • LibraryThing: 1

The most precious treasure of this collection is that it gives us the rich back-story and diverse range of influences on Margaret Atwood’s work. From the aunts who encouraged her nascent writing career to the influence of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four on The Handmaid’s Tale, we trace the movement of Atwood’s fertile and curious mind in action over the years. Atwood’s controversial political pieces, Napoleon’s Two Biggest Mistakes and Letter to America — both not-so-veiled warnings about the repercussions of the war in Iraq — also appear, alongside pieces that exhibit her active concern for the environment, the North, and the future of the human race.

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19 ) Good Bones and Simple Murders

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 20
  • Amazon: 22
  • LibraryThing: 21

This handsome volume combines two of Margaret Atwood’s most playful books–Good Bones and Murder in the Dark–resulting in an athletically clever series of tiny fictions, prose poems, and essays that, in small, witty steps, deconstruct everything from sexual politics to the very act of writing itself. Ranging from a tongue-in-cheek appreciation of “Women’s Novels” and an embittered, self-sacrificing confessional by Chicken Little to a powerful series of variations on John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields,” Good Bones and Simple Murders will surprise casual Atwood fans who are accustomed to the broad intensity of her novels or the seriousness of much of her poetry.

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17 ) The Door

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 31
  • Amazon: 12
  • LibraryThing: 12

The Door, Margaret Atwood’s first book of poetry since Morning in the Burned House, is a magnificent achievement. Here in paperback for the first time, these fifty lucid, urgent poems range in tone from lyric to ironic to mediative to prophetic, and in subject from the personal to the political, viewed in its broadest sense. They investigate the mysterious writing of poetry itself, as well as the passage of time and our shared sense of mortality. Brave and compassionate, The Door interrogates the certainties that we build our lives on, and reminds us once again of Margaret Atwood’s unique accomplishments as one of the finest and most celebrated writers of our time.

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17 ) The Blind Assassin

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 16
  • Amazon: 22
  • LibraryThing: 17

Ten days after the war ended, my sister Laura drove a car off a bridge.” These words are spoken by Iris Chase Griffen, married at eighteen to a wealthy industrialist but now poor and eighty-two. Iris recalls her far from exemplary life, and the events leading up to her sister’ s death, gradually revealing the carefully guarded Chase family secrets. Among these is ” The Blind Assassin, ” a novel that earned the dead Laura Chase not only notoriety but also a devoted cult following. Sexually explicit for its time, it was a pulp fantasy improvised by two unnamed lovers who meet secretly in rented rooms and seedy cafe s. As this novel-within-a-novel twists and turns through love and jealousy, self-sacrifice and betrayal, so does the real narrative, as both move closer to war and catastrophe. Margaret Atwood’ s Booker Prize-winning sensation combines elements of gothic drama, romantic suspense, and science fiction fantasy in a spellbinding tale.

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16 ) Selected Poems

 

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 3
  • Amazon: 7
  • LibraryThing: 43

Celebrated as a major novelist throughout the English-speaking world, Atwood has also written eleven volumes of poetry. Houghton Mifflin is proud to have published SELECTED POEMS, 1965-1975, a volume of selections from Atwood’s poetry of that decade.

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15 ) Cat’s Eye

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 18
  • Amazon: 16
  • LibraryThing: 18

From the Booker Prize-winning author of The Blind Assassin comes a breathtaking novel about a woman grappling with the tangled knot of her life. Disturbing, hilarious, and compassionate, Cat’s Eye is the story of Elaine Risley, a controversial painter who returns to Toronto, the city of her youth, for a retrospective of her art. Engulfed by vivid images of the past, she reminisces about a trio of girls who initiated her into the fierce politics of childhood and its secret world of friendship, longing, and betrayal. Elaine must come to terms with her own identity as a daughter, a lover, an artist, and a woman—but above all she must seek release from her haunting memories.

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14 ) Selected Poems 1966–1984

 

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 34
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 14

Celebrated as a major novelist throughout the English-speaking world, Atwood has also written eleven volumes of poetry.

