Bookstores Debate Whether to Stock Handmaid's Tale Sequel in Fiction or Current Events

By Beau Leenas

CORTE MADERA — Aaron Ticknor, manager of Books-A-Plenty in Corte Madera, couldn’t decide what to do as he stood in the middle of the store with two other employees. “This book is too real to be fiction. But it’s too real to be non-fiction. I don’t know, dude. This is a tough one to merchandise.” Ticknor is talking about The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale

Book stores in Marin and beyond are struggling to decide where to stock Atwood’s follow-up to her grim novel, which takes place in a theocratic society where women are only valued for their reproductive capacity. 

Chelsea Hollander, manager of Bookin’ It in San Rafael, is planning on taking a scattershot approach. “We’ll have some copies of The Testament in Fiction, of course. But we’re also going to stock it in Politics, True Crime, Self-Help, and Travel—right next to road atlases of Canada.” 

Neil Kovic, owner of Read ‘Em & Weep in Mill Valley, wants to make it easy for his patrons to find this highly anticipated book. “Most of our customers come looking for either a dystopian fantasy or a tell-all from a former Trump Administration employee. Our ‘Dystopiana’ and ‘Ex-Trump’ sections are at the entrance of the store. I’m just going to stick The Testaments in between.”

Suzanne Carroll