Want to read The Handmaid's Tale before the TV series?

It's not easy to find at some of Minnesota's libraries.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

A new TV series based on The Handmaid's Tale novel hit Hulu this week.

If you haven't read the acclaimed 1985 novel (which, fun fact, has apparently never been out of print) and want to catch up before bringing the show ... you might just have to buy it.

Many libraries in Minnesota are all checked out of the Margaret Atwood novel in advance of the show's premiere. And with hold after hold request lined up after the book gets checked back in, even with libraries ordering extra copies ahead of the demand.

"Many people want to read the book before watching the movie, so we ordered extra copies of Margaret Atwood’s novel in anticipation of the show's release," said Duluth Public Library spokesperson Jocelyn Baker.

The library has four copies of the novel, all checked out, with 13 holds.

The Handmaid's Tale is about a closed-off totalitarian community that springs up in the United States following a series of crises. The TV show stars Elisabeth Moss (Peggy from Mad Men) as the main character, Offred. Recent demand for the book has been high across America, with New York, Chicago, and San Francisco libraries completely booked, the Huffington Post reported.

Like Duluth, Ramsey County libraries ordered extra copies – and way back in February. And they're all checked out, with 43 additional requests.

"We kind of figured that would happen," Mary Moran, a reference librarian at Roseville Library, told GoMN, adding they usually pay attention to film or TV adaptation release dates since they know demand will spike.

"A lot of people want to read this stuff because they get inspired by watching the movie or the TV show or whatever, but they don't necessarily really want to go buy it and have it forever," she said. "So it's a nice thing to be able to get it from us."

Hennepin County Library meanwhile, which includes 41 libraries serving 1.2 million people, has 128 physical copies of the book – all of which are claimed, and have a total of 388 holds on them. And the ebook version has 389 holds on 49 copies.

Gail Mueller Schultz, manager for collection and technical services at Hennepin County Library, said the "great demand" they are seeing isn't abnormal when a book has a TV show or movie coming along.

"The buzz is also happening by word of mouth," she said. "A lot of people are talking about women’s rights, highlighting titles like The Handmaid’s Tale, and dystopian fiction, such as George Orwell’s 1984."

So what to do in the meantime ...

You've got a few options. You can just buy the book – it's pretty easy to locate a used copy for a cheap price, considering it's 30 years old.

You could jump on the wait list and read something else in the meantime. Use a recommendation tool to find something related – the Hennepin and Ramsey county libraries have something built-in online, or try a site like GoodReads.

Or just plow ahead and watch the TV series. Hulu put out the first three episodes Wednesday, and will release one a week this first season. And if you have any concerns about the adaptation, it's getting widely excellent reviews.

Next Up

Gary Kubiak

Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak announces retirement

Kubiak wraps up a career that has spanned nearly four decades.

alphaMPD

Minneapolis police seeks public help finding missing woman

A 63-year-old woman has been missing since Tuesday

coronavirus testing

Don't want to talk to a contact tracer? MN debuts online option after positive test

The department says the survey will allow its staff to keep track of more cases at a faster pace

Family Dollar

Money Gal Coaching: 12 things you are wasting your money on

Kelly Blodgett started Money Gal Coaching after paying down nearly $50K in debt in 18 months.

police lights

Three teens charged in Minneapolis robberies

The incidents took place on Saturday in Minneapolis.

covid-19, coronavirus, ppe

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Thursday, January 21

It's the first time in exactly four months that Minnesota has had fewer than 100 COVID patients in intensive care.

icy roads, bad roads

Girl, 16, killed in crash with semi on icy Minnesota road

The crash happened in Dodge County around 8 a.m. Wednesday.

police lights

Road rage incident sees driver punch out man's window, punch him in face

The incident happened in Waite Park Wednesday morning.

Screen Shot 2019-10-11 at 7.01.24 AM

Minneapolis will recover $100K in costs connected to 2019 Trump rally

The Target Center operator said it'll pay the costs over three years.

Jacob Frey

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey confirms run for reelection

He has faced criticism over the city's response to George Floyd's death.

Related

The Coen brothers are doing a Western TV series

Get ready for a Western called The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

New TV documentary 'Prince: The End' will premiere Friday

It's part of the new HLN series How it Really Happened.

The 'Oh geez' Minnesota Fargo accent is really hard, Ewan McGregor says

"It's a very strange accent to lock into, as a non-American," McGregor said.

The new Zelda Fitzgerald show Z: The Beginning of Everything is out

The show tells the story of Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of Minnesota-born author F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The new Mystery Science Theater 3000 gets an April Netflix release

We have an actual release date for when MST3K comes back to Earth.

The Fargo season 3 cast just got even bigger

Six more faces you'll see in season three of Fargo.