Book Review: The Handmaid’s Tale

Recently, I joined a book club run by one of my best friends which focuses on promoting critical thinking, especially in terms of the political and social issues of today. The book club is called Books for the Resistance.

We kicked-off the book club with a classic: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Published in 1985, this book continues to resonate with every new wave of readers. It’s a striking look at social issues including sexism, reproductive rights, classism, environmental issues, and the sometimes at-odds struggle to feel safe while also feeling free.

The book follows Offred, a so-called Handmaid, who is one of the few women in Gilead (formerly the United States) who is physically capable of bearing children. As a Handmaid, she is assigned to a family-of-sorts, where her sole role is to conceive a child from the Commander. There are few freedoms in Gilead, especially for a Handmaid. Communication with the outside world is controlled by the militant government, and may be entirely propaganda and lies. Societal roles are strict, inspired by Puritan values.

The details of the establishment of Gilead are scarce, told second-hand through Offred. Some details the reader is given include the fact that there was some sort of coup that overthrew the previous government; at one point, all bank accounts belonging to women were frozen, forcing them to depend on the men in their lives; and issues infiltrated society ranging from environmental disasters to a strong cultural shift against sexual and reproductive freedoms.

Is it any wonder this book continues to resonate with people? It takes these issues to the extreme, and forces the reader to take a good hard look at them. It’s not a pretty sight, but Atwood weaves hope throughout the story. There are whispers of dissent, rumors of an Underground Railroad-type system helping people escape to Canada. The tale ultimately seems to view society in an optimistic light: things can take a turn for the worse, but they will never stay that way. Society will find a way through, to move forward. The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

Have you read The Handmaid’s Tale? What did you think? Are you excited for the Hulu series?

And Now For Something Completely Different…ColourPop Ultra Glossy Lips Review

“And now for something completely different…” – John Cleese, Monty Python

This series of blog posts is for posts that don’t really match the rest of my blog (i.e. they aren’t related to writing, reading, steampunk, etc) but that I wanted to post anyway. In this edition, I’ll be reviewing the new ColourPop Ultra Glossy Lips (to be fair, this post will relate back to steampunk a bit; read below to see!)

I was excited when I saw ColourPop was coming out with lip glosses. ColourPop, a company based in California in the US which is cruelty-free and mostly vegan, is one of my favorite cosmetics companies. I was specifically excited about the lip gloss because it’s a welcome break from the super-matte trend that’s been happening lately (nothing against matte lips, they just aren’t for me and my dry-and-angry lips).

The Ultra Glossy Lips, according to ColourPop’s website:

Our Ultra Glossy Lip provides extreme shine with a cushion-like comfortable feel. Absolutely NO stickiness or tackiness! This lip gloss smoothes and conditions the lips with emollient ingredients leaving your lips looking fuller, healthier, and super kissable.

I would agree that the formula is very comfortable, though I wouldn’t say there’s NO stickiness or tackiness. There isn’t much, though.

I ordered 3 colors in 3 different finishes: Finder’s Keepers (créme), Dropout (sheer), and Cheat Code (metallic). Here’s what they look like on the website:

Upon opening my package, I was immediately saddened to discover I wasn’t sent what I ordered! I got Finder’s Keepers and Cheat Code, but not Dropout. In its place I had Master Plan (another créme).

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As you can see, it’s very similar to Finder’s Keepers. I reached out to ColourPop to correct my order, but in the meantime, I’ll review what I have. I’ll probably come back and edit this post once I receive Dropout so that I can review that one too.

First up: Finder’s Keepers. This color is one I gravitate toward for everyday-wear. It’s subtle but still adds color to my lips so I don’t look washed-out or dead (a common problem when my lips are dry and sad during the winter or during allergy season (which you may note covers the majority of the year…)). This lip gloss has a good amount of pigment, and overall looks pretty nice!

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Next is Master Plan. Just as I suspected by looking at the tube, it’s very similar to Finder’s Keepers. It’s just a tad darker and a tad more purple. It’s definitely still a color I would gravitate toward, so I’ll probably wear it in the fall (it’s not quite dark enough to qualify as “vampy” but it’s as close as I’ll get on a workday!).

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And finally, the element of Steampunk I promised:

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See? I told you there’d be Steampunk! This is Cheat Code, and it is awesome. It’s very pigmented and very metallic. I’ll be wearing this to the Enchanted City III: A Brave New World next month (where I’ll also be having a book signing for Grigory’s Gadget at Market Block Books!)

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Overall I really like these lip glosses. I’ll forgive the order mistake, since this was a brand new line that just launched and I know ColourPop gets inundated with orders when they come out with new stuff!

We’ll be back to our regularly-scheduled programming next week, when I’ll probably explain how I failed at Camp NaNoWriMo again…

UPDATE

Huzzah! My inaccurate order has been corrected. I’ve received not one, but TWO lip glosses in the color Dropout!

This is a deep dark shade in a sheer finish. I built up the color a bit below, but it can easily be applied to be sheerer.

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