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Six Novels About Dystopias

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Some people love murder mysteries.  Others can’t put down chick lit.  I absolutely love novels about dystopias

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Thank you kindly, Wikipedia.

 

I don’t know why I’m drawn to dystopia novels.  It could be the dramatic tale of crisis and suppression.  Maybe it’s the way that dystopian environments draw out the best – and worst – in characters.  Or perhaps it’s because I was born in 1984, the ultimate year of the dystopia!

 

Here are my six favorite novels about dystopias:

 

1984 by George Orwell: In the (at the time) distant future – 1984 – the society of Oceania is ruled by the oppressive Party, who tightly control the population with surveillance and brainwashing.  Individuality is outlawed.  The main character, Winston, hates the Party and soon finds himself – and his love, Julia – under attack.

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Lord of the Flies by William Golding.  Funnily enough, when I was 11 years old, my mom gave me this book in my Easter basket.  I don’t think she knew what it was really about – a group of British boys are stranded on an island and must choose between civilization and savagery.   People die.  Pigs are murdered.  It’s intense.  Not Easter basket material in the slightest.  But still – a very, very good book.

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: The Republic of Gilead rose out of the ashes of America.  The military killed the President and most of Congress and took control of the government.  The women and minorities’ assets are stripped away, and fertile women are forced into sexual slavery to help maintain the dwindling population.  I read this book in high school and was instantly transfixed.  Fun fact:  I will always remember the line “I laid in bed, like buttered toast” (paraphrasing), which the narrator spoke after putting on butter as moisturizer… It really stuck with me for some reason.

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins:  I’ve already offered a GLOWING review of this amazing trilogy.  The Hunger Games describes how the nation of Panem developed from nuclear war in North America.  The Capital controls and enslaves 13 Districts and once a year, pits a boy and a girl from each District against each other in a duel to the death.

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Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood:  Another Atwood book.  This book tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic world characterized by extreme wealth and poverty, commercialization of sex and violence, and the development of genetically modified creatures and diseases. 

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Brave New World by Aldous Huxley:  One of the ‘original’ dystopian novels, Brave New World pretty much defined the genre.  In the not-so-distant future, people are conceived and ‘hatched’ in a laboratory.  The society is divided into 5 castes:  Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, or Epsilon.  Bernard is of the Alpha caste but feels a sense of total emptiness at the lack of true feeling or individuality prompted in the society.

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Here are some of my other ‘book collection’ reviews:

 

7 Inspiring Non-Fiction Fitness Books

9 Intriguing Food Philosophy Books

7 Great Books to Delight and Motivate

Various individual book reviews

 

Do you LOVE any of these dystopian novels?  Am I missing out on any excellent tales of revolution?

{ 177 comments }

 

Leave a Comment

  • Kelley September 21, 2011, 10:23 pm

    The Giver is considered dystopian by some people, me being one of them, but one of my faves!!!

    Reply
    • Emma September 22, 2011, 1:19 am

      I was going to suggest the giver as well! Hands down one of the best books I have ever read.

      Reply
      • Emily @ Relishments September 22, 2011, 5:21 am

        I was going to say the exact same thing!

        Reply
        • Janelle September 22, 2011, 9:33 am

          Agreed! The Giver is in my Top 3 favorite books of all time!

          Reply
        • Caitlin September 22, 2011, 10:11 am

          i *think* i’ve read the giver but i’m not sure – must pick up!

          Reply
    • Therese September 22, 2011, 9:39 am

      Ditto! I was offended while reading it because with my congenital hearing loss, I wouldn’t exist in that society. But it was certainly thought-provoking and I’d definitely recommend it. Also, if you like Nathaniel Hawthorne he wrote a novel called The Blithedale Romance. Kind of a gothic/dystopic/fictional account of his actual experience on Brook Farm (a real-life attempt at a utopian society).

      Reply
    • michelle September 22, 2011, 10:32 am

      i love that book too!

      Reply
    • makayla October 3, 2011, 6:28 am

      I think you should put up Divergent too. It’s an amazing book!

      Reply
  • Dione September 21, 2011, 10:27 pm

    You should read the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld if you love dystopian fiction. I also have a love of this genre. I’m glad I’m not alone in this.:)

    Reply
  • LindseyAnn September 21, 2011, 10:32 pm

    LOVE Dystopian Lit. I’ve read all of those books multiple times, except for the 2nd Atwood one you posted, and I will definitely be checking that out now!

    Reply
  • Christine @ BookishlyB September 21, 2011, 10:32 pm

    Fahrenheit 451! I’m reading it with my sophomores right now and they (and I) really like it. Quick and easy. Definitely check it out! Love this post :)

    Reply
  • Emily September 21, 2011, 10:35 pm

    I’ve read the first three books and agree with your reviews on all of them.

    Strangely enough, I’ve never really thought of “distopian” as a genre. But, you have a point — and I guess I’m drawn to them, too!

    Reply
  • Penny September 21, 2011, 10:40 pm

    I have had Oryx and Crake on my bookshelf for years!! I need to get it out and read it!!!
    I love your taste in books.
    I am getting ready to start the “Uglies” series by Westerfeild very soon.
    May I also suggest the book “The House of the Scorpion” by Nancy Farmer. I think you may like that.
    I LOVE BOOKS. They are like an addictive drug to me.

    Reply
  • Army Amy* September 21, 2011, 10:41 pm

    I adore Brave New World. I think it was one of the best books I ever read in school. I also agree that The Giver is ah-mazing! I was changed after reading it, no joke.*

    Reply
  • Lauren @ fullmeasureofhappiness.com September 21, 2011, 10:42 pm

    I love, love, love a brave new world–you should read anything by Ayn Rand, but go for Anthem for a short dystopian read! Really, really good.

    Reply
    • Jennie @ While My Button Sleeps September 21, 2011, 10:51 pm

      I was going to say that too! Check out Anthem! The character names are tricky but it’s a good, quick read. Thanks to your recommendation, Caitlin, I am obsessed with the Hunger Games series. I blew through the first two books in about three days and am going to the bookstore when it opens for the last one! Obsessed!!! Have you read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series yet? I can’t remember if you’ve mentioned that series but it’s another great one!!!

