5 books Canada Reads panellist Amanda Brugel loved reading
The Handmaid's Tale actor is defending We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib
Books and reading played a huge part in both her personal life and her acting career, she told CBC Books. It was perhaps serendipitous that she now stars in the adaptation of her favourite Margaret Atwood book.
"This is a story I tell quite often, but The Handmaid's Tale truly was the very first book I fell in love with. It's the book that inspired my love for reading," she said.
Here are the five books Brugel loved reading.
"Obviously! I first read it when I was 15. It was the first time I saw a female protagonist that was strong, three-dimensional and flawed.
It was the first time I saw a female protagonist that was strong, three-dimensional and flawed.- Amanda Brugel
"In high school, I didn't know if I wanted to be an actor or a writer. In order to get into the writing program, I wrote a thesis on The Handmaid's Tale and I got a full scholarship. It truly started my love of reading."
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
"This is an epic tale of good and evil. Themes of good and evil seem to be the connecting thread through all of the books that I read. I have no idea why.
"There's a specific chapter in the book that starts with the words, 'I believe there are monsters born in the world to human parents.' I would turn passages from the book into monologues that I would then recite.
Themes of good and evil seem to be the connecting thread through all of the books that I read.- Amanda Brugel
"I love Steinbeck's sweeping narrative set in Salinas Valley, Calif. I love how it parallels the book of Genesis. It's really smart and beautifully written."
"Harari is a historian and it's a collection of essays that examine the future of humanity through suggestions of a possible future. It talks about AI, democracy and technology.
"It's so fascinating. It's not necessarily where we're going to go, but he looks at history and studies our past as an indication of where we're going in the future."
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
"It's a play, but it comes in book form. It was one of the first books I read and I had a very difficult time with the language.
"As I read more and more Shakespeare, I fell in love with it and I can recite it — almost from front to back — off the top of my head."
"I love dystopian books. The thing I love the most of this book is that there's an interesting twist which he does with some of the language — it's sort of a hybrid of English and Russian.
It makes the reader feel like they're a part of the world.- Amanda Brugel
"It makes the reader feel like they're a part of the world. You have to go through the arduous task of learning a new language in order to finish the book. You feel like you are there experiencing everything firsthand."
Amanda Brugel's comments have been edited for length and clarity.
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