FREE BOOK: Stone Mattress, by Margaret Atwood

The lovely folks at Little, Brown have teamed up with a bunch of different bloggers to offer you a whole bunch of prizes, along with free copies of Margaret Atwood’s short story collection Stone Mattress, now out in paperback. The first one has already launched, over at The Writes of Woman. And one of the bloggers they’ve teamed up with is me!

Entering is very simple: add a comment below. It can be about Atwood–your favorite book of hers, your least favorite of hers, whether you think Oryx and Crake was an effective dystopia or not, how The Handmaid’s Tale changed your life–or it can be about the fact that you’ve never read her before, or it can just be your name. Anything goes! The winner will be chosen utterly at random, so you don’t need to worry too much about being witty.

Apart from a lovely (signed!) edition of Stone Mattress, the winner will receive a gorgeous yellow Lamy fountain pen, which is apropos, as the excerpt I shall give you is from the collection’s opening story, “Alphinland”–which is about a writer:

The freezing rain sifts down, handfuls of shining rice thrown by some unseen celebrant. Wherever it hits, it crystallizes into a granulated coating of ice. Under the streetlights it looks so beautiful: like fairy silver, thinks Constance. But then, she would think that; she’s far too prone to enchantment. The beauty is an illusion, and also a warning: there’s a dark side to beauty, as with poisonous butterflies. She ought to be considering the dangers, the hazards, the grief this ice storm is going to bring to many; is already bringing, according to the television news.

The TV screen is a flat high-definition one that Ewan bought so he could watch hockey and football games on it. Constance would rather have the old fuzzy one back, with its strangely orange people and its habit of rippling and fading: there are some things that do not fare well in high definition. She resents the pores, the wrinkles, the nose hairs, the impossibly whitened teeth shoved right up in front of your eyes so you can’t ignore them the way you would in real life. It’s like being forced to act as someone else’s bathroom mirror, the magnifying kind: seldom a happy experience, those mirrors.

You have until October 8th to enter. Good luck! (I’m also super nervous because I’ve never done a giveaway on the blog before, so…save me from embarrassment!)

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48 thoughts on “FREE BOOK: Stone Mattress, by Margaret Atwood

  1. madamjmo says:

    I saw Margaret speak in Bristol, and then was lucky enough to briefly meet her the next day at a radio interview – such a fascinating woman, such a great speaker, such a gentle spirit 🙂

  2. I really loved ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ when I read it for school at A Level, but I actually prefer ‘The Edible Woman’ – I found it a lot funnier (what with strange encounters with English students!).

  3. Fact: I saw Margaret Atwood speak at AWP 2012 in Chicago, when she was (I heard) the back-up choice after someone else had bailed. Her speech was so pithy and SO short: we probably queued for longer to get seats. But she was glamorous and very poised and so enjoyable.

    Thanks for thinking of me, E!

  4. Was lucky enough to meet Margaret Atwood at a reading in Bath. She was musing on the TV adaptation of the Maddaddam trilogy and wondering how they would represent the Craker’s blue bits 🙂

  5. I actually just read The Handmaid’s Tale for the first time recently. I can’t believe it took me so long to get around to it. What a brilliant book!

  6. Fiona says:

    The Handmaid’s Tale is probably my favourite book, it’s certainly my favourite Atwood book that I’ve read (although like someone else mentioned, The Edible Woman is also brilliant!)

    • It’s been ages since I read it (…nine years?!), so I really need to go back to it, but images from it still haunt my head. It’s definitely a book that stays with you.

  7. Miriam C says:

    Would absolutely love to read this book! Its actually on my list! A signed edition would be fabulous!

    Love your blog and hope all is well!

      • Miriam C says:

        Yes! Its been quite the journey really…sometimes I sit an wonder about why I went back to school. haha. But I do love it! And I’ve seen on facebook that you’re doing amazing things!! But even way back in elementary school I always knew you’d be such a talented writer!

      • Thank you!! It’s so nice to see that people from Peabody are doing what they love and breaking into their industries; it makes it feel like it was all worthwhile. 🙂

    • Ooh, I read that in January and didn’t like it as much as Oryx and Crake…maybe because the events were basically the same. Have you read the final volume, MaddAddam?

  8. Stephanie D says:

    I have actually never read anything by Atwood, but she is in cell number 97 of my “SO MANY BOOKS” Excel spreadsheet, which contains the ever-expanding list of things I need to read. And, while I love reading, and want to cultivate a glorious library, books are tragically expensive. So free ones are always appreciated!