      Reply
      • Caitlin September 22, 2011, 10:11 am

        I havent read GWADT but I really want to!

        Reply
  • jess September 21, 2011, 10:43 pm

    I am just about to pick up the book “divergent” by veronica roth – it is a young adult/hunger games type book that has gotten good reviews. amazon calls it one of there best books of the year so far.

    I have also heard good things about the book “matched” by ally condie- also young adult.

    I recently picked up the handmaid’s tale at a used book store per your recommendation.

    Reply
    • Kim in MD September 22, 2011, 4:01 pm

      I’m a lover of the Hunger Games trilogy too – and I LOVED “Divergent” and “Matched”!! Also, check out the “Wings” series by Aprilynne Pike – more “Twilight” than “Hunger Games” but still incredibly addicting! :)

      Reply
    • Meari October 2, 2011, 6:35 pm

      I second your recommendations. I have a friend that teaches middle school English, she hooks me up with the best new dystopian ficton!

      Reply
  • Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine September 21, 2011, 10:44 pm

    I am completely obsessed with the Hunger Games. I left my Nook (it’s like a Kindle) charger in Boston and I haven’t been able to read it for like a week! The charger is on its way, but I am in total suspense waiting!!

    Reply
  • Morgan @ Endorphaholic September 21, 2011, 10:45 pm

    Oh my gosh, have you read Farenheit 451? You would LOVE it!!

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 22, 2011, 10:12 am

      I can’t remember! I feel like I read it in school.

      Reply
  • Ashley September 21, 2011, 10:49 pm

    I should really get around to reading 1984 since I was born that year, too. I love a good novel, but I prefer ones that are more realistic (like Twilight). LOL! No, but seriously, I have been on the waiting list at the library for Hunger Games for like 3 weeks. Ahh!!

    Reply
    • Melissa September 21, 2011, 10:55 pm

      It is definitely worth the wait! Make sure you reserve the 2nd and 3rd book in the series, too! You will not want to wait 3 weeks between each book.

      Reply
  • Dori September 21, 2011, 10:50 pm

    I’m with you, I love these. I haven’t read Atwood, so I will absolutely be doing that now (especially now that I got a Kindle and need new books!). I’ve read the others. My favorite dystopia is Anthem by Ayn Rand. Read this in high school and was completely transfixed. I got a 98 on that test (yes, I remember) which was unheard of from that teacher. I LOVED it.

    I recently read an interesting dystopia called The Unit. They take women at 50 and men at 60 who have no children or family who need them (they are dispensable), and make them live in a contained world where they have to participate in experiments and donate their organs until they die from the “final donation.”

    Reply
  • Emily September 21, 2011, 10:52 pm

    Longtime reader but have never commented-I am also so fascinated by dystopian lit! I agree with the previous ladies who suggested Ayn Rand’s Anthem.

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 22, 2011, 10:12 am

      :) yay glad there are other nutties out there like me!

      Reply
  • Katherine September 21, 2011, 10:52 pm

    have you read atwood’s “the year of the flood?” it continue’s the story from oryx and crake, but from a much different perspective. i love all these books!

    Reply
    • michelle September 22, 2011, 10:34 am

      i was going to suggest Year Of The Flood too. I just read it and loved it!

      Reply
      • corajane September 23, 2011, 5:55 pm

        ditto ditto. Year of the Flood, happens simultaneously as Oryx and Crake, with a female POV.awesome.

        Reply
  • Melissa September 21, 2011, 10:52 pm

    I just finished Catching Fire tonight – it was so good! I am definitely a fan of dystopian novels. I’ll be adding your picks to my reading list, Caitlin!

    Reply
  • Mel @ Mel a la Via Paradiso September 21, 2011, 10:54 pm

    I’ll be the billionth person to echo the awesomeness that is The Hunger Games! I’m generally a historical fiction kind of girl though. Sidenote: I made some savory oatmeal for dinner tonight and LOVED it. The family was a little skeptical, but I got my little sister to try it and she enjoyed it too. The rest of them don’t know what they’re missing! I kept saying “the secret is the cheese!”

    Reply
  • Sam September 21, 2011, 10:55 pm

    OOHH I LOVE dystopias!!! In fact I have read all 6 of these book and love them all! The year of the flood is also so good. I adore margaret atwood, ADORE! I want to be her haha. I am so grateful to my high school for giving me the chance to read the handmaids tale, lord of the flies and 1984 in high school!

    Reply
  • LJ September 21, 2011, 10:57 pm

    You might like The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It’s a story about the love between a man and his son in a very scary, post-apocalyptic world.

    Reply
  • Nicole September 21, 2011, 11:00 pm

    I love those types of novels, too. I’m thoroughly impressed with myself for having read all those you mentioned. The Handmaid’s Tale got me on a Margaret Atwood kick, so I ended up reading a bunch of her stuff. Looking forward to reading everyone’s suggestions!

    Reply
  • Holly @ The Runny Egg September 21, 2011, 11:02 pm

    I love books like this! The Hunger Games was amazing and I loved Lord of the Flies when I read it in high school. You should check out Matched — I just finished it a few weeks ago and loved it!

    Reply
  • Dee @ GF Grad Nut September 21, 2011, 11:02 pm

    Does Catch-22 count? It’s a phenomenal book, if you can get through it!

    Reply
    • Amanda September 22, 2011, 2:56 am

      I <3 Catch-22! It is a bit dystopic when you think about it.

      Reply
  • Dana September 21, 2011, 11:03 pm

    You just listed some of my favorite books! Another favorite…The Giver!!

    Reply
  • Brittany P.S. September 21, 2011, 11:05 pm

    I am 100% enamored with dystopian novels. I plowed through the hunger games TRILOGY in four days. Those four days were supposed to involve textbooks and studying. nope. just Katniss Everdeen. ALSO enamored with dystopian movies and BAMF heroines. :-)

    Reply
  • katie @ KatieDid September 21, 2011, 11:07 pm

    I also LOVE dystopian novels. The Giver got me hooked back in 4th grade. I also loved Lord of the Flies. I’m so glad you put this list together, The Handmaids tale will be next on my list.

