PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at the trailer for BookTube's second episode

By Sam Gillette
November 14, 2019 11:00 AM
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The book club has entered the digital age!

BookTube, YouTube’s critically acclaimed book club, launched by featuring interviews with Michelle Obama (Becoming) and Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point). In keeping with its iconic authors, the next episode presents Margaret Atwood, who discusses her dystopian novels The Handmaid's Tale and its long-awaited sequel The Testaments.

PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at the trailer for the second episode, which will premiere on YouTube.com/Learning on Nov. 21.

“You make the book, you send it out into the world, and it will connect with the people that it’s for,” says Atwood, 79, while chatting with guest moderator and author Cheryl Strayed.

BookTubers Evelyn and Ariel Bissett, and Amerie, a writer and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, also join the conversation about Atwood’s two novels as the acclaimed author reveals the reason she considers herself an optimist.

“I put nothing in that I didn’t have historical references for,” Atwood explains. “If you give people unlimited power and no checks and balances, they will behave badly.”

Thirty-five years ago, Atwood came to national attention with the publication of The Handmaid’s Tale. Since then, she’s gained a whole new level of adoration following the 2016 election and the release of the eponymous Hulu series — at least by the part of the population who viewed Donald Trump‘s presidential win as a frightening step toward the authoritarian patriarchy the book depicts.

And now she’s raising a whole new series of philosophical and political questions with The Testaments. The sequel, which came out in September, took Atwood four years to write and explores the downfall of the novel’s repressive Gilead through the stories of three women connected to the original handmaid.

“This fast-paced sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale was decades in the making but couldn’t feel fresher,” reads the PEOPLE review. “In dystopian Gilead, aka the former U.S., 15 years have passed since the Handmaid Offred stepped into a black van outside her Commander’s house — and headed for an uncertain future. Now resentments are building in Gilead and in Canada, where a girl with connections to Gilead’s patriarchal regime is poised to join the Resistance. Clear your schedule: Atwood has delivered a scary, witty and seriously seductive page-turner.”

RELATED VIDEO: Margaret Atwood Doesn’t Hear Complaints That The Handmaid’s Tale Is Unrealistic Anymore

While Atwood’s speculative fiction has both disturbed and entranced readers since the ’80s, she considers herself a positive person.

“I’m just sort of preternaturally cheerful,” she told PEOPLE earlier this fall. “It’s really annoying to other people. But I’m not cheerful about [humanity’s] prospects. I’m not cheerful about the challenges we face — that’s a different thing.”

“We’re losing time on the climate crisis,” she continued. “The longer people delay, the worse it’s going to get. But I’m very encouraged by the young people, who’ve got extinction revolution going. They will be voting soon. Everyone should realize climate change is a real thing. And who you should vote for is not the person who says it’s not happening.”

A new episode of BookTube will air the third Tuesday of each month.

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