Find my contributions to Unbound World’s 100 Best Horror Books of All Time

October isn’t one of my favorite times of year, but who doesn’t love a good horror read? I helped pick out some of the best horror books of all time over at Unbound Worlds, and I got to slide in one of my favorite authors of all time.

Just about every Octavia Butler work is a horror story on some level, but Fledgling’s tale of Shori, by appearance a young Black girl with severe amnesia and in reality a vampire genetically modified to survive in sunlight, explores ignorance, bigotry, and the horror wrought by humans themselves with a timelessness that remains relevant today.

Find the full list of titles at Unbound Worlds — and see if you can find all of mine!


Read my Q&A with Damian Duffy & John Jennings

My newest interview at Girls in Capes features Damian Duffy and John Jennings, the comic artists behind the graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler’s Kindred.

One of Butler’s greatest talents, in fact, is portraying those who are victims of violence and subjugation in a manner that portrays their full humanity. In Kindred, she does this with absolute mastery, showing many aspects of life during that era and examining the question of how exactly people allowed the horrors of slavery to go on.

I really love Octavia Butler’s work and recently reread Kindred (the original novel) for the Amalgam Monthly Book Club. I would definitely encourage any American to read Kindred to get a better sense of the history of our nation and how race relations continue to impact our society.


February 2015 Books Completed

I pulled pretty far ahead in February!  While I’m still behind by a little bit, I really pushed ahead this month, which is good since March will be exceptionally busy as I complete my capstone!  With the 7 books I finished this month, I’m up to 10 books and am 5 behind for the challenge.

Here are the books I completed in February:

Cover of Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. ButlerThe Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler.  I loved Butler’s novel Kindred, and The Parable of the Sower didn’t disappoint. An adult speculative fiction about faith set in the middle of an apocalypse. 4 out of 5 stars

A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall.  One of the most engaging and entertaining adult fantasy novels I’ve ever read, which is about a retired villain who’s drawn back into action. 4.5 out of 5 stars

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma, Vol. 1-4, by Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki.  A re-read of volumes 1-3 and a first read of volume 4, this cooking manga is hugely entertaining and doesn’t fail to delight. 4 out of 5 stars

Stupid Cupid by Rhonda Stapleton.  A fluffy and fun YA novel suitable for younger, possibly more reluctant readers.  Only a little touch of the supernatural.  3 out of 5 stars

What books did you read in February? What would you recommend most highly?

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

Cover of Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. ButlerFrom the publisher:

When unattended environmental and economic crises lead to social chaos, not even gated communities are safe. In a night of fire and death Lauren Olamina, a minister’s young daughter, loses her family and home and ventures out into the unprotected American landscape. But what begins as a flight for survival soon leads to something much more: a startling vision of human destiny… and the birth of a new faith.

Parable of the Sower is set in what’s essentially the apocalypse, following a young woman named Lauren in Southern California during an economic and social crisis.  The book explores religion and philosophy, faith in the face of a crumbling society, and the formation of a family in times of crisis.

As something of a disclaimer, I’ve read one other novel by Octavia Butler — a standalone titled Kindred — and gave the book 5 stars.  Much of that was due to the writing style, and Parable of the Sower is written in similarly accessible language: the narrator speaks normally, and Butler’s prose isn’t flowerly, overly technical, or — as I described to a friend — “so complicated that she sounds like an asshole.”

While I didn’t enjoy Parable of the Sower as much as I enjoyed Kindred, I did enjoy it, and the book made me think.  Though set in what was at the time a relatively distant future of 2024, it’s close enough to present-day to make me think of what might be coming.  The novel is about environment, human nature, and the essence of family, and addresses racial and gender realities.

I was reading this book to evaluate whether or not to include it as a Girls in Capes book club selection, and it definitely made the cut.  We’ll be reading this for our April selection to coincide with The Growing Issue at GiC.

4 out of 5 stars