These Are the 5 Books Margaret Atwood Says Millennials Should Read

If there was ever a time to be “on,” it was last night at Toronto’s Carlu.

That’s because the venue was filled with some of North America’s most inspirational for MUSE Toronto, a modern-day salon for Toronto arts, technology, and science professionals.

The event was hosted by Klick Inc., one of Toronto’s most innovative technology companies, and one that’s repeatedly praised for its perk-filled corporate culture.


Photos: Klick

Picture a TED Talk-like event, complete with a “Klick-worthy party,” with speakers like David Cronenberg, Boston bombing survivor Adrianne Haslet, and Margaret Atwood, among others.

In need of a little winter vacation reading material, I took the opportunity to ask Ms. Atwood her top five reads for millennials. Although initially not amused by the question (“I’m not a millennial, how do I know what they should be reading?,” she asked), Atwood offered her suggestions, but admitted that it was a little difficult to do so because she wasn’t in her house.

And yes, she has many, many bookshelves (I asked).


The Inconvenient Indian
Thomas King

“In Canada, one of the biggest issues coming up for them – and one that they’re going to be immersed in for a little while – they’re going to have to figure out their relationship to aboriginal communities in Canada,” said Atwood. “For that reason, I would recommend Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian. It will give them a good overview in fairly short chapters and in direct language.”

Being Mortal
Atul Gawande

“Young people who are upcoming are pretty soon going to have to start thinking about their parents and their parents’ retirement, “ says Atwood. “Gawande has done an exceptional book about how that age can be a lot better than people are now treating it as being. So, I think they would like that. Again, its chapters are short. They may be a bit too young for that, but if you tell them they’re too young for that, they’ll read it anyway because they don’t want to be considered too young for that.”

Get in Trouble
Kelly Link

“I think they would like Kelly Link’s book Get in Trouble. It’s short; it’s weird, and it’s full of millennials,” says Atwood. What more could you want?

The Water Knife
Paolo Bacigalupi

“Because there’s so much dystopia around, they may like a book called The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi. It is based around the water shortage in California. So, that’s an issue they should definitely pay attention to,” says Atwood.

Station Eleven
Emily St. John Mandel
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel is very popular in that age group already, so I’m sure they’ve heard of it,” says Atwood.

You could also start with Atwood’s latest, The Heart Goes Last. “Oh, maybe they’ll like it; it’s got people their age in it,” says Atwood humbly of the novel.