I've said before that I consider reading literature a means of democratizing oneself. Another benefit of reading is it facilitates communication by providing a resource of shared knowledge to refer back to. For instance, if you say that permanent war is a bad idea because its too 1984 for your tastes, anyone who has read the book will know what you mean.
With that in mind I'm making another book recommendation. Being a fan of dystopian fiction, I finally got around to starting The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I first heard of this book when I made a passing remark at the retired blogger John Lombard's blog that someone really needed to write a dystopian novel about a future in which women are subjugated to men as an applied consequence of Christian nationalism (or something like that ... the original post is no longer on the web and my memory is fuzzy). Lombard pointed out to me that Atwood had already done that.
I'm only about half-way in, but I can already say that this is a book that should be added to the arsenal of means to innoculate people against the dangers of authoritarian patriarchal fundamentalism. Specifically, Atwood drives home forcefully the importance of not granting but guaranteeing women control of their own reproductive fates as a fundamental human liberty.
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