I first read Margaret Atwood's stories collected in BLUEBEARD'S EGG AND OTHER STORIES when I was in high school! This astonishes me now to consider, as I didn't come from a particularly literary family or community. How did I come to possess this soft-cover book, which still sits on my book shelf? I have no idea, but I'll never forget its impact, or how Margaret Atwood came to be one of the few writers I consider "my favorites."
THE HANDMAID'S TALE is the novel that catapulted her to international fame (she's from Canada), and I love this book, but you have to read these: THE MADDADAM TRILOGY (pure literary sci-fi), CAT'S EYE (coming-of-age girls and their evil ways), THE BLIND ASSASSIN (weaving three different genres of writing), THE ROBBER BRIDE (fantastic psychological ghost story). I've read others of her 17 novels, but these are my favorites. And she has published books of poetry. Not to mention 10 books of short fiction. Oh. My.
I saw her speak once. Already in her late seventies (this was several years ago, at AWP), she was dynamite. Fiercely political, intellectual, straightforward, and terribly witty: and these traits definitely figure in the stories you're reading for the online class.
"Happy Endings" is a tour-de-force of metafiction and modern self-consciousness, a statement on storytelling and ontology. It was included in a collection called MURDER IN THE DARK (1983).
But for your blog comment, please focus on "True Trash." Along with "Wilderness Tips," it appeared in Atwood's 1991 collection called WILDERNESS TIPS. This story contemplates the stereotypical romance novel and plays with its tropes. How does Atwood fool with the reader's expectation (class bias, anyone) and does her story succeed?
If you wish to comment on "Wilderness Tips," perhaps you'll consider how this story plays with one character's life history in contrast to another's (again, note the class and national bias).