'The Handmaid's Tale' Sequel Is Coming Next Year — Here's What To Read While You Wait

by Melissa Ragsdale

Last week, Margaret Atwood announced the sequel to The Handmaid's Tale. Coming out next year, The Testaments will take place 15 years after the events of the first book. If you're completely freaking out about this new development, you're certainly alone. In a statement about the sequel, Atwood said: "Dear Readers: Everything you've ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we've been living in."

The downside to this news? You have to wait until Sept. 2019 to get your hands on the sequel. While in your excitement you might have the inclination to re-read The Handmaid's Tale (I would particularly recommend that you re-read the epilogue, which might be the most important part of the book) at least a few times, you will probably also want to read some other feminist literary fiction and nonfiction. Luckily, there are plenty of options.

After all, The Handmaid's Tale is a fantastic book, but it is not the only novel that explores issues of reproductive rights, personhood, sexual assault, and more. Below, I've recommended eight books to read while you wait for The Handmaid's Tale sequel, The Testaments:

'Those Who Knew' by Idra Novey

This novel takes place on an island country, ten years after the collapse of a U.S.-supported regime. When a young woman is killed, Lena suspects that a powerful senator (with whom she had a harrowing experience decades before) is involved. As the story unravels, Lena becomes consumed by a single question: Why didn't she speak up then?

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'Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger' by Soraya Chemaly

Soraya Chemaly delivers a powerful feminist manifesto about women's anger — and how to channel it into political action — in Rage Becomes Her.

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'Woman World' by Aminder Dhaliwal

This graphic novel, set in a world without men, is sort of the opposite of The Handmaid's Tale, and it will definitely give you a good laugh. In Woman World, a genetic defect has made all men go extinct. In the new, post-apocalyptic, feminine society, a cast of characters grapple with life, love, anxiety, and their curiosity about the patriarchy.

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'The Gilda Stories' by Jewelle L. Gómez

If you're into the supernatural and historical fiction, you need to pick up this beloved 1991 novel by one of the foremothers of Afrofuturism. (It's being adapted for television as you read this.) This book contains a series of vignettes about a young woman escaping from slavery in the 1850s, who finds kinship with a group of vampires.

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'Vox' by Christina Dalcher

This harrowing book is set in a dystpoian version of the U.S. in which women have lost their right to speak. The novel follows one woman as she grapples with this new order, and fights to change it.

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'I'm Afraid of Men' by Vivek Shraya

In I'm Afraid of Men, trans artist Vivek Shraya explores masculinity and how it was imposed on her as a child and how it continues to affect her life. This an essential read that explores misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia in important ways.

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'Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine' by Kelly Sue DeConnick

This graphic novel series takes place in a futuristic society in which disobedient women are routinely sent to a violent prison planet. Like The Handmaid's Tale, this book is a disturbing glimpse into a future that could easily become a reality.

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'Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture' edited by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay collected a series of first-person essays about rape, sexual harassment, and abuse in this anthology, a meaningful exploration of the culture of violence against women and its pervasive effects.

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