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13 ) Hag-Seed

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 26
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 7

“William Shakespeare’s The Tempest retold as Hag-Seed

Felix is at the top of his game as Artistic Director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions have amazed and confounded. Now he’s staging a Tempest like no other: not only will it boost his reputation, it will heal emotional wounds.

Or that was the plan. Instead, after an act of unforeseen treachery, Felix is living in exile in a backwoods hovel, haunted by memories of his beloved lost daughter, Miranda. And also brewing revenge.

After twelve years, revenge finally arrives in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison. Here, Felix and his inmate actors will put on his Tempest and snare the traitors who destroyed him. It’s magic! But will it remake Felix as his enemies fall?

Margaret Atwood’s novel take on Shakespeare’s play of enchantment, retribution, and second chances leads us on an interactive, illusion-ridden journey filled with new surprises and wonders of its own.”

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12 ) Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 20
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 24

Margaret Atwood’s witty and informative book focuses on the imaginative mystique of the wilderness of the Canadian North. She discusses the ‘Grey Owl Syndrome’ of white writers going native; the folklore arising from the mysterious– and disastrous — Franklin expedition of the nineteenth century; the myth of the dreaded snow monster, the Wendigo; the relations between nature writing and new forms of Gothic; and how a fresh generation of women writers in Canada have adapted the imagery of the Canadian North for the exploration of contemporary themes of gender, the family and sexuality. Writers discussed include Robert Service, Robertson Davies, Alice Munro, E.J. Pratt, Marian Engel, Margaret Laurence, and Gwendolyn MacEwan. This superbly written and compelling portrait of the mysterious North is at once a fascinating insight into the Canadian imagination, and an exciting new work from an outstanding literary presence.

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11 ) The Year of the Flood

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 10
  • Amazon: 16
  • LibraryThing: 18

Set in the visionary future of Atwood’s acclaimed Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood is at once a moving tale of lasting friendship and a landmark work of speculative fiction. In this second book of the MaddAddam trilogy, the long-feared waterless flood has occurred, altering Earth as we know it and obliterating most human life. Among the survivors are Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, who is barricaded inside a luxurious spa. Amid shadowy, corrupt ruling powers and new, gene-spliced life forms, Ren and Toby will have to decide on their next move, but they can’t stay locked away.

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10 ) Alias Grace

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 12
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 18

In 1843, a 16-year-old Canadian housemaid named Grace Marks was tried for the murder of her employer and his mistress. The sensationalistic trial made headlines throughout the world, and the jury delivered a guilty verdict. Yet opinion remained fiercely divided about Marks–was she a spurned woman who had taken out her rage on two innocent victims, or was she an unwilling victim herself, caught up in a crime she was too young to understand? Such doubts persuaded the judges to commute her sentence to life imprisonment, and Marks spent the next 30 years in an assortment of jails and asylums, where she was often exhibited as a star attraction. In Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood reconstructs Marks’s story in fictional form. Her portraits of 19th-century prison and asylum life are chilling in their detail. The author also introduces Dr. Simon Jordan, who listens to the prisoner’s tale with a mixture of sympathy and disbelief. In his effort to uncover the truth, Jordan uses the tools of the then rudimentary science of psychology. But the last word belongs to the book’s narrator–Grace herself.

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9 ) Oryx and Crake

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 12
  • Amazon: 16
  • LibraryThing: 14

In Oryx and Crake, a science fiction novel that is more Swift than Heinlein, more cautionary tale than “fictional science” (no flying cars here), Margaret Atwood depicts a near-future world that turns from the merely horrible to the horrific, from a fool’s paradise to a bio-wasteland. Snowman (a man once known as Jimmy) sleeps in a tree and just might be the only human left on our devastated planet. He is not entirely alone, however, as he considers himself the shepherd of a group of experimental, human-like creatures called the Children of Crake. As he scavenges and tends to his insect bites, Snowman recalls in flashbacks how the world fell apart.

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7 ) Stone Mattress

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 18
  • Amazon: 16
  • LibraryThing: 7

“From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Handmaid’s Tale

In this extraordinary collection, Margaret Atwood gives us nine unforgettable tales that reveal the grotesque, delightfully wicked facets of humanity. “Alphinland,” the first of three loosely linked tales, introduces us to a fantasy writer who is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband. In “Lusus Naturae,” a young woman, monstrously transformed by a genetic defect, is mistaken for a vampire. And in the title story, a woman who has killed four husbands discovers an opportunity to exact vengeance on the first man who ever wronged her.

