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Fledgling (thoughts) & Meditations on My Blogging

September 18, 2009

Don’t you love the pretentiousness of that? No 50 word BBAW goals for me! No…I’m going to meditate. ;) If you don’t care about Fledgling by Octavia Butler (but you should), you can jump right down to the BBAW part. (And I promise, there is actually a less-than-50-words condensed version.)

FledglingWhen I began Fledgling, I knew two things: a vampire was a main character and Octavia Butler is a black author (I’ve also read one of her earlier novels, Kindred, which is a time travelling classic people!). The latter matters, because since my 50% fiction POC goal, I’ve been making up my challenge pool with an eye on ethnicity (I think this is a great thing, and I’ll talk more about it in the next month or so). This one made it into the R.I.P. IV pool, and it was a priority since a bunch of the authors in that pool are white (I’m being brutally honest about how my POC goal has changed my reading, but be warned that I unhesitatingly delete comments I find inappropriate, and race discussions can get inappropriate quickly). So I brought it home from the library, admired the cover, and finally picked it up one morning when I asked my Twitter friends to help me choose my next read!

I suddenly found myself 100 pages in, and I was loathe to put it down so I could get some chores done. Butler can *write*!!! It’s a first-person narrator, which I often find annoying, but in this case it works perfectly. Here’s how the book starts:

I awoke to darkness.
I was hungry-starving!-and I was in pain. There was nothing in my world but hunger and pain, no other people, no other time, no other feelings.

Butler just captures emotions so well (don’t worry-as the narrator heals, she becomes more sophisticated and so does the book’s language). And she can develop quite a plot too-although it slows down towards the end, most of the book has one thing after another happening! Somehow, in between this marvelous, gut-wrenchingly immediate writing and plot, she manages to work in explorations of so many societal issues: sexuality, racism, dependency…I could go on and on. And while there are vampires, there’re not like ANY vampires I’ve read about (and I’ve read everything from Bram Stroker to Anne Rice to P.C. Cast), so even if you don’t enjoy horror books, you’ll like this one. But here’s the thing: I went into the book blind, and since much of the book is the narrator discovering more about herself and her kind (since she doesn’t remember anything), I don’t want to ruin that magic for you. For a long time, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough because I wanted to know what the heck was going on ‘behind the scenes,’ and many of the features of the narrator’s kind delighted me. So if I’m convinced you that you definitely want to read the book, and you want to read it without any foreknowledge, stop now and run on over to your library/bookstore. Then you can come back later and thank me! ;) (Oh-and if you’re in a book club, I think this would generation some amazing discussion!) For the rest of you, I’m going to talk about some of the themes in the book-I won’t give away any plot points as such, but I will be discussing a lot of things that are slowly revealed in the book. If you want to read my goals at the end of the post but don’t want to scroll, click here.

Ok: I’m serious…you really want to know more?

Then let’s start the discussion! Shona is our narrator, and she’s a young Ina (so she looks about 11, even though she’s in her 50s or 60s), what we would think of as a vampire. But these vampires are more like a ‘cousin species’ to people who evolved seperately-while they drink human blood they rarely kill, they can reproduce in the usual manner (i.e.: no making new Ina by biting someone), and while they do grow more slowly they eventually die of old age. So basically, Butler’s used the framework of a new species, who have a very different type of society, in order to put a mirror in front of our own society.

