Even the most prolific readers have books they missed along the way: classics that, when we finally get around to reading them, make us say "What took me so long?" This month, I read Octavia Butler's speculative fiction classic Kindred- and immediately wished I read it 10 or 15 years ago.
Kindred, first published in 1979, is about a young black woman living in LA who's thrown back in time, repeatedly and against her will, to the antebellum South, where she must save the life of a white slave owner in order to save her own family. It's one of those remarkable books that manages to be so good on so many levels. As a story, it's absolutely gripping - I finished it in three days. Dana and her white husband Kevin encounter one challenge after another; they're thrust into the past and then back into their own time without understanding, at first, how or why they're traveling through time.
In less than 300 pages, Butler also manages to write thoughtfully and compassionately about huge topics like love, family, and race in America's distant and recent history. Dana's relationships with the slave owner and with the other slaves are complicated. Kindred acknowledges slavery's physical brutality, but also examines the emotional impact of doing whatever needs to be done to survive.
I choose it to read it for the "author of color" category, but if you're new to science fiction or fantasy, it would also be a great choice for the "new to you genre" category. There's also a new graphic novel adaptation that's getting great reviews!
Speaking of graphic novels, a patron stopped in at Auburn last week to tell us how much she's enjoying 10 to Try. She recommends The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book for the graphic novel category. Thanks, Joanie!
We love hearing from readers, so don't forget to share your recommendations with us in the comments or on social media using #10toTry.