    Reply
  • Laura September 21, 2011, 11:12 pm

    I know it’s not a book..but have you seen the movie “The Island” with Scarlett Johansson? I think you’d enjoy it!!!

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 22, 2011, 10:13 am

      YES! So good.

      Reply
  • Lisa September 21, 2011, 11:13 pm

    I love Maragret Atwood – and the Handmaid’s tale is one of my all time fav novels!!

    Reply
  • Ashley September 21, 2011, 11:15 pm

    This doesn’t have anything to do with your post, but I just wanted to say that today I learned you were coming to IUP (my school!) in October to speak about Operation Beautiful and it made my day! :)

    Reply
  • Stephanie September 21, 2011, 11:17 pm

    I love Margaret Atwood’s dystopian/science fiction books! Handmaid’s Tale is my all-time favourite book. I found the description of dystopia coming to be was really chilling.

    A few other really good dystopian books (not to be missed!):
    - Exodus by Julie Bertagna
    - The Road by Cormac McCarthy
    - The Giver by Lois Lowry
    - The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Famer
    - Feed by M.T. Anderson

    Reply
    • Angie September 22, 2011, 7:36 am

      Good call on the last two suggestions! I teach high school English and often recommend those.

      Reply
  • Celia September 21, 2011, 11:18 pm

    Dystopias are my favorite type of book. I LOVED the Hunger Games!!! Glad to see two books on your list (Handmaids Tale and Oryx and Crake) that I haven’t read yet :)

    You might like The Uglies series too if you liked Hunger Games!

    Reply
  • Amy September 21, 2011, 11:19 pm

    I agree with the earlier comment – as the creator of Operation Beautiful, you NEED to read the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield (Uglies/Pretties/Specials). It’s about a future where everyone gets an operation at 16 to make them “pretty.” It hits very close to home. Also, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi is excellent. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of that one, but you can buy it in November!

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 22, 2011, 10:14 am

      I will definitely check this out! Sounds intriguing.

      Reply
  • Amanda September 21, 2011, 11:20 pm

    Oh my goodness YES! I don’t know why either, but I’m totally addicted to dystopia novels too! My absolute favorite two are lord of the flies and 1984, especially lord of the flies though. Especially the part where the characters meet the lord of the flies :)

    Reply
  • Mary September 21, 2011, 11:21 pm

    I just finished the Hunger Games trilogy tonight (after starting them a week ago– I was hooked!) and this is perfect timing on your post! I was absolutely transfixed by the story, and would love to read more dystopian novels. Thanks, Caitlin! Also, I agree on one of the previous posters, you MUST read Fahrenheit 451. I read it in high school and it’s still one of my favorite books to this day!

    Reply
  • Kate (What Kate is Cooking) September 21, 2011, 11:35 pm

    Brave New World is my all time favorite book! I don’t re-read books too often, but I re-read that at least once a year. I love it!

    Reply
  • Chelsea September 21, 2011, 11:35 pm

    Just added like 3 new books to my goodreads to-read list thanks to you =D

    Reply
  • Sara September 21, 2011, 11:36 pm

    You should read Divergent by Veronica Roth. I couldn’t put it down! And it’s the first of a trilogy! I’m so excited.

    Reply
  • rebecca September 21, 2011, 11:48 pm

    I love margaret atwood. Her latest, Year of the Flood, is the prologue to Oryx and Crake. It is definitely a more traditionally, easily understandable book than O&C, which I found confusing. My favorite Atwood of all time is The Robber Bride. MA always has the lines that stick, in this one, I always remember her describing a character as like “an iron fist in a velvet glove.”

    Anyway, it is more apocalypse than dystopian, but Stephen King’s “The Stand” is a great read. Scary though!

    Reply
  • rebecca September 21, 2011, 11:52 pm

    Oops… p.s. I saw a comment above suggesting the movie, “The Island”, which I saw & found… meh. But years later I came across the book & though I can’t remember much about it, I remember thinking, “holy shit! This is SO good.”

    Reply
  • Lindsay September 21, 2011, 11:54 pm

    Kurt Vonnegut is good for dystopia- try Player Piano first!

    Reply
  • Shirtless Ben September 21, 2011, 11:57 pm

    Never Let Me Go. Great movie, great novel.

    Reply
  • Julia H. @ The Petite Spiel September 22, 2011, 12:09 am

    Ever read “Anthem” by Ayn Rand? It’s a short dystopia book that I read in AP English senior year, and actually enjoyed! (Imagine that…enjoying required reading, haha)

    Reply
  • Janice September 22, 2011, 12:11 am

    Hah! On first glance, I read that as 7 NON-INSPIRING fitness books! Now wouldn’t that be an interesting review?!

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 22, 2011, 10:15 am

      hahaha yes. i should do that one next :)

      Reply
  • Dominique September 22, 2011, 12:22 am

    I’ve had to read the first three you listed for school and loved them all but A Handmaid’s Tale. I’m not sure why I’m not too crazy about Atwood, but I’m just not. Perhaps I should give her other stuff a try since they sound good (esp. Oryx and Crate). I also love The Giver. I had to read that one for school too and thought it was just great. I’ve been hearing a lot of about The Hunger Games (probably because it’s being made into a movie) so I should probably start reading that too. Thanks for the suggestions!

    Reply
  • Katie September 22, 2011, 12:23 am

    I used to have a pretty intense love/hate relationship with dystopias. They frightened me on a really deep level, but I just couldn’t get enough of them. 1984 pretty much traumatized me, and since I’ve stayed away… but I know my morbid curiosity will pick back up in a couple years and I’ll probably go through another dystopia phase.

    Reply
  • Jess@atasteofconfidence September 22, 2011, 12:41 am

    I also love dystopias…the Holocaust sparked my interest in the 3rd grade. Margaret Atwood is the bomb:)

    Reply
  • Rachel September 22, 2011, 1:03 am

    Caitlin, you definitely have to read The Giver at some point. Most people, including me, seem to have been introduced to the book when they were younger, but I recently found it on my bookshelf, re-read it, and wow…it makes so much more of an emotional impact now and I can understand it so much better now that I’m older. Highly recommend it! :)

    Reply
  • AmandaonMaui September 22, 2011, 1:04 am

    You might also like this really short novel by Isaac Asimov: The Currents of Space. http://www.amazon.com/Currents-Space-Isaac-Asimov/dp/0765319179/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316667537&sr=8-1

    I just finished reading it, and I really liked it for a quick read. It’s actually less than 200 pages.