Sexuality is a big part of this book. The way Ina drink human blood without killing is that they have human symbiots. They have 8-10, and they live as a kind of family all together, with the Ina taking meals from each of them in turn. There are chemicals in Ina saliva that make being bit extremely pleasurable to humans, that make the bite heal very quickly, and eventually these chemicals build up in the human’s blood and makes them live longier, healthier lives. The downside is that they become addicted, so if the Ina leaves, the humans will die of withdrawal. Also, Ina need a lot of physical touching between themselves and their humans-it calms them down and makes them stronger. And while much of this touching is what we would expect from close friends-hugs, pats on the back, etc., there is also sex. Shona’s a female Ina, and she’s depicted as having sex with both male and female humans (it’s not explicit erotica, although it’s not a fade-to-black…somewhere in between); maybe I should point out it’s always individually-there aren’t orgies going on! This dynamic is just fascinating to me-how it’s a true symbiotic relationship, with both the Ina and the humans dependent upon one another. And Shona’s ‘first’ (the first human she takes as a companion) doesn’t know anything about Ina, so he doesn’t realise he’ll have to ‘share’ Shona with other people. Him trying to deal with his jealousy, while some of the other humans she’s bonded with have their own issues (which I can’t reveal without giving away lots of plot) felt so true. Ina life isn’t depicted as a kind of utopia, just as different from our life. I liked the ‘casualness’ of the bisexuality…human sexuality is a much more grey area than we sometimes like to think, so the fact that Butler’s written characters who almost all accept that their attractions have more to do with individuals that with gender was quite refreshing. It’s also interesting that monogamy is rejected at all levels-when Inas mate, they mate as a group of sisters to a group of brothers (and they don’t live together, just visit occasionally), so Inas never have a monogamous relationship. While I personally believe in monogamy, it definitely me think to see a kind of committed polyamory (I learned that word in a documentary I was watching!).

Speaking of genders, the female Ina are actually stronger than the males, and they’re seen as definite equals. This was nice, although I wouldn’t say it’s one of the *major* things explored in the book!

And then there’s the race issues. Shona is the result of some genetic tinkering her family’s been doing that mixes Ina genes with black human ones. As a result, unlike ‘full-blooded’ Ina, Shona can stay awake during the day (most fall into a coma-like trance) and be out in sunshine (even though it will burn her, most Ina can’t do that at all). There are also hints that she’s much stronger than normal Ina her age, although she’s also shorter (most Ina are tall and super white). Much of this is explored later in the book, so I can’t talk too much about it without giving away the plot. But let’s just say that some Ina view Shona as a ‘taint’ who would bring down their species. They’re much more upset by her different appearance, and supposedly inferior genes, than impressed by her new abilities. In the book, it’s more of an Ina-human thing than a white-black thing, but even I who never read for symbolism caught Butler’s drift. ;)

Oh dear-I’m at 1300 words according to WP, so I guess I should wrap this up. But I’d love for those of you who have read it to comment below! (Maybe put a big SPOILER tag at the top, so that those who haven’t read it know to skip your comment!) I wish I had a face-to-face book club to talk about this with. But then, they couldn’t be as wonderful as y’all! But I’m so impressed that Butler’s writting a book that works on both the pure-entertainment level and the more thoughful level, and it integrates those two aspects seamlessly. I only have one problem with the book: I thought it was the first in a trilogy, so I was heartbroken to discover it’s a standalone! I’m hoping there’s a sequel sometime in the future. ;)

BBAW_Celebrate_Books BBAW Goals, aka Eva’s ‘Meditations on Blogging’
Ok, first let’s do the 50 words cliff notes version:

Love my increasingly diverse reading, my ridiculously long reviews, reading challenges, and all of my commentators. Worried about repetitive posting (mainly reviews), decrease in commenting (not reading!) on others’ blogs, and decrease in reading older books. 2010: continue reading great books and making great friends!

Look guys-I’m 5 words under! Apparently I can do the brevity thing. ;) So feel free to just offer your comments on that. But I’m totally stealing Rebecca’s format, and shall now expand on those ideas.

What I Love!

  • Diverse Reading and Reading Challenges: these two go hand in hand for me. I use reading challenges as an excuse to make book lists that I can refer to in the future. :D These always reflect my reading goals, many of which center around diversity (ethnic, geographical, gender, etc.). I think this has definitely been my most diverse year of reading ever, and I expect to continue that in the next year.
  • My Ridiculously Long Reviews: I mentioned yesterday how I sometimes feel self-conscious that my review posts are rarely short (except for my Sunday Salon blurbs, but there are so many blurbs it still ends up a long post!). Which is true. But at the same time, I mainly write reviews for myself, so I can remember everything I loved (…or didn’t…) about a book. And when I look back at my old reviews, my favourites are always the long ones! So I shall continue to ignore the blogging advice that says not to go over 500 words per post. That being said, I’ll try to work better at breaking things up, with formatting and shorter paragraphs, so that my readers don’t die of eye strain!
  • All of My Commentators: I love y’all. Even though sometimes I think I’ve replied to your comment and then realise I only replied to it in my head and didn’t actually type it out, I love all of your suggestions and enthusiasm and contributions. I’d like to start remembering to ask questions at the bottom of my review posts, to give people something to comment about if they think they need it, since I always get more comments that way. And I’d like to reply to everyone’s comments within 24 hours, but realistically it’ll probably be closer to 48. Still, things to shoot for. ;)

