These days, daily allegations of fake news and alternative facts — not to mention endless “tweetstorms” and Twitter rants — are the new reality. In what appears to be a reaction to recent political events, dystopian novels have seen a surge in popularity in the past few months. Readers, it seems, are searching for something to make the world make sense. George Orwell’s 1984, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale have all been climbing in the charts. But have people always turned to dystopia for solace? Apparently not. Shannon Rupp, writing for The Tyee, wondered what people had read under their covers in past periods of political unrest — like in the tumultuous period after the First World War, when the Great Depression and populist politics were the stories-du-jour. As it turns out, people were going nuts for Agatha Christie. “There are no untrustworthy narrators or morally ambiguous plots to linger in your mind,” writes Rupp, for whom the trend makes a lot of sense. The new president himself apparently doesn’t find solace in literature, according to the New York Times, which reported in a story about how the president spends his free time: “Mr. Trump, who does not read books, is able to end his evenings with plenty of television.” We think there’s still something to be learned from the written word. How about you? Fill out this week's poll. Please note that Tyee Barometer polls are only intended as a quick and engaging non-scientific snapshot of our readers' opinions on various topics that fit with The Tyee's very broad editorial mandate. They are not intended to be seen as a representative sampling of BC opinion.