    If you’re into movies about dystopia, check out Equilibrium. It’s about the future and people aren’t allowed to have feelings.

    Reply
  • AmandaonMaui September 22, 2011, 1:04 am

    Oh, and the most recent Torchwood: Miracle Day series is extremely dystopic.

    Reply
  • Anne @strawberryjampackedlife September 22, 2011, 1:25 am

    SUCKS TO YOUR ASSMAR! Ugh, I hated reading “Lord of the Flies” in high school. But I also loved other books like “The Giver” and “Brave New World”. I think that your affinity to those kinds of books are like my affinity to “end of the world” movies. I just love them. I don’t know why.

    Reply
    • Katherina @ Zephyr Runs September 22, 2011, 9:47 am

      I recently reread The Giver and am glad I did. I wish at the end of high school you could receive a list of all the books you were forced to read because I think rereading them in adulthood is more enjoyable :)

      Reply
  • Kate K September 22, 2011, 1:49 am

    In college, I took a class called “Searching for Utopia” and we researched intentional communities throughout history as well as read quite a few utopian and dystopian novels as well. We read quite a few from your list but one I would add that I adored was Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy. Not to be completely cliched but this book changed my life and changed my way of thinking–politically, spiritually, even in regard to gender. http://tinyurl.com/3vm4bxk

    Reply
  • Marina September 22, 2011, 2:02 am

    It’s like you’ve read my mind with this post :D
    I absolutely love dystopias, and the books you’ve mentioned there are awesome. Well, the ones I’ve read, the ones I didn’t are on my waiting list :)) Can’t wait to start on Atwood, she seems like a really interesting author!

    Reply
  • Cynthia (It All Changes) September 22, 2011, 2:05 am

    I prefer teen lit dystopic novels. They aren’t as gruesome as some adult fiction. But I was hooked after 1984 when I read it in 8th grade. They are the make you think kind of books.

    Reply
  • Edwina September 22, 2011, 2:33 am

    I

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  • Amanda September 22, 2011, 2:54 am

    How about Fahrenheit 451? I looooove that one! Dystopia novels are one of my faves. I still have to read 1984 (isn’t it sad that I haven’t read that one???) Oh and The Giver is UNREAL. You can read it in a day. I really need to re-read Brave New World, so good!

    Reply
  • Rachel miller September 22, 2011, 2:59 am

    This doesn’t exactly fit into the genre, but I th I’m from your taste in books you would enjoy A Clockwork Orange – pretty scary and intense portrayal of a futuristic society, it’s a (dark) classic!

    Reply
    • Rachel September 22, 2011, 7:32 am

      Oh that totally fits!!!! Great suggestion

      Reply
  • Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting September 22, 2011, 3:55 am

    I love most of these, and would also recommend anything by John Wyndham. The Chrysalids and The Day of the Triffids are both tremendous reads.

    Reply
  • Maggie September 22, 2011, 5:37 am

    I’m with you on a lot of these books! Have you read Divergent by Veronica Roth? It’s fairly new and the first in a series of 3. The other two aren’t out yet, but I couldn’t put this one down!

    Reply
  • Mari September 22, 2011, 5:51 am

    Loved Lord of the Flies, and 1984, so disturbing though… Clearly need to look into Margaret Atwood, I’ve been very close to getting Oryx and Crake quite a few times, I should just take the plunge.

    A book that I adored even though it was dark and most definitely dystopian is Mara and Dann – and Adventure, by Doris Lessing. Although set in the future during an ice age, the descripion of the fall of civilisation through greed, over-exploitation of nature and war, as well as the overarching themes of sexism, racism and disporas due to climate change are only too familiar. Definitely recommended!

    Reply
  • Emily September 22, 2011, 5:57 am

    You should definitely read The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. It is teachnically a young adult novel, but it is absolutely enthralling and captivating. Check it out… I highly recommend it!

    Reply
  • Polly September 22, 2011, 5:58 am

    You MUST read Delirium by Lauren Oliver. A world where love is viewed as a disease (symptoms of dysphoria, increased heart rate, flushed face etc) which is the cause of everything wrong in world. So all teenagers are “cured” of love at age 18. Similar feel to Hunger Games, and it’s also a trilogy. (Delirium is the first book, the next to come out in early 2012 – can’t wait!)

    Reply
  • cathy September 22, 2011, 6:12 am

    thanks for the book discussion, caitlin!
    i am not a fan of this genre but have read 4/6 of these books. i have most of margaret atwood’s works, including the two you mentioned here (i prefer a couple of her other novels, more).
    everyone is talking about the hunger games, so i would be willing to give it a try. have to finish snooki’s “a shore thing” first! :)

    Reply
  • Liz September 22, 2011, 6:39 am

    I love dystopian society books, too! My favorites are the Hunger Games series, but I enjoyed some of the others you listed, too, and found a new one to read (Oryx & Crake). I also recently bought Divergent by Veronica Roth after seeing Julie read it on Peanut Butter Fingers. I also would recommend the Giver series by Lois Lowery. :)

    Reply
  • Hillary September 22, 2011, 7:09 am

    Dystopias are my JAM. I feel the exact same way as you: I have no clue why I’m so drawn to them, but I cannot get enough. I’ve never read Oryx and Crake (which is bizarre because I’ve read a LOT of Atwood’s other stuff), so I’m putting that on my “to-read” list right now!

    Also, if you’re looking for a great dystopian short story, read “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut. So. Freaking. Good.

    Reply
    • Katie September 22, 2011, 8:11 am

      Yea Vonnegut!

      Reply
      • Katherina @ Zephyr Runs September 22, 2011, 9:46 am

        Sirens of Titan is great and in that realm, too!

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      • Mary September 22, 2011, 12:19 pm

        Oh yes, I third the Harrison Bergeron suggestion. Also, Galapagos & Cat’s Cradle (also by Vonnegut) are amazing & dystopian-ish.