Things That Worry Me

  • Repetitive Posting: I warn you, this is a ‘poor little rich girl’ kind of problem, and I’m sure it’s a temporary one caused by me being sick and stuck at home most of the time. But since I’m reading so much right now, I feel a constant pressure to post reviews. I read so many great books, that really deserve their own post instead of a paragraph in The Sunday Salon, but there are only so many days in the week. I miss doing a variety of posts, things like random reading lists, or discussions of in-progress books, or random book-ish things (one of my all-time top posts is the one where I talked about The Pagemaster and Wishbone!). I think I might need to find a new balance. What do y’all think? Do you miss the other type of posts? Or are you happy to see reviews 90% of the time?
  • Decreasing in Commenting on Other’s Blogs: I think there is an inverse ratio between the amount of blogs in my Google Reader and the amount of blogs I comment on. I love reading all of the posts, but the more I have the more overwhelming it seems to try to comment on them! However, I know how much I love comments, so I really should make more of an effort to leave them on other people’s blogs.
  • Decrease in Reading (and Rereading) Older Books: I’ve been exposed to so many wonderful-sounding books thanks to the blogosphere, but most of them tend to be newer books. I miss having more of a balance…I miss reading deeply into my favourite authors’ oevres, I miss rereading books, I miss my classics. That’s simply something I’ll have to prioritise for next year.

And there you go! I think my goals for the next year are pretty self-evident. :D If you read my expanded comments, you’ll notice some lesser goals in there, but those are the two major ones! Reading books and talking about them with other bibliophiles is what makes book blogging such a rewarding hobby. And quite frankly, I can’t imagine my life without it anymore.

37 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2009 4:40 pm

    I read Fledgling at this time last year and loved it. And I’m sorry to report that there won’t be a sequel. Butler died a few years ago; I think it was shortly after reading this book.

    * Spoilers*

    The thing that struck me about the Ina/symbiot relationship is how one could draw a parallel to the master/slave relationship. Sure the symbiots are well taken care of and happy, but the fact is that they did not choose to get addicted to Ina venom. The Ina let them decide what to do about it, but once they’ve been bitten, how can they say no? But then again, it’s hard to built up any moral indignation about it, because the Ina must do this do survive. The whole business is so terribly morally ambiguous I didn’t know what to make of it–which I guess makes it not unlike like sometimes.

    *end spoilers*

    And I hear you on the wanting to comment more and read older books. BBAW has been great for finding new blogs to read, but I know I can’t make time to read and comment substantively on all of them, so I’m pretty much focusing on the ones I really enjoy and not sweating it if I can’t get to everybody. Just like in real life, we can’t be bosom friends with everyone, and I’d rather focus on the blogs that have similar reading and posting tastes to me (and you’re included in that number for sure).

    I’ve let the new book reading get a little out of hand lately myself. Part of it is just the Booker mania that I couldn’t help but join in, and part of it is requesting more review copies that I realized until I lined them up on the shelf. I’m probably not going to give up on review copies entirely because it’s fun to be ahead of the curve every now and then, but I’m going to be a lot choosier (mostly books by authors I know and love), and let LibraryThing do a lot of the choosing for me (I’ve gotten some uncannily good book matches there).

  2. September 18, 2009 5:36 pm

    Yeah, I didn’t keep it under 50 words at all….

  3. reviewsbylola permalink
    September 18, 2009 5:41 pm

    I have a problem with reading way too many new books now. I need to make sure I get some older books in too.

  4. September 18, 2009 5:43 pm

    I read Kindred a while ago and liked it as far as I remember. Okay I went back and dug the old post:
    But this was near the beginning when I started reviewing and I didn’t write much at all… The rating might have been harsh too..
    Well, I’ll keep an eye for Fledgling!