By turns thrilling, funny, and thought-provoking, Stone Mattress affirms Atwood as our greatest creator of worlds—and as an incisive chronicler of our darkest impulses.

A Best Book of the Year: NPR, BookRiot”

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7 ) MaddAddam

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 14
  • Amazon: 13
  • LibraryThing: 14

“Bringing together Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood, this thrilling conclusion to Margaret Atwood’s speculative fiction trilogy points toward the ultimate endurance of community, and love.

Months after the Waterless Flood pandemic has wiped out most of humanity, Toby and Ren have rescued their friend Amanda from the vicious Painballers. They return to the MaddAddamite cob house, newly fortified against man and giant pigoon alike. Accompanying them are the Crakers, the gentle, quasi-human species engineered by the brilliant but deceased Crake. Their reluctant prophet, Snowman-the-Jimmy, is recovering from a debilitating fever, so it’s left to Toby to preach the Craker theology, with Crake as Creator. She must also deal with cultural misunderstandings, terrible coffee, and her jealousy over her lover, Zeb.

Zeb has been searching for Adam One, founder of the God’s Gardeners, the pacifist green religion from which Zeb broke years ago to lead the MaddAddamites in active resistance against the destructive CorpSeCorps. But now, under threat of a Painballer attack, the MaddAddamites must fight back with the aid of their newfound allies, some of whom have four trotters. At the center of MaddAddam is the story of Zeb’s dark and twisted past, which contains a lost brother, a hidden murder, a bear, and a bizarre act of revenge.

Combining adventure, humor, romance, superb storytelling, and an imagination at once dazzlingly inventive and grounded in a recognizable world, MaddAddam is vintage Margaret Atwood—a moving and dramatic conclusion to her internationally celebrated dystopian trilogy.”

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6 ) The Handmaid’s Tale

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 7
  • Amazon: 22
  • LibraryThing: 5

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire – neither Offred’s nor that of the two men on which her future hangs. Brilliantly conceived and executed, this powerful evocation of twenty-first century America gives full rein to Margaret Atwood’s devastating irony, wit and astute perception.

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5 ) Power Politics

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 4
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 28

“Margaret Atwood’s Power Politics first appeared in 1971, startling its audience with its vital dance of woman and man. It still startles, and is just as iconoclastic as ever.

These poems occupy all at once the intimate, the political, and the mythic. Here Atwood makes us realize that we may think our own personal dichotomies are unique, but really they are multiple, universal. Clear, direct, wry, unrelenting — Atwood’s poetic powers are honed to perfection in this important early work.”

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3 ) Morning in the Burned House

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 5
  • Amazon: 16
  • LibraryThing: 4

These beautifully crafted poems – by turns dark, playful, intensely moving, tender, and intimate – make up Margaret Atwood’s most accomplished and versatile gathering to date, ” setting foot on the middle ground / between body and word.” Some draw on history, some on myth, both classical and popular. Others, more personal, concern themselves with love, with the fragility of the natural world, and with death, especially in the elegiac series of meditations on the death of a parent. But they also inhabit a contemporary landscape haunted by images of the past. Generous, searing, compassionate, and disturbing, this poetry rises out of human experience to seek a level between luminous memory and the realities of the everyday, between the capacity to inflict and the strength to forgive.

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3 ) Eating Fire: Selected Poems, 1965–1995

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 1
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 23

The evolution of Margaret Atwood’s poetry illuminates one of our major literary talents. Here, as in her novels, is intensity combined with sardonic detachment, and in these early poems her genius for a level stare at the ordinary is wonderfully apparent. Just as startling is her ability to contrast the everyday with the terrifying: ‘Each time I hit a key/ on my electric typewriter/ speaking of peaceful trees/ another village explodes.’ Her poetic voice is crystal clear, insistent, unmistakably her own. Through bus trips and postcards, wilderness and trivia, she reflects the passion and energy of a writer intensely engaged with her craft and the world. Two former collections, Poems 1965 – 1975 and Poems 1976 – 1986, are presented together with her latest collection, Morning in the Burned House, in this omnibus that represents the development of a major poet.

