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Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1)
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Group Reads Discussions 2018 > "Parable of the Sower" - First Impressions *NO SPOILERS*

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message 1: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
A powerful pick for our climate fiction sci-fi from one of the grandmasters.

What do you think?

Please remember, no plot points or character growth commentary, save those thoughts just another week for the full spoiler thread!

CONTENT WARNINGS for those of you who would like some heads up. No commentary on plot, just a list of topics (view spoiler)


Gabi | 3405 comments This one really got me! Loved the narrative style, the short sentenced matter-of-fact stating of horrible events. It is brutal, absolutely intense and it struck home more often than I would normally like.

While reading I constantly asked myself how I would react, what I would have done … and some of the anwers I came up with weren't really what I wanted to know about myself. Very powerful.


Anthony (albinokid) | 1471 comments Gabi wrote: "This one really got me! Loved the narrative style, the short sentenced matter-of-fact stating of horrible events. It is brutal, absolutely intense and it struck home more often than I would normall..."

I’ve only read some of Butler’s short fiction and I’ve been very impressed by her economical, darkly human writing. I’m looking forward to digging into this one, but I think I’ll need to take a break from darkness and dread once I finish The Changeling.


message 4: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
We really did pick a couple downers. Great downers, but man. Maybe for October I'll force a happy book, I think we'll need to laugh a little!


Gabi | 3405 comments Anthony wrote: "I’ve only read some of Butler’s short fiction and I’ve been very impressed by her economical, darkly human writing. I’m looking forward to digging into this one, but I think I’ll need to take a break from darkness and dread once I finish The Changeling.
"


I read it instantly after The Changeling and I agree, it was a bit much.


Anthony (albinokid) | 1471 comments Allison wrote: "We really did pick a couple downers. Great downers, but man. Maybe for October I'll force a happy book, I think we'll need to laugh a little!"

Have you started the Bingo book yet? It seems dark as well...


message 7: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
Anthony wrote: "Allison wrote: "We really did pick a couple downers. Great downers, but man. Maybe for October I'll force a happy book, I think we'll need to laugh a little!"

Have you started the Bingo book yet? ..."


*facepalm*


message 8: by Anna, Circadian heretic (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna (vegfic) | 9645 comments Mod
I would suggest that you have something light and easy already lined up for when you finish this one. Especially if you continue on to the sequel. It can't just be me, this is a really hard one. But worth it!


Dawn F (psychedk) | 1219 comments Since I do love dark stuff that really gets to you, I think I'll note this one down :)


message 10: by Mike (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mike Snodgrass (mountaineer90) | 1 comments Reading this now! This will be my first Goodreads book club - looking forward to the discussion!


Anthony (albinokid) | 1471 comments Mike wrote: "Reading this now! This will be my first Goodreads book club - looking forward to the discussion!"

Welcome to the group!


Tawallah | 59 comments Recently read this one because Octavia Butler! Her writing always makes you stop and think. Good writing but this one can be a bit of an uncomfortable read. I’ll pop up for some of the comments.


message 13: by Suyi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Suyi Davies Okungbowa (suyidavies) Recently read this as well. I'm from Nigeria, so was very glad to see Nigerian names (Olamina and Bankole) represented in futuristic America, and the history behind them. You don't easily get that in futuristic projections, and I can very well say Butler was well ahead of her time. Great, albeit quite bleak, narrative though. Will take a rest before I jump into the sequel, Parable of the Talents.