  5. September 18, 2009 5:55 pm

    I don’t mind your posts being mostly reviews. I don’t think it feels repetitive. I also think the 500 word suggestion is ridiculous!! I could seriously leave a 500 word comment! :)

  6. September 18, 2009 6:00 pm

    I know there was a post somewhere in the blogosphere a few weeks (months?) back in which people remarked that book reviews on book blogs tend to get the fewest comments… but to be honest, their my favorite thing to read (and the thing I comment the most on!)! I do love the well-thought out and discussion/op-ed pieces people write about reading, books and blogging (the more meta pieces, I suppose you could say), but at the end of the day, I want to hear what you’ve been reading (since it gives me ideas about what to read).

    Also, I’m another one of those reviewers who balks at the whole ” < 500 words" rule of thumb. I'll say what I need to, regardless of word count! Maybe some people hate long reviews, but I figure if you have that much to say about a book, it's gotta be worth my time!

  7. September 18, 2009 6:01 pm

    “Fledgling” sounds kind of cool. : )

    And I think I’m pretty wordy with my reviews too — but I try to give a “bottom line” part that people can jump to if they don’t want to read everything. I figure: If if is too long and they don’t want to read it, they won’t.

    And you can make yourself crazy worrying about commenting more. I just do what I can and only comment if I have something to say. In the beginning of my blog, I was obsessed with growing it to get bigger and bigger and then realized I was doing a lot of stuff only to get more readers or comments and wasn’t having fun. You need to make it fun for yourself or you’ll never want to blog. And I do find that I need to keep a balance between books I find myself, books I accept for review, and books I get because I read about them. I get cranky if I skew too far one way.

  8. September 18, 2009 6:42 pm

    Being a Buffy fan vampire books have a special place in my heart :), and Fledgling certainly seems interesting. And that is, in all its simplicity, an impressive cover design! (Actually, I just went and reserved the book through our library system :))

    Please, don’t be worried about writing long reviews! They are always interesting to read.

    Wishing you a nice weekend!


  9. September 18, 2009 7:13 pm

    I didn’t know about the 500 word post advice. Some of my posts are smaller, some are larger. I feel as if they’re already formed beforehand, so..whatever. Just follow your own lights and you’ll be fine.

    You’re worried about not striking a balance between older and new books and reading too many new. I think I may have gone too far in the opposite direction…not enough new.

    I think I’ll look for some Octavia Butler next time I visit What The Book? They have a nice used SF section. Small but substantial.

  10. September 18, 2009 7:27 pm

    I don’t mind mostly reviews. You gotta do what works for you. :)

    I totally struggle with commenting too. I NEVER have enough time to come close to reading everything that everyone posts so when I comment it just makes less time for reading blogs! But I know comments are super important and I love getting them, so I need to be better at reciprocating.

  11. September 18, 2009 7:31 pm

    I read your review up to the point where you got into the serious discussion, then I scrolled down. The first bit made me want it really, really badly, and I figure I’ll do best to go into the book with minimal knowledge. :)

    I’m with you on the long reviews. I know all the problogger people wax poetic about brevity, but that’s not my scene. :) I like that it’s not yours either; lengthier, in-depth reviews take longer to read, but I usually find them more interesting.

  12. September 18, 2009 8:34 pm


    I love reading reviews but I’ve realized I don’t enjoy writing them. Do what works for you. Your reviews are long but they are also insightful, considerate and cohesive. They are long because of the relevant details. If your reviews lacked substance, I’d say cut back but yours are chock full of what makes a great review.

    I would welcome greater variety in posts. Reviews are not the only way to talk about books and I wish more bloggers would consider other options.

    I also miss reading older titles. I was never concerned with keeping up with what was new but reading blogs, I find what’s new dominates. Next year I intend on reading older works and more literature. The last two years I’ve been reading mostly YA which I love and is relevant for me but I miss reading women’s lit.

    “The thing that struck me about the Ina/symbiot relationship is how one could draw a parallel to the master/slave relationship.”

    We talked about this at length in a Butler forum I belonged to last year. Glad to see the point raised here.

  13. September 18, 2009 8:35 pm

    First, Fledgling. I love that it is unlike all other vampire books. Butler created a unique world, and despite the fact that it bogs the book down at times, I was fascinated by her explanations of the Ina.

