If you could give a book to someone. . .[GIVEAWAY]

April 12, 2010 at 10:41 am 31 comments

. . . which one would you give?

A couple of days ago Orannia (Walkabout) wrote a post about a book that really spoke to her on a soul-deep level. At the end of her post she asked readers to share the titles of books that spoke to them in the same way.

A number of books came to my mind, but the one that seemed most relevant to the situation was Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower. It’s one of my DIK books, and it really had a profound effect on me when I read it.
Here’s the description for Parable of the Sower:

Parable of the SowerLauren Olamina is an empath, crippled by the pain of others. Cloistered inside a neighborhood enclave in a US where the distance between the haves and the have-nots has widened to a gaping chasm, she lives a protected life. But one night, violence explodes, and the walls of her neighborhood are smashed, annihilating Lauren’s family and friends — all she loves and knows.
Now the empath must face the world outside. Leading a tiny band of desperate followers through a thousand miles of Hell, she is a prophet bearing nothing but the promises of new life and a new faith . . . Earthseed.

Here’s what I said about it at DIK:

One of those books that has changed the way I see things. The late Octavia Butler wrote this powerful book about hope, community, and love amid a dystopian Los Angeles, over 15 years ago, yet it still feels timely. Lauren, an empath, develops a spiritual belief system that sustains her and ultimately those around her, during the dark aftermath of her community’s destruction.
I’m not big on touchy-feely, new-agey books. This isn’t one, despite the emphasis on her prophet-like persona. It’s gritty and inspiring. If you want to read a book that will touch you deeply, this is the one to read.

Today, I’m still thinking about Orannia’s post and about Parable of the Sower. I re-read it last year when it was my choice for my book club. I was so excited to see new people exposed to Octavia Butler’s profound book and really get something out of reading it. When my nephew’s girlfriend (who’s also in the book club) told me she went and read Octavia Butler’s back list after reading PotS, I was so happy. (Her oeuvre is filled with thought-provoking books on the nature of love and re-inventing the meaning of “family” units. While Parable of the Sower is my favorite by her, all of her books are worth reading.)

The upshot is that I’m dying to share Parable of the Sower with you. Octavia Butler is an often overlooked writer, and the true tragedy is that she died a few years ago. The literary and speculative fiction world lost a true giant.

To me, one of the biggest joys of reading and blogging is sharing books that are special to me with other readers.

So, I’m going to repeat Orannia’s question here, and add to it:

. . . have you ever read a book that speaks to you?

If so, please share it in the comments by midnight, Friday, April 16, 2010. I will randomly select one commenter and send them a copy of Parable of the Sower.

Thanks, Orannia, for a thought-provoking post!


Entry filed under: Contest/Giveaway, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction. Tags: , , , .

April 2010 Book Releases Shelby Revealed (A Mind Games Interview & Giveaway)


  • 1. KC (Smokinhotbooks)  |  April 12, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    I recently read a m/m coming of age story Enlightened – Little Boy Lost by JP Barnaby, I just fell in love. The story was so moving *eyes mist over* when they both go out on their first official date, Jamie brings a sweatshirt so they can hold hands while watching the movie. They both live in a very conservative town in AL so they’re relationship has to be kept a secret.

    When I finished it I immediately called my sister and told her to buy this book immediately. If I had it in print I’d have sent it to all my blogger bk friends.

    P.S. No need to enter me for the contest 🙂

    • 2. Renee  |  April 12, 2010 at 12:29 pm

      Oh! I saw that on your goodreads. I have to put that on my tbb list.

      I love it when a book makes me want to buy copies and hand them out to people. Lisa Kleypas’ contemp Sugar Daddy was that way for me, too.

  • 3. orannia  |  April 12, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Thank you Renee! *hugs* Parable of the Sower sounds like an amazing book. I love books that speak to you…as you said on a soul-deep level. By Degrees (JB McDonald) would obvious be on my list *grin* Also Lisa Kleypas’ Blue-Eyed Devil. I remember reading that book and having a few pieces of the puzzle that is me sort themselves out in my head. Such books should definitely be re-read…and shared!

    Fantastic post!

    • 4. Renee  |  April 12, 2010 at 8:40 pm

      I added By Degrees to my TBB list today! 🙂

      Oh, I love both Sugar Daddy and B-ED. Yes, and yes.

      Thank you so much for the inspiration for this post, Orannia!

  • 5. Chris  |  April 12, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delaney, which is a science fiction novel that I first read when I was in fifth or sixth grade. It’s about how the language in which we think shapes how we think and even what concepts we understand and think about. Wow. Powerful stuff! I reread this a year or so ago, and it was still just as potent.

    Also, although a bit less worldview shaking, Charles de Lint’s Newford books, particularly Someplace To Be Flying give me the sense that magic does exist in the world, and it’s just past your peripheral vision…

    • 6. Renee  |  April 12, 2010 at 8:42 pm

      Wow, I have to look up Babel-17. It reminds me of a lot of the stuff I read in college. (well, some of the cool stuff, anyway!)

      STILL have to read the Newford books!

  • 7. Scorpio M.  |  April 12, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Cormac McCarthy’s, The Road, is probably the most powerful book I’ve ever read. Set in a post-apocalyptic society where Earth as we know it is nothing but ash and darkness. Sounds depressing, right? I thought it would be, too but oh was I wrong. Yes, it’s bleak and dystopian but the ultimate