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  • Kerri September 22, 2011, 7:19 am

    The whole time I was going through your list I was thinking, ‘Brave New World has to be on here!’ and there it was. I’m a huge Aldous Huxley fan – have you read Island by him? Another great one!

    Reply
  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey September 22, 2011, 7:22 am

    I never knew that these kind of books had a certain title – but I LOVE these kinds of books!

    Reply
  • Rachel September 22, 2011, 7:28 am

    I love love live dystopian stories!!! I’m in the middle of a master dystopian book collection, The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. The writing is some of the best I’be ever read and it is an incredible story. I highly recomend!!

    Reply
  • Kristen (inspiredbydooce) September 22, 2011, 7:58 am

    I love the dystopian novel. Love it. And A Handmaid’s Tale is probably my favourite of the bunch.
    I’m now very excited to read some of the books suggested in the comments section. (that and the hunger games- i haven’t read that one yet)

    Reply
  • Ashley September 22, 2011, 8:00 am

    Love, love, love dystopian novels, I just finished devouring the Hunger Games series. Thanks for the other suggestions, haven’t read the ones by Margaret Atwood yet!

    Reply
  • Emily @ Comfortable Home Life September 22, 2011, 8:08 am

    I LOVE Brave New World. It was the only school required reading book I didn’t feel like I was being forced to read. I need to check out some of these other books!

    Reply
  • Jaclyn September 22, 2011, 8:08 am

    Dystopias aren’t normally my thing, but I did loooooooove The Hunger Games. The Handmaid’s Tale was good as well, but I didn’t care for Lord of the Flies. I am definitely planning to check out Brave New World!

    Reply
  • Katie September 22, 2011, 8:11 am

    These are some of my favorite books! Brave New World is my all-time, could read it any day of the week, book! Great collection! :)

    Reply
  • Claire @ Live and Love to Eat September 22, 2011, 8:14 am

    I guess I like dystopias too (and never even knew it)!

    Reply
  • Rachel September 22, 2011, 8:23 am

    I sent you a tweet about a book called Divergent. There is only one book out now, but it will be a series like Hunger Games. I think it was better than Hunger Games!

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 22, 2011, 10:16 am

      I really want to read Divergent. It’s on my list!

      Reply
  • Mary September 22, 2011, 8:30 am

    Have you read The Road by Cormac McCarthy? It’s a little dark, but I LOVE & highly recommend it. Plus, it won a Pulitzer Prize. Also, Ender’s Game is a really good book as well (& one of my favorites). It’s definitely more science fiction than the others, but it has some dystopian themes.

    Reply
  • Ally September 22, 2011, 8:31 am

    ORYX AND CRAKE. BRAND NEW WORLD. HANDMAID’S TALE. You are officially my favorite person. Margaret Atwood is a BAMF, and Aldous Huxley…gah. Amazing picks!!!! So wonderful.

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 22, 2011, 10:16 am

      LOL quote of the day – Margaret Atwood is a BAMF

      Reply
  • stephanie September 22, 2011, 8:34 am

    I love Margaret Atwood. She’s a genius. Oryx and Crake is one of my favorites.

    Reply
  • Beth @ 990 Square September 22, 2011, 8:42 am

    Two recommendations for you:

    1. Did you read the sequel to Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood? Very good.

    2. I’m currently reading a review copy of When She Woke, which is like a dystopic future retelling of the Scarlet Letter. It’s very good so far.

    Reply
  • Lauren @ LaDolcePita September 22, 2011, 8:42 am

    I read “Under the Dome” by Stephen King about a year ago…it is an absolutely HUGE book but entertaining all the way through. Based on your other suggestions, I think you would like :)

    Reply
  • Allison September 22, 2011, 8:42 am

    I came in to say The Road as well–it’s not exactly dystopian in the sense that is more post-government than alternate-government, but I also really love dystopian novels and like The Road for the same reason. Also, even more of a stretch, but a lot of Southern Gothic novels have the same sort of feel for me, since the society/government ethics of the time are sometimes just as far removed from what we think (hopefully) nowadays as what you find in some dystopian novels. Aaaand I will now end this random comment by saying that I recommend away from Ayn Rand books for many many reasons.

    Reply
  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday September 22, 2011, 8:43 am

    Margaret Atwood is amazing. I love CanLit, natch, and she’s one of my favourite authors.
    Plus she does so much for the liberal arts in Canada. Most recently she has taken to twitter to vehemently protest the closing of Toronto Public Libraries. Her reach is amazing.

    Did you read ‘The Year of the Flood’? That was a really good one too. I went to a book reading/ signing when it first came out.

    Reply
  • Shelly September 22, 2011, 8:57 am

    I love Dystopian Novels! I’ve read all of the ones you suggested except for Oryx and Crake- I’ll definitely check it out!
    My suggestion for you would be The Gate to Women’s Country by Sherri Tepper.

    Reply
  • Eileen September 22, 2011, 9:00 am

    I’m not entirely into dystopias but I did LOVE The Giver when I was a kid, and really enjoyed Brave New World and 1984 as well.

    Two books I really liked that are pseudo-dystopian (in that there are pockets of dystopia within a supposedly ‘normal’ society) are ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro, and ‘Blindness’ by Jose Saramago. ‘Blindness’ in particular was very haunting to me. It’s more of a catastrophic novel than dystopian, but it so amazingly written that I had to recommend it.

    Reply
    • michelle September 22, 2011, 10:55 am

      i worked on the film “Blindness” based on the novel. haven’t read the novel yet, but its been on my list for a long time!

      Reply
    • Charise September 23, 2011, 11:01 am

      Ooohh, yes, forgot about that one – I really enjoyed Never Let Me Go, and was excited to see they are making a movie about it!

      Reply
  • Tricia September 22, 2011, 9:05 am

    These are some of my favorite books! I was born in ’84, too. I don’t know the Margaret Atwood books. I’ll definitely have to check those out. I also agree about The Giver. Love that book!

    Reply
  • Marie September 22, 2011, 9:18 am

    I find it so interesting how many people like Margaret Atwood… here in Canada she is a public icon but I never knew she had such influence outside of our country. Good to see!