    Minor spoiler…
    I think the thing that struck me the most about the symbionts was the issue of free will. Despite the fact that most of them had no choice, they were happy. But it always bugged me that they didn’t have a choice in the matter. That part of the book really stuck with me.
    End minor spoiler.

    Also, I like that the book doesn’t portray vampires in a romantic light. The book is almost clinical in its portrayal of the Ina.

    Second, meditations. :-)

    I think it’s important to remember that this is your blog, and your reviews need to reflect what makes you happy. I happen to love long, rambling thoughts….probably because it’s something I aspire to. :-D

  14. September 19, 2009 12:14 am

    What’s this about 50 words or less? Or 500 words post advice? that’s stupid. Write what you love to write about – as much as you want to rave about it, be thoughtful about it,discourse about it – your blog is wonderful, how you talk about books has won you admiration and many followers. Unless you are unhappy, why mess with the ingredients of success?

    I’m trying not to go on a rant about 50 words or 500 words or any kind of imposed limit set by someone else, because I could easily go on a 5,000 word rant about it! Dear Eva, just get well again, and read and blog and read some more to your heart’s content.

    and dang it, you’ve made me add another book to my read list – Fledgling. That’s what book blogging is all about!!!

  15. September 19, 2009 4:13 am

    Teresa, how did I not know that?! I feel so dumb! :/ That is such a good point about bosom friends; I didn’t want to say it in the post, but I’m thinking the solution is to cull my reader. But sometimes I’m close personally with bloggers who have different reading/posting tastes! Or they’re always commenting on my blog, so I feel I should comment on theirs. See the problem?! lol I cut myself off from review copies at the beginning of the year, and am just now getting back into accepting the occasional one. I find it freeing to not have any!
    *spoiler* I can see a bit of the master/slave relationship, BUT the symbiots have pretty sweet lives. ;) Of course, there’s the implication that other Ina don’t treat their symbiots as well, which I would find closer to slavery. I love the moral ambiguity that surrounds the book!*end spoiler*

    Rebecca, whoops-I forgot to link-I stole the format from Rebecca of RebeccaReads! But I think 50 words is kind of silly-it’s difficult to be thoughtful with that kind of limit.

    Lola, I think it’s a common blogging phenomenon!

    Mee, I already e-mailed you, but I’d just let you know that I wasn’t nearly as much a fan of Kindred as I was of Fledgling! I think it reflects Butler’s greater grwoth as an author.

    Amanda, I’m glad it doesn’t feel repetitive!

    Steph, I saw that and thought it was odd-I usually get lots of comments on my reviews, especially if I remember to ask a question! And I’m glad you’re pro-mainly reviews and long posts. :D

    Jenners, I try to sum things up with the last couple of sentences; I used to bold them, but I don’t like that format and how it forces me eyes around the post. I have no interest in getting any bigger than I am right now!!! In fact, sometimes I feel I’m already a touch too big. :)

    Tiina, I hope you enjoy it, and I can’t wait for your review! Thanks for the kind words. :)

    Bybee, I love your posts-they’re always so clever and well written. :D I’m glad What the Book? has a good SF section! I think I used to ignore most newer books before blogging.

    Heather, I think we all feel guilty over commenting!

    Memory, yay! Read it! Then come back and we can have a spoiler-ific discussion! :D I agree-I definitely enjoy reading long reviews on other people’s blogs.

    Susan, thank you so much. It’s good you’ve realised that reviewing isn’t what you enjoy, though! Do you have any particular suggestions for more variety? I do book list posts at least once a month, but other than that I’m not sure.

    Softdrink, I love that too-how it’s almost an anthropological study! I do love doing long reviews-it’s just I also love to other types of posts, and there isn’t enough time to do them all! :) *spoiler* That’s a good point about the lack of choice. Although I think their lives are pretty cool, I’m not sure how I’d feel about having my destiny completely changed by someone else.*end spoiler*

    Susan, lol;the 50 words or less was a BBAW thing prob. because they have so many participants. The 500 words post is something I see adviced to new bloggers all the time! Thank you for the advice-I do enjoy my blog, but sometimes I’m torn about what I should post about! (Not so much the long post thing-I’ve accepted that that’s my style. :D )

    • September 19, 2009 5:34 am

      Culling the reader is so hard, but I have to do it every now and then. Another thing that has helped is creating three folders: one for my must-read blogs (my blogroll, basically); one for people who have commented on my blog (like you, I want to reciprocate); and one for blogs I want to keep on my radar but that I don’t feel a need to visit regularly (usually these are the folks who raise interesting questions or have an interesting voice but who don’t regularly review books I’m interested in).

