Ebook Membership: The Many Worlds of Octavia E. Butler

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Good morning and welcome to the LA Times Book Club newsletter.

This fall, we examine the provocative and prophetic legacy of science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler.

She died 14 years ago, but Butler’s work is attracting national interest right now, particularly her acclaimed “Parable of the Sower” with his vision of Los Angeles in the 2020s ravaged by climate change and economic injustice. Sound familiar?

“Butler’s prescient novel has grown in popularity in recent months as people sought ways to understand the current chaos of the real world,” writes Times reporter Tracy Brown. She notes that “Parable of the Sower,” originally published in 1993, hit the Los Angeles Times bestseller list this week.

Brown has created a guide for budding butler fans: 5 Ways to Continue Your Post Parable of the Sower discovery.

For the next few weeks, we’ll be discussing everything about Octavia Butler, who is the subject of an upcoming book about her life and two new TV series based on her books Wild Seed and Dawn.

On November 18, the Lynell Book Club welcomes George, author of “A Handful of Earth, a Handful of Heaven: The World of Octavia E. Butler”, in conversation with Times author Julia Wick. George based her book on research from her fellowship in the Huntington Library’s Butler Archives.

The book club’s free virtual meeting begins at 7 p.m. and will be streamed live on the Los Angeles Times Facebook page, YouTube and Twitter.

Tell us: what is your favorite Butler story and why? Send replies to bookclub@latimes.com and we will publish them in an upcoming newsletter.

Science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler grew up in Pasadena.

(Joshua Trujillo / Associated Press)

United We Read returns

Frustrated with the political divide in the nation, Heather John Fogarty decided to read her way through America from state to state ahead of the 2020 elections. She offered to share her trip with us and I am so glad she did.

To date, she has read more than 40 books from Alabama to Oklahoma. Part 3 of the United We Read series features an unforgettable mix of Anne Tyler, Dean Kuipers, Kiese Laymon, Marie Mutsuki Mockett, Percival Everett, Rumaan Alam and Louise Erdrich.

“As I continue this project, my thoughts are being consumed by our relationship with the country, a topic that has cropped up in much of my reading about other states for the third installment,” she writes. “Culture is always tied to geography, and the books that had the most resonance on my last trip offer a visceral sense of place, often with different perspectives on how we choose to live in the country.”

Illustration for United We Read of a woman exploring the landscape

(Cat O’Neil / For the time)

Festival update

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is celebrating its 25th anniversary and kicking off October 18 with a series of virtual events. Readers can choose from 25 virtual events within 25 days.

Writers and news makers include Marilynne Robinson, Marlon James, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Maria Hinojosa, Laila Lalami, Kevin Kwan, Natalie Portman, Henry Winkler and former California Governor Jerry Brown. All events are free.

Register for tickets. Then take a few minutes to enjoy this essay by travel writer and festival regular Pico Iyer, who revisits the history of the Southern California event, first at UCLA and then on the USC campus in recent years: “The Festival That is why reading books is a joy. It has so quickly become such a rich and solid tradition. “

Iyer adds: “I am thrilled that even in times of social distancing, the festival will find a way to bring us back together in autumn: The year of the zoom showed me that you can often understand an author more intimately on the screen than on other end of a hall. “

Book-to-screen surge: Ryan Faughnder describes a ray of hope for writers in the pandemic crisis. As film and television productions stall, the studios gobble up the rights to hundreds of novels and non-fiction books for future projects.

Fall Books: Margaret Atwood and Carlos Lozada are among the writers helping us understand a wild 2020.

Literature for Justice: The National Book Foundation offers seven books that reconsider mass incarceration.

Is Trump our fault? Authors Laila Lalami (“Conditional Citizens”) and Ayad Akhtar (“Homeland Legia”) argue about citizenship, identity and complicity when they talk about their new books.

What LA Reads: “The Lying Life of Adults” by Elena Ferrante is high on the fiction list this week, while Bob Woodward’s “Rage” is the No. 1 non-fiction book on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list on October 11th.

Last word: “All speculative novelists write about the present and the past and say: If you continue down the path we are on, you will probably end up here,” said the writer Margaret Atwood in a new interview.

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