    Anyway, I took an entire course in my undergrad called Utopian/Dystopian Fiction – something tells me that you would have loved it. The books that stuck with me from that class that haven’t been mentioned yet were We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (better than 1984!)and Watership Down by Richard Adams (one of my all-time favourite books).

    Reply
  • helen @ change comes from within September 22, 2011, 9:18 am

    Handmaids Tale….Nineteen Eighty-Four…Brave New World and Lord of the Flies!!

    Amazing that our fave reads are the same!

    Reply
  • Anna September 22, 2011, 9:19 am

    As a middle school librarian, we seem to have moved past the vampire craze and are now on to dystopian novels. I LOVE the Hunger Games trilogy. And if you liked it, you’ll love the Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner as well. I’ve seen that Divergent, Delirium, and Matched have also been recommended. All good too. YA isn’t just for YA anymore!

    Reply
  • Britt @ My. Daily. Randomness. September 22, 2011, 9:28 am

    I love 1984, The Chrysalids and Brave New World… We had to read them for Grade 12 English… most people in my class groaned about it, but I loved them! I will have to check out Hunger Games before the movie comes out and potentially ruins it for me…

    Reply
  • Samantha September 22, 2011, 9:32 am

    I LOVE the first three, especially 1984. I read them all in high school and they were my top picks from the collection we had to read. I haven’t read the last three though — time to hop to it!

    Reply
  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife September 22, 2011, 9:36 am

    fascinating! I loved Hunger Games series! Cant wait for the movie :)

    Reply
  • Maren September 22, 2011, 9:37 am

    I deifnitely need to go pick up 1984. I haven’t read it since my senior year of high school, but I remember LOVING it. It was one of those where you only read one chapter a night and then take a quiz the next morning…yea that didn’t happen. I had the whole book read. Also LOVED Lord of the Flies. Haven’t read the Hunger Games yet, but I definitely plan to!

    Reply
  • Julie September 22, 2011, 9:38 am

    DIVERGENT!!! Go, read, NOW!

    Reply
  • Karen September 22, 2011, 9:40 am

    Young Adult books are exploding with the dystopian genre. You might try Matched by Ally Condie, Wither by Lauren de Stefano, Divergent by Veronica Roth, and Delirium by Lauren Oliver. These are very popular at the moment! I love all of them and cannot wait to read more in the genre!

    Reply
  • Katherina @ Zephyr Runs September 22, 2011, 9:45 am

    My favorite book topic! So funny, bf Jon’s favorite book is Oryx and Crake and my favorite is Brave New World. We tried to read each other’s favorite books before but sometimes find it difficult to read recommended books. There’s something about choosing a book for yourself! Ishmael is a cousin to these books and is incredible, have you read it?

    Reply
  • Kristin @ Wounded Fawn September 22, 2011, 9:46 am

    I love Brave New World and if I ever have a child I will name them huxley :)

    Anywho, You are missing out on The Giver! It’s not too long and a great read!

    Reply
  • Ali September 22, 2011, 9:55 am

    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is good…it reminded me in many ways of The Handmaid’s Tale

    Reply
  • jen September 22, 2011, 10:01 am

    I would recommend two books/series that Hunger Games reminded me of when I read them. The first is the Uglies trilogy by Scott Westerfeld; I can’t believe only one other person mentioned it. It’s another great postapocalyptic series and Tally is a strong, independent heroine like Katniss. The other book you should read is Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. It’s a Japanese novel with a similar premise to Hunger Games (teenagers pitted against each other in a fight to the death), but with some interesting twists, and has that same can’t-stop-reading-must-finish-now quality. Happy reading!

    Reply
  • Erica September 22, 2011, 10:07 am

    I love dystopian novels as well. It all started when I read “The Giver” in middle school.

    I’m going to have to read The Handmaid’s Tale. And I’ll go through the comments here and see what other’s recommended, too!

    Reply
  • Lauren September 22, 2011, 10:26 am

    As soon as I heard that you liked the Hunger Games (which I read and felt really uneasy about–there were beautiful scenes but on the whole the books had really upsetting images) I thought that you should read the Uglies/Pretties/Specials series by Scott Westerfeld. They’re definitely YA but I read them when I was around 14-16 and I still love them and would read them today. Great writing, wonderful characters, and an intriguing plot slightly similar to the Hunger Games, but instead of making children fight to the death, at 16 (I think) everyone has an operation similar to plastic surgery to make themselves “Pretties.”

    Reply
  • Chelsea September 22, 2011, 10:35 am

    I’ve read all those books except for Oryx and Crake – definitely on my to-read list now! I recently read Delirium by Lauren Oliver, another YA distopian romance – definitely not The Hunger Games, but thought it was pretty good.

    Reply
  • Mary September 22, 2011, 10:43 am

    Did you read the Frankenstein series by Cean Koontz?

    Reply
  • Mary September 22, 2011, 10:44 am

    I meant Dean Koontz

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 22, 2011, 10:45 am

      No but my mom LOVES Koontz

      Reply
  • Sara September 22, 2011, 10:50 am

    yesss the handmaid’s tale!! such a good book. i had to read it in high school, but it’s definitely worth a re-read. i also love any book that has to do with surviving in the wilderness. did you ever read “Hatchet” when you were young? i loved that one!

    Reply
  • michelle September 22, 2011, 11:00 am

    i love that you love a canadian author so much! i love MA (i’m cdn), and i see her around town every once in a while!
    i’m going to stray a bit and suggest “A Fine Balance” by Rohinton Mistry. It broke my heart. Its not a dystopia but one of my favourite books ever.
    i just saw an amazing French dystopia film called Carre Blanc. It won’t be in commercial cineplexes but if you ever get a chance to check it out, its worth it.

    Reply
  • kate September 22, 2011, 11:09 am

    I love Margaret Atwood. I actually have a tattoo on my left arm of a line from her poem Variation on the Word Sleep. It says “that unnoticed & that necessary”

    Reply
  • Rebecca September 22, 2011, 11:33 am

    I had to read Lord of the Flies in about 10th grade in Communication class. And in my Senior Lit class we read Brave New World. And I love the Hunger Games trilogy.
    Another one that I’ve read that may or may not be dystopian in nature is a book called Feed, by MT Anderson. We had to read it in my Intercultural class last year, and it was really interesting.