      That scheme has helped me so much, because when I have time to really read and comment I can focus on the must-reads, or when I have a spare moment, I can skim quickly through the “on my radar” blogs to save the posts I want to come back to but mark the rest read right away.

      On Fledgling: *spoilers* The thing about the master/slave relationship is that some slaves did have pretty good lives insofar as they were treated well, even made part of the family and given a fair bit of personal freedom, as long as they didn’t step outside the lines their masters set. What they didn’t have is the opportunity to exercise their free will. That’s the parallel I saw (I talked about that at some length in my review because that aspect of the story utterly freaked me out.)

      (And boy oh boy, I am all about the long comments these days.)

  16. September 19, 2009 5:19 am

    Fledgling sounds absolutely amazing. I managed to mooch Kindred a while ago, so maybe I’ll get lucky with this one too! (Except it’s on like 300 wishlists, but hey, I can be optimistic, lol)

    Meditations: Don’t worry about writing long posts, seriously. Some of us happen to LIKE long posts :P And obviously even people who prefer short ones are willing to make an exception for you, as what you have to say is always worth reading.

    I also wouldn’t worry about posting more reviews. I only post non-reviews once or twice a week, as reviews are my favourite thing to write and read on other blogs, and nobody seems to hate me for it (I think…or hope?).

  17. September 19, 2009 6:34 am

    I don’t mind long posts at all! And as for the reviews posts: I love them because you always read such interesting things! I do like to read other bookish posts, but when a book intrigues me, I like to read the posts.

    I have to second the comment that not every blogger is a bosom friend. It’s really hard to cut down the reader (and I doubled mine this week, so who am I to talk) but it’s just not possible to keep up with everyone. I have significantly fewer “followers” than you but still I struggle. I think we all do! Just do your best; we understand!!

  18. stacybuckeye permalink
    September 19, 2009 8:21 am

    Love your blog and everything about it!

  19. September 19, 2009 10:58 am

    I have wanted to read this since you mentioned it, but the library doesn’t have it! I will have to keep my eyes open at the second hand store for it. :)

  20. September 19, 2009 11:06 am

    I read part of your post, since I may end up reading Fledgling, and if it’s half as good as Kindred (which I read and loved) then I’m in for quite the reading treat! Having read my fair share of vampire tales, I’m curious as to how these aren’t like any other vampires I would have encountered thus far. I had seen Fledgling in the stacks – thanks for reminding me that I should read it!

  21. September 19, 2009 1:42 pm

    I think Octavia Butler is one of my favorite authors, and I’ve only read one book of hers! I’m in the process of reading Parable of the Sower right now, though, and it is thus far amazing!

  22. September 19, 2009 1:45 pm

    I love your long posts! Mine always come out on the brief side, but that is my natural writing style. I also write reviews for a publication and they have a word limit, so that keeps me in “brevity” mode. I think longer posts allow a person to reveal more of their thoughts and because of that are highly interesting to most readers. I need to remind myself that on my blog it is OK to be more thoughtful and less formal!

  23. September 19, 2009 6:36 pm

    No, don’t decrease the number of book reviews! I’d rather have a blog post 90% book reviews than 90% memes!

  24. September 19, 2009 7:25 pm

    I have to read this. I read Kindred a couple months back and loved it. Butler was a talented, talented woman. And this would be right in line with my Helluva Halloween challenge.
    Thanks for the meditations!

  25. September 21, 2009 5:32 am

    Last night I found myself wishing that I had time to re-read Wuthering Heights but with all the books I haven’t read yet and the blog, there isn’t time. I really wish there was. So I understand your 3rd worry perfectly.