  9. James Misson says:

    I’ve just read Possession by A.S. Byatt, which won the Booker prize 10 years before The Blind Assassin, and was amazed at the similarities between them (and to an extent with ‘The Luminaries’ by Eleanor Catton) that ‘Booker Prize Winner’ now feels more like a genre than an accolade. Anyway, The Blind Assassin is my fav by Atwood. Always nice when someone can make scifi sentimental. Now give me that book.

    • I LOVED The Blind Assassin too (and I can’t believe you hadn’t read Possession til now. Dude! It is possibly my favorite book of all time.) I see your point about the similarities, especially structurally. Which is why it would be so cool to see this year’s Booker Prize go to a different sort of novel. Not that those kinds aren’t amazing and effective, but there should be more diversity in narrative style, as well as in authors, rewarded by prizes. It’s been ages since I read The Blind Assassin, as well; I ought to refresh my memory…

    • Tarzanman, congrats, you won! Please get in touch with me via email (eleanor.m.franzen at gmail dot com) ASAP and I’ll be able to get the book sent to you.

  10. I’m a F&SF writer who is utterly ashamed to admit that I’ve never read Atwood! However, I’ve been taking my writing more seriously this year, and with that my reading, and Atwood is top of my list. I can’t wait to crack on with “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “The Heart Goes Last”. I think that reading Atwood’s short fiction would be an amazing opportunity for me to study a mistress at work. 🙂

  11. Irene N says:

    I’m constantly torn between anger that I’ll never get to read Scribbler Moon and the satisfaction of knowing that Margaret Atwood, queen of almost all things, was chosen for the Future Library project. (I would have staged a protest if she hadn’t been asked to participate.) There was a wonderful interview with her about the project and her novel a few months ago on WNYC’s On The Media.

  12. lindarumsey says:

    I loved the Handmaid’s Tale when it came out, but can’t remember much about it now. Time for a reread I think!

  13. Ooh! Atwood is one of my top ten favorite authors. I came this close to writing my master’s thesis on her work. I loved MaddAddam and the character of Toby so much I cried when I finished the book. Also, I love love love Lamy fountain pens. I have three clear ones and one blue one. A yellow one would be most excellent! Thanks for host this! 🙂

  14. Emma Douglas says:

    I am currently reading The Handmaid’s Tale, my first Margaret Atwood book. I’m loving it and can’t wait to read more of her work!

  15. Ash K. says:

    This book sounds just wonderful! I’m new to the realm of Margaret Atwood. I’ve kept hearing her name over the years, reading about her in articles, etc. but I’ve never read her work. I came across a used copy of The Handmaid’s Tale just the other day and decided I’d give it a shot. It’ll be the first book of hers I read, but from everything I’ve learned about her work, I know for sure that it won’t be the last. I’m definitely going to check out Stone Mattress, whether I win it (fingers crossed!) or not. So far, all the stories seem like ones I’ll enjoy.

  16. Caroline says:

    I always find it amusing that “The Handmaids Tale” gets “promoted” from science fiction to proper literature – because everybody knows that people who write proper literature can’t also write science fiction….

  17. vicky haining says:

    I studied ‘The Handmaids Tale’ for my English Literature A Levels. I really loved the book but was absolutely gutted when I got my lowest ever grade in the exam. If it wasn’t for that grade, I would have got 4 straight A’s!! 😦

  18. Maxine G says:

    I originally came across Margaret Atwood’s writing in her anthology ‘Murder in the Dark’ – a really interesting collection which has made me a committed reader of her books

  19. komal says:

    I’ve never read any Margaret Atwood book but The Handmaid’s Tale is high up on my books-to-buy-asap along with The Blind Assassin. I do own a copy of The Cat’s Eye which I’m going to get to next month and I’m quite looking forward to that!
    Thank you for the giveaway! (I hope its not just UK only and that the rest of us commonwealth people also have a chance but if it is, please don’t count my entry. Also, you’re totally doing this giveaway right!)

    • Thank you! The response has been quite overwhelming. I think it’s global–if not, and the winner is non-UK, I’ll get the Virago folks to send the book to me and then I’ll post it onwards 🙂

  20. I’d love to win this!! I’ve only ever read The Handmaid’s Tale, but I just listened to the most hilarious, informative, dry-as-a-bone-witty interview with Margaret Atwood on the Guardian Books podcast this morning. I’d really like to start reading some of her other work, and this seems like the perfect place to start. Plus OMG SIGNED BOOKS.

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