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2 ) Writing with Intent: Essays, Reviews, Personal Prose–1983-2005

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 8
  • Amazon: 8
  • LibraryThing: 6

From one of the world’s most passionately engaged and acclaimed literary citizens comes Writing with Intent, the largest collection to date of Margaret Atwood’s nonfiction, ranging from 1983 to 2005. Composed of autobiographical essays, cultural commentary, book reviews, and introductory pieces to great works of literature, this is the award-winning author’s first book-length nonfiction publication in twenty years. Arranged chronologically, these writings display the development of Atwood’s worldview as the world around her changes. Included are the Booker Prize–winning author’s reviews of books by John Updike, Italo Calvino, Toni Morrison, and others, as well as essays in which she remembers herself reading Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse at age nineteen, and discusses the influence of George Orwell’s 1984 on the writing of The Handmaid’s Tale. Atwood’s New York Times Book Review piece that helped make Orhan Pamuk’s Snow a bestseller can be found here, as well as a look back on a family trip to Afghanistan just before the Soviet invasion, and her “Letter to America,” written after September 11, 2001. The insightful and memorable pieces in this book serve as a testament to Atwood’s career, reminding readers why she is one of the most esteemed writers of our time.

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1 ) Selected Poems II: 1976–1986

Review Website Ranks:

  • Goodreads: 2
  • Amazon: 1
  • LibraryThing: 2

Celebrated as a major novelist throughout the English-speaking world, Atwood has also written eleven volumes of poetry. Houghton Mifflin is proud to have published SELECTED POEMS, 1965-1975, a volume of selections from Atwood’s poetry of that decade.

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Margaret Atwood’s Best Books



Margaret Atwood Review Website Bibliography Rankings

BookGoodreadsAmazonLibraryThingOveral Rank
Selected Poems II: 1976–1986 212 1
Writing with Intent: Essays, Reviews, Personal Prose–1983-2005 886 2
Morning in the Burned House 5164 3
Eating Fire: Selected Poems, 1965–1995 1123 3
Power Politics 4128 5
The Handmaid’s Tale 7225 6
Stone Mattress 18167 7
MaddAddam 141314 7
Oryx and Crake 121614 9
Alias Grace 121318 10
The Year of the Flood 101618 11
Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature 20124 12
Hag-Seed 26137 13
Selected Poems 1966–1984 34114 14
Cat’s Eye 181618 15
Selected Poems 3743 16
The Door 311212 17
The Blind Assassin 162217 17
Good Bones and Simple Murders 202221 19
Moving Targets: Writing with Intent, 1982–2004 15481 20
Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature 29828 21
True Stories 8851 22
Second Words: Selected Critical Prose 11489 23
Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing 202227 24
Interlunar 17489 25
Murder in the Dark 35835 26
The Circle Game 244513 27
Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth 392222 28
In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination 362226 29
You Are Happy 64831 30
The Robber Bride 293325 31
Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut 272240 32
Up in the Tree 44148 33
Bashful Bob and Doleful Dorinda 50423 34
Procedures for Underground 38489 34
Wilderness Tips 323628 36
Bluebeard’s Egg 362244 37
Rude Ramsay and the Roaring Radishes 284233 38
The Penelopiad 452238 39
The Tent 421647 39
The Journals of Susanna Moodie 423232 41
Moral Disorder 492235 41
The Animals in That Country 254835 43
Good Bones 334634 44
Lady Oracle 453440 45
The Edible Woman 453838 46
Two-Headed Poems 204854 47
Dancing Girls 503442 48
Wandering Wenda and Widow Wallop’s Wunderground Washery 404745 49
Surfacing 533650 50
The Labrador Fiasco 484845 51
The Heart Goes Last 554049 52
Double Persephone 404857 53
Life Before Man 544052 54
Anna’s Pet 583856 55
Bodily Harm 564453 56
For the Birds 524855 57
Snake Poems 574857 58
Days of the Rebels 1815–1840 594857 59