  26. September 21, 2009 6:52 am

    You know, I think I’d hate to sit down and make a list of goals for my blog…because honestly, I think it would force me to just quit blogging altogether. There’s just so little time to do the things I’d like to do. I wish I could read more blogs and comment more and get more reading done and write more coherent book babble… But I’ve had to face the fact that I just can’t. Not now anyway. Do I feel out of touch with the big book blogging community? Sure. But I sure as hell do love my wonderful little book blogging family! And couldn’t live without you all!

    Fledgling sounds even more incredible than I’d even dreamed…and believe me, I already had very high hopes!!! I sure hope I can manage to squeeze it in during RIP. But I have told myself that it’s finally time to finish all the myriad of books I’ve already started…I feel like I’m suffocating under all these books that are partially read here. *pouting*

  27. September 22, 2009 4:19 am

    Teresa, I need to do that! I used to have a faves and then normal, but I haven’t updated it in months, so now everything’s everywhere again! *spoiler* I totally get the free will thing. Usually it would have really freaked me out too-I think I was too distracted by all the other ‘issues’ to spend much time on it! Definitely a book that could stand up to a rereading. :D

    Nymeth, I’m sending BM luck your way! I like long posts too. :) Thanks for the reassurances about posting lots of reviews!

    Rebecca, thank you for reassuring me about my reviews and the reader! I doubt I have that many more followers than you!

    Stacy, thanks so much!!

    Kailana, what an evil library! :p

    Lesley, I enjoyed it a lot more than Kindred, but that’s just me! And I promise it won’t be like other vampires. ;)

    Lu, Parable is next on my Butler list!

    Terri, thanks! That’s a good point you raise-in college, I got better at the brevity thing, but that was always academic writing (I never took an English class).

    Natasha, I wasn’t planning on doing more memes! I’m not a huge fan of those either. ;)

    Misty, I hope you enjoy it!

    Chris, I swear-I’m going to declare next year the year of re-reading and exploring favourite authors.

    Debi, that’s such a good point! I’d rather have deeper connections with fewer bloggers than vice versa. And just think-the longer you wait for Fledgling, the more delightful it will be to finally start it! :)

  28. September 22, 2009 6:32 pm

    If you lessen the length of your reviews I think I’ll cry. Please don’t. I love your reviews just the way they are, plus, it makes me feel better when mine get a little long! :) I’m agree with Natasha, I’d much rather read a lot that is 90% reviews and not 90% memes.

    I just put Fledgling on hold at the library and it’s all your fault!

  29. Erika permalink
    January 30, 2010 7:09 am

    Just finished re-reading Fledgling. I bought it in hardcover when it was released and read it immediately. Initially, I was disappointed in it because I didn’t feel it was as strong as Butler’s other novels. Re-reading it after a few years, though, has allowed me to appreciate it more, although I still don’t feel this was her best work. I loved that she created a new type of vampire (and I also loved that the vampires don’t sparkle in the sunlight), and I found the description of human-Ina communities to be really interesting and intriguing. Butler’s books sometimes look like they’re about one thing, and then you realize after a while that she was actually coming at you sideways about something else that is totally different. I have read every book and short story that she published, and she is hands down my favorite sci-fi/fantasy/speculative fiction writer. I always loved the genre, and grew up devouring books about dragons and witches and elves, but never realized until I read my first Butler novel that almost no-one in those books looked like me (I am a Black woman) — she was the first author I read who wrote about a future in which brown people (and everyone else, too) were include. Ah, so this is what it’s like to truly *see myself* in a fantastic (original meaning) world! I have enjoyed reading other people’s reactions to Fledgling, thus deepening my own comprehension of the various themes at play in this book. It was a sad day for me when Octavia Butler died, but I am glad that her work continues to be read and be discovered by others. Thanks for your post!

    (one correction to your blog post: the main character’s name is Shori, not Shona)

    • February 10, 2010 2:34 am

      Whoops! I can’t believe I messed up Shori’s name, lol. If this isn’t he rbest work, I can’t wait to get to know more of her. ;)

      And I can imagine that it was wonderful for you to discover Butler!


  1. Fledgling | A High and Hidden Place
  2. Library Loot (24 November 2009) « Olduvai Reads
  3. Never too late! « Olduvai Reads
  4. Fledgling / Octavia E. Butler – Rat's Reading
  5. Recent Acquisitions | Paperback Reader
  6. My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due (thoughts) « A Striped Armchair

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