Handmaid’s Tale Sequel Coming, ‘Unconnected’ to Show

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More than three decades later, fans who were left hanging at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale are getting a sequel from author Margaret Atwood. The Testaments, set 15 years after the events of Handmaid, will be released next September, Atwood and her publisher announced Wednesday. The Testaments will be “unconnected” to the Hulu series based on Handmaid, per a press release obtained by CNN; the third season of the Hulu show is currently in production, and the series has already gone beyond the plotline depicted in Atwood’s book, which was published in 1985.

The Testaments “is set 15 years after Offred’s final scene and is narrated by three female characters,“ Atwood tweeted. She added in a statement, “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.“

Book Review: ‘Rediscovering Travel’

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“Rediscovering Travel: A Guide for the Globally Curious” (Liveright), by Seth Kugel

Love travel? Love books? Love books about travel?

If the preceding statements are true, do pick up a copy of “Rediscovering Travel: A Guide for the Globally Curious,” written by former New York Times’ “Frugal Traveler” Seth Kugel.

Whether or not you’re familiar with Kugel’s amusing, yet never cloying writing; his self-deprecating and hilarious storytelling; and his inner struggle between his fear of talking to strangers and his compulsion for out-of-the-way adventures, “Rediscovering Travel” will feel as comfortable as your favorite, wooly pair of socks. He’ll charm your pants off with his amusing and endearing anecdotes about his travels, near and far.

About South Carolina: “Even if you’ve just eaten, you don’t pass up a barbecue buffet at a place called Hog Heaven that has a sign featuring three pigs in bibs and halos.”

About the weather: “A travel day that turns rainy is like a piece of chocolate I’ve dropped on the floor: It’s significantly less appealing, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to throw it away.”

But despite Kugel’s delightful writing, his book doesn’t fulfill his publisher’s intended promise of becoming an “indispensable” travel companion that conveys “how to make the most of new digital technologies without being shackled to them.”

His advice encouraging travelers to visit places off the well-worn paths, to talk to real people rather than to rely on websites and apps, and to steer clear of chain restaurants and hotels, seems a tad obvious. And his chapters exploring crime and health statistics, OTAs (online travel agencies) and consumer review websites like Yelp and TripAdvisor feel out of place.

It may be best to accept the highly readable “Rediscovering Travel” for what it is — a funny, inspiring and well-crafted collection of travel essays.

Barack Obama surprise guest at Michelle Obama’s book show

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Former President Barack Obama practically brought the house down at Michelle Obama’s book show in Washington.

The former first lady is currently touring the country promoting her memoir, “Becoming,” and participated in a conversation Saturday night moderated by her longtime friend and former Obama White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.

When the conversation shifted toward Mrs. Obama’s feelings about her husband, Jarrett announced a “special guest” and Barack Obama came on stage carrying a bouquet of pink roses for his wife.

The crowd at Capital One Arena leapt to its feet.

Jarrett asked him what about Michelle Obama captured his heart when they met at a Chicago law firm where she was his mentor.

Barack Obama said she was “one of a kind,” strong and honest, and someone he knew he could always count on.

He also said he knew that if she was the mother of his children their offspring would be “extraordinary.”

Library Finds the Actual Books Bram Stoker Used for Dracula

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Back in the 1890s, somebody spent a lot of time in the London Library reading about werewolves and the supernatural. This person also committed a cardinal sin of library goers—he defaced the books with his own notes in the margins and folded down the corners of pages. But as the Londonist reports, the library is willing to forgive and forget in this case because they say the offender turns out to be none other than Bram Stoker, author of Dracula. In a nifty bit of sleuthing, the library says it has found 26 volumes in its collection used by Stoker for his vampire research—meaning the actual books he used, not just the titles. For example, in one of the books, An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, Stoker folded the corner of page 17 and wrote “Dracula” in the margin. He apparently used the travel book to help describe his character’s castle.

“We can establish beyond reasonable doubt that numerous books still on our shelves are the very copies that he was using to help write and research his masterpiece,“ says a library official, per the Bookseller. To figure all this out, a professor at Exeter University went through Stoker’s previously published notes and outlines for the book. Then he cross-referenced those notes with old volumes still in the library—the Irish Stoker lived in London and had been member at the time—and discovered the defaced books. One of them is The Book of Werewolves, and the scribbles in the margin notes closely gibe with details eventually used by Stoker in his own iconic book. “I am in no doubt that Bram Stoker used these very copies for Dracula,“ says professor Nick Groom.

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