    Reply
  • Dana P. September 22, 2011, 11:48 am

    Lord of the Flies is one of my favorites…there is a lot of biblical symbolism in that book.

    I asked my husband for some dystopian recommendations for you since it’s his favorite book genre as well. He replied:

    My favorites:
    - Day of the Triffids (old school) by John Wyndham
    - The Road by Cormac McCarthy
    - I am Legend by Dick Matheson
    - Forever War by Joe Haldemen

    Books I’ve started but couldn’t finish, but still worth a shot:
    - On the Beach by Nevil Shute
    - Earth Abides by George R. Stuart

    R.M. Sterling has a book a fantasy/ sci-fi series about the end of the electronic age and civ. being thrust into a new dark age with medievil type of living. I couldn’t get into it, but I’ve heard it’s good.

    Enjoy!

    Reply
  • Jen September 22, 2011, 12:04 pm

    I wrote a chapter about 1984 for my undergrad thesis on postwar British literature. My chapter was on Julia and postwar sexuality– fun stuff! My absolute favorite dystopian novel is A Clockwork Orange, though.

    Reply
  • Sophie @ threetimesf September 22, 2011, 12:10 pm

    I seriously need to get my hands on a copy of The Hunger Games – everyone I talk to seems to be raving about them!

    Reply
  • kelly bean September 22, 2011, 12:19 pm

    I didn’t see Atlas Shrugged on your list.

    I think most people enjoy this genre, without even realizing it. Think of two of the best trilogies: Star Wars & The Matrix.

    PS: I just started reading the Hunger Games Trilogy (bought it back in early July for my kindle but hadn’t started it). I read book one in about 5 hours. I could not put it down!!!!

    Reply
  • Robyne September 22, 2011, 12:25 pm

    “The Princess Academy” by Hale is another good book. Not as dark and set in a medieval village. The end of the book leave you thinking, what next?

    Reply
  • Kate September 22, 2011, 12:30 pm

    I have read and enjoyed all those except Oryx and Crake which is now added to the reading list. I have also enjoed The Running Man by Steven King – a little 1984 and a bit hunger games, also a quick read.

    Reply
  • Amber K September 22, 2011, 12:41 pm

    I’m definitely into murder mysteries – fast reads! But I’m wondering if I’d like some of these books more now that I’m not being forced to read them. I hated Lord of the Flies, 1984, and a few others and I think it was because of being forced to read them and rehash them and read WAY more into them than I would ever want to.

    I hate being told that a certain color or clothing choice represents something – especially if we don’t actually know that for sure, because the author never told anyone. I was always sitting in my desk during test time wanting to write answers down on the multiple choice test like “Red represents passion. Or blood. Or you know, the author just really liked the color red. They might have worn it all the time, you don’t know!”

    Reply
  • Jen @ The Well Read Fish September 22, 2011, 1:24 pm

    I agree and love these books too. I’ll be linking to this post later in the week on my book(read: geeky)blog.

    Some you might like: Into the Forest, The Maze Runner (has gotten mixed reviews),Everlost, The Road, The Children’s Hospital, The Children of Men, and Blindness.
    And Oryx & Crake now has a sequel:

    Reply
  • Brigid September 22, 2011, 1:40 pm

    I LOVED Handmaid’s Tale! I also read Oryx and Crake and Brave New World. I wasn’t all that keen on the former, but I really liked Huxley. The Road is really amazing — heartbreaking and difficult to read at time, but it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. I echo The Giver, too. I read it a bajillion (i.e. about 17) years ago in elementary school, but it has stuck with me.

    Reply
  • Kathleen @ Onward;Inward September 22, 2011, 2:37 pm

    Totally agree with all these! I love good and thought-provoking works of fiction. You absolutely MUST pick up the Giver. You can finish it in a matter of hours and it will blow your mind.

    Reply
  • Rachel September 22, 2011, 2:43 pm

    As a lot of other people have suggested there’s a lot of great dystopian YA books out there. I especially liked Matched and Delirium (both I was surprised I liked as much as I did). Hunger Games, of course, is one of the best books I’ve ever read (at least the first one, then the series, in my opinion, starts to go downhill–to crash and burn by the end of the last book).

    I must admit the Handmaid’s Tale is one of the worst books I’ve ever read. Even though I understand it’s a hypothetical society, I found the concept too unbelievable. It is interesting, however, when people can have such different opinions about books. It is really interesting what resonates with people and what doesn’t.

    Reply
  • Rachel September 22, 2011, 3:15 pm

    I really enjoyed Oryx and Crake, and the whole story was even better when I read the sequel/companion After the Flood. If you haven’t read it, you absolutely should.

    And, I LOVE Brave New World. I think dystopian/postapocalyptic novels are a great way of exploring ideas about humanity.

    Reply
  • Mary @ stylefyles September 22, 2011, 3:32 pm

    I’m totally into dystopians too. I’ve yet to read a couple on your list. What about “The Giver” and “Animal Farm”??

    Reply
  • Caitlin September 22, 2011, 3:32 pm

    Oh man, I’m on a serious dystopian kick right now, too! If you aren’t on Good Reads yet (www.goodreads.com) I seriously recommend signing up and saying you want the monthly newsletters too! Lots of previews of hot of the press dystopian books!

    Ones that I read recently and were pleasantly surprised by include Matched by Ally Condia (and its sequel comes out this November!) and The Host by Stephanie Meyer (you know, the author of Twilight?) Both of these books I enjoyed thoroughly and plowed through, throwing caution aside and all of my graduate reading. I don’t care if when I take out a book from the library it says Young Adult along the spine so long as it’s dystopian!

    Other books I cannot wait to read (there’s a pile of them sitting on my kitchen table) include the following, though they are not all 100% dystopian..

    Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
    Machine Man by Max Barry
    The Postmortal by Drew Magary
    The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

    And now off to add your suggestions to my list of books to take out from the library! Thanks for the great post!