Sabrina | 365 comments I just started and as a first step I had to look up the meaning of the title (I’m German speaking and only understood “of the”). So now, I’ve at least an inkling for where this book will take me and I’m ready to plunge into this world… first impression: creepy!


message 15: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline | 2306 comments Yeahhh after reading Allison’s list of nasties I think I’ll give this one a miss. There’s one in particular that upsets me (and a few that I’m not fond of) so I’ll wish you all good luck in your reading.


message 16: by Anna, Circadian heretic (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna (vegfic) | 9645 comments Mod
I'm sad our content warnings are scaring people off, but I completely understand.


message 17: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
We picked heavy books! I still want to read this, but I know Octavia Butler rides the ragged edge of what I can cope with, so I'm gonna wait til the present edge is somewhat patched before trying :-) Better than traumatizing people!


message 18: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline | 2306 comments I’d rather know what I’m in for than paying for the book and finding out later when I’m in a quivering mess somewhere that’s not around other people.

I still haven’t picked Beartown up again once I got to “the Incident”. Not a spoiler btw. They refer to it on page one as the incident. I got halfway through and was by myself at the beach and I ended up heading home to Hubby early because I was so anxious. Upset me no end.


message 19: by Jen (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jen (jenthebest) | 501 comments Excited to give another Octavia Butler a try, since I liked but didn't love Kindred. About 10% in or so.


message 20: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
Jacqueline wrote: "I’d rather know what I’m in for than paying for the book and finding out later when I’m in a quivering mess somewhere that’s not around other people.

I still haven’t picked Beartown up again once..."


I'm sorry to hear that!! It's good to know your limits, and if you ever want to tell me what types of content bug you (you can message me, too) I'll make sure to keep it in mind for future warnings.

Jen, curious what you'll think and how it compares! I'm trying to decide between Kindred and Parable for my next foray.


message 21: by Jarod (new)

Jarod Meyer | 16 comments Jacqueline wrote: "I’d rather know what I’m in for than paying for the book and finding out later when I’m in a quivering mess somewhere that’s not around other people.

I still haven’t picked Beartown up again once..."


That tells me that this is an incredibly descriptive story. I'm very sorry that you had to stop reading it. I do not wish that kind of reaction on anybody but you sold me on the book. I'm always looking for a story that can evoke such a strong emotion in myself.


Travis Foster (travismfoster) | 1154 comments I read this book last year, and what terrified me most about it is just how plausible is it's vision of the future. It's like a beautiful, flaming, prophetic warning.


Jehona | 8 comments I know I will like it. What I don't know is how much.


message 24: by Anna, Circadian heretic (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna (vegfic) | 9645 comments Mod
Jehona wrote: "I know I will like it. What I don't know is how much."

I love this attitude! :D


message 25: by Gabi (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gabi | 3405 comments Travis wrote: "I read this book last year, and what terrified me most about it is just how plausible is it's vision of the future. It's like a beautiful, flaming, prophetic warning."

Oh yes, I felt the same way.


message 26: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline | 2306 comments I will pick Beartown up again one day. When I get home to Hubby and I feel safer and neither of us are going anywhere for a while. It just hit too close to home which is what your triggers do eh

Fredrik Backman (Beartown) is a brilliant writer. Swedish so I think a lot of the impact is also in how the translator does their job. I was crying for my own Grandmother in My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry. And about parallels between my own Mother and I when my Grandmother died and my kids and I when my Mother died. It was a good one to listen to. Which I did while I was driving so crying wasn’t good when you’re trying to drive.

I shall leave you to your Parable now my friends. Enjoy


message 27: by Karin (last edited Aug 02, 2018 04:47PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karin | 773 comments Jen wrote: "Excited to give another Octavia Butler a try, since I liked but didn't love Kindred. About 10% in or so."

I was sure, for a few chapters, that I wouldn't like this book and that it would be, at best, a 2 star read, but it was a 4 star read for me--I just looked at my review earlier today and was surprised because I had this feeling I didn't like it because I opted not to read any other books in that series. I realize now I quit the series after that book because it's dark, dreary and really I've read a lot of post-apocalyptic and dystopian stuff.

This is my review as it's longer than usual and so too long to move here. NO spoilers. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Karin | 773 comments Jacqueline wrote: "I will pick Beartown up again one day. When I get home to Hubby and I feel safer and neither of us are going anywhere for a while. It just hit too close to home which is what your triggers do eh

..."