    Reply
  • jenn September 22, 2011, 3:55 pm

    You 100% HAVE to read Divergent. It’s going to be a trilogy but only the first book is out. The movie rights have already been picked up, so you know it will be a good one. :) I was in love with the hunger games, but I think I actually like Divergent more…as a lot of people have said.

    Reply
  • Bec September 22, 2011, 5:13 pm

    We by Zamyatin is kind of intense, but good. If you want to get old school Mrs. Frisbee and the Rats of NIMH or Watership Down (ok, that last one scared me as a kid).

    Reply
  • Amy September 22, 2011, 7:45 pm

    I’m a librarian so I have read lots of dystopian YA fiction this year. Divergent is on my radar but I haven’t read it yet. I really liked Birthmarked (one I haven’t seen many mention but I loved… it’s a dystopian future society but has the feel and imagery of a pre-technology world), Matched, and Delirium. I read others but can’t recall them all right now.

    Reply
  • Heather September 22, 2011, 9:40 pm

    I just finished the second book in the Hunger Games Trilogy and can’t wait to get my hands on the last one.
    I remember reading Lord of the Flies in high school and being scared by it, but I think it might be different now, so I’ll have to give it another shot.
    I read The Giver in college as part of a children’s literature class and I remember thinking that it wasn’t appropriate for kids to read. However, I enjoyed the book as a young adult.
    I’ve really been wanting to read the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and I think I’ll start that when I finish the Hunger Games trilogy.

    Reply
  • Amanda September 22, 2011, 10:29 pm

    I also love dystopias and highly recommend The Giver by Lois Lowry (one of my favorite books ever) and Anthem by Ayn Rand.

    Reply
  • Kristin September 22, 2011, 11:07 pm

    I too am a sucker for dystopian novels. Haven’t gotten to Oryx and Crake though yet, though I have picked it up in the bookstore, stared at it for a while, and well, never really getting any farther than that. Definitely going to have to check it out!

    Reply
  • Carolyn September 23, 2011, 1:02 am

    I LOVE dystopian literature, ever since a unit we did my sophomore year of HS that included Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, and 1984. I definitely need to check out the rest of these!!

    Reply
  • Macey September 23, 2011, 1:12 am

    Have you read “heart of darkness” by Joseph Conrad? You should :)

    Reply
  • Charise September 23, 2011, 10:54 am

    Brave New World and 1984 are two of my favorite books! I haven’t read either of the Atwood books, but I just added them to my Goodreads to-read shelf. And of course I loved the Hunger Games series. :) If you haven’t read it, check out Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut.

    Reply
  • Kami September 23, 2011, 12:17 pm

    I love Margaret Atwood. I read Cat’s Eye and Blind Assassin in the last 6 months. Now I have to read the two you posted here. And…The Hunger Games because my friend read the first two books in 4 days. Sounds serious. Must read.

    Reply
  • Kami September 23, 2011, 12:19 pm

    Oh, forgot. A good uptopian/dystopian novel that I started is Snowcrash by Neal Stephenson. Super good.

    Reply
  • Megan @ go places September 24, 2011, 5:30 pm

    Feed by M.T. Anderson. It’s a not-so-distant dystopia. I think you would LOVE it, especially as a frequent user of internet technology.

    Feed, Feed, Feed!

    Reply
  • Lynne September 25, 2011, 4:52 pm

    I was just coming back to recommend the “Uglies” series, but I see more than a few people already have!

    Reply
  • Rachel September 26, 2011, 7:33 pm

    Like a few others have mentioned, DIVERGENT! It is so so good! I loved Hunger Games, but may just like this one more!

    Reply
  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) September 28, 2011, 12:08 am

    One of the best novels I ever read (was in grade 8 – lol), and was a dystopian novel called “The Giver” – By Lois Lowery. Apparently it is one of the most banned books in the US for school reading lists – but I live in Canada and read it with my grade 8 class every year. They LOVE it.

    Reply
  • Pip September 28, 2011, 4:01 am

    The Road by Cormac McCarthy
    The Giver and its “loose” sequels, Gathering Blue and The Messenger by Lois Lowry
    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – fantastic!!
    Hunger Games though am struggling with Mockingjay.
    Have just read a terrific YA dystopian book, Days Like This by Alison Stewart, just released. Unputdownable and thought provoking. Saw it on Goodreads.
    Love all these comments – my dystopia list is growing!

    Reply
  • VeggieGirl October 3, 2011, 1:24 pm

    I adore Brave New World, I swear it tends to crop up in my conversations more than I would like it to but the parallels with todays world are striking..

    Reply
  • Willow @ My Own Trail October 4, 2011, 9:56 am

    I can’t believe I missed this post when you first wrote it! I also LOVE books about dystopias and have read all of the books on your list (well, I’m actually reading Oryx and Crake right now). I have to chime in along with others and suggest The Giver by Lois Lowry. It’s an amazing book! I also second the recommendation for The Gate to Woman’s country by Sheri Tepper. It’s truly one of the best books I have ever read. It seems like there are a lot of us who like dystopian novels…maybe we should start an online book club…

    Reply
  • Alett October 8, 2011, 10:11 am

    LOL -> I read “1984″ in the year of 1984 -> when I was in high school. We read 1984 and Brave New world that semester. Pretty cool reading those books back to back.

    Reply
  • Ffion @ Chocolate and Raspberiies October 12, 2011, 3:20 pm

    I never really thought about it before, but tis post has made me realise that I love dystopias too! My favourite book is The Handmaids tale, and 1984, Oryx and Crake and Lord of the Flies are in my top 20. I’ll have to check out the other two!

    Reply
  • tracy October 28, 2011, 11:09 am

    maybe you should check out Battle Royale. It’s a japanese book (translated into english). The Hunger Game premise is similar to Battle Royale but Battle Royale is not set in those futuristic times.

    Reply
  • Kara December 30, 2012, 4:54 pm

    I am also a ‘dystopian’ nut! It’s my favourite genre at the mo. Try the “Wool” series by Hugh Howey, loved them! Just finished reading “Terra” on your recommendation and read it in a day. Really enjoyed it, can’t wait for the next one!

    Reply
  • Ali February 12, 2013, 9:47 am

    Murakami’s 1Q84 is great

    Reply