Grandmother has been my favourite Backman hands down, although Beartown was rounded up to 5 stars. I have read everything of his so far, all rated 3, 4 or 5 stars, and plan to read his next book if and when it gets here.


message 29: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline | 2306 comments Yeah the second Beartown novel came out last month I think. It’s on my iPad. I have Ove here in paperback. Looking forwards to that. And I have Britt-Marie was Here on my iPad too. I’m glad I read Grandmother before Britt-Marie.

Better skedaddle before Allison gets upset with me about not being on topic hahaha


message 30: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
:)


message 31: by Julia (last edited Aug 07, 2018 09:47AM) (new) - added it

Julia | 956 comments I am a huge Octavia E. Butler fan. I'm pretty sure I've read this novel at least three times. (I've read Kindred and Wild Seed at least that many times, if not more.) The first time I read Parable of the Sower, maybe 15 or 20 years ago, I remember being surprised (view spoiler)

Also that first time, and this one, too, as bleak as Lauren's world is, she has hope. I hope that's not spoiler- y. I prefer that in the dystopias I read.


message 32: by Anna, Circadian heretic (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anna (vegfic) | 9645 comments Mod
Only two more days until the spoiler thread opens, please hang on people! :)


message 33: by Megan (new) - added it

Megan (gentlyread) | 85 comments I started reading this over the weekend. I've been amazed by everything I've read by Butler so far (the Xenogenesis trilogy in particular, and some of her short fiction I still think about and have mental arguments over years later--"Book of Martha" I'm looking at you), so I expect that depressing as this might be, it's still going to provide a lot to mull over.


message 34: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil J | 26 comments Suyi wrote: "Recently read this as well. I'm from Nigeria, so was very glad to see Nigerian names (Olamina and Bankole) represented in futuristic America, and the history behind them. You don't easily get that ..."

I am curious to know if you have read Nigerians in Space. I enjoyed it, but as someone who's never been to Africa, there were things I probably missed.

To everyone who is worried about the darkness level of this book, please understand that all the disturbing elements are handled tastefully and that they are not used for shock value.

Here's a passage from my review:

It's like The Stand, except with brains.

I would love to know Octavia Butler's opinions of The Stand, because this book reads like she took King's novel and fixed everything that was wrong with it- homogenous characters, plot holes, vague and unsatisfying religious elements, more plot holes, terrible pacing, and a lame ending.


I'll post a link to the whole review over on the spoilers thread.

Please read this book. IMO, it's even better than Kindred.


message 35: by Tomislav (last edited Aug 08, 2018 01:25PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tomislav | 134 comments I read this book about 15 years ago, along with its sequel Parable of the Talents. Both are really great, and I'm going to take this opportunity for re-read. You all might plan on reading both.

The Earthseed universe does have climate change, but I don't think that's really the point of this writing, the way it is in New York 2140. But still highly rated and worth reading!

I did just finish another recent book that might have qualified as climate fiction. My review of American War is up at https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... .


Oleksandr Zholud | 831 comments I started it yesterday and it is a bit too dark for me; if I need to feel bogged in a mire I'd read Fyodor Dostoevsky for I can read it in original. I don't like dark for darkness sake


message 37: by Julia (new) - added it

Julia | 956 comments Oleksandr,

As I wrote in message #31, without being spoiler- y, what's special to me, among other things, is the main character's hope. Also her relationships with other people: her dad and her brothers are important to her, so are her neighbors, even her stepmom.


Oleksandr Zholud | 831 comments Julia wrote: "Oleksandr,

As I wrote in message #31, without being spoiler- y, what's special to me, among other things, is the main character's hope. "


Reading further I see it and it is not that gloomy (at least at my current 30%) even if I expect a turn for worse soon


Victoria Lestingi (vlestin) | 41 comments I really enjoy an intense read and man this is strong stuff! I will have to pair it with something lighter for when it becomes too much.


message 40: by Beth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth (rosewoodpip) | 1686 comments This is my first Octavia Butler, and I know from reading others' reviews etc. that she is not inclined to take it easy on the reader. I am doing what Victoria is, and alternating short sections of it with a lighter book.


Anthony (albinokid) | 1471 comments In the early going, this dark, bleak vision of our future feels altogether, frighteningly credible. I love that as bleak as things are, the narration is also suffused with empathy.


Oleksandr Zholud | 831 comments Anthony wrote: "In the early going, this dark, bleak vision of our future feels altogether, frighteningly credible."

I am unsure about credibility. It seems the author was greatly impressed by crack-gangs of the 1980s. However, I cannot understand how a walled town with rather small gardens can be self-sustainable.


message 43: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13043 comments Mod
I'd love to see a discussion of what feels realistic vs. false in the full discussion thread! Read faster everyone, so I can hear what you have to say about it! :-)


Anthony (albinokid) | 1471 comments Oleksandr wrote: "Anthony wrote: "In the early going, this dark, bleak vision of our future feels altogether, frighteningly credible."

I am unsure about credibility. It seems the author was greatly impressed by cra..."


What I was referring to regarding credibility was that it felt like modern society could definitely head in the direction of a breakdown of infrastructure and services if certain factors continue. The idea of walled/gated communities is very realistic to me. They are prevalent in South Africa as what feel like heavily guarded fortresses.


Kirsten  (kmcripn) | 25 comments Anthony wrote: "Oleksandr wrote: "Anthony wrote: "In the early going, this dark, bleak vision of our future feels altogether, frighteningly credible."

I am unsure about credibility. It seems the author was greatl..."


I agree, Antony, I could totally see this happening. It also reminded me of those days of company towns. Like the mining and logging towns in Montana. Or what the Okies went through during the Dust Bowl. Man's inhumanity to man


=David= | 37 comments I've started reading this for the April 2021 reread. I'm not a fan of dystopias, usually, but this one is really pulling me in. (I just finished reading Deeplight and I like this book's main character so much more than that one...)


DivaDiane | 2600 comments I’m planning on starting this as soon as I finish my current audio book (Deeplight). I have been deeply impressed with everything of Butler’s I’ve read (Xenogenesis and the Wild Seed series), so I’m looking forward to this. The only reason I haven’t read it yet is because I’m trying to space out her works because there will be no more forthcoming.


message 48: by Phil (new) - rated it 5 stars

Phil J | 26 comments =David= wrote: "I've started reading this for the April 2021 reread. I'm not a fan of dystopias, usually, but this one is really pulling me in. (I just finished reading Deeplight and I like this bo..."

This is the most realistic dystopia you are likely to read. That probably sets it apart from the others you have tried.


message 49: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Burridge | 233 comments This morning I read the first few chapters. I have to admit I’ve read very little Butler, none of her novels, so these really are first impressions. I’m impressed by the matter-of-fact brutal realism of the imagined situation, and somewhat taken aback by the “God is change” religious musings. The point of view character is interesting and the book is certainly readable. I think it’s likely I’ll finish it.

I haven’t followed or participated in any of these group reads up to now. Looking forward to the experience.


message 50: by Andy (new) - added it

Andy Ziegler | 9 comments It was a pleasure going through others' impressions, I agree with most, and it helped put words to my experience.

This is my second book from Butler. (I read Fledgling for a bookstore bookclub) Both are written with a very deliberate control of information (limited perspective) that really pulled me through wanting to piece the world together. There is a balance of detail that provides a richness of world, while leaving a good amount to the reader's imagination.

The darker themes are tagently implied and/or often dealt with as matter-of-fact (leaving the reader to fill in the implications, which can pack a bigger punch). Although dark, there are also themes of hope, empathy, community, and trust providing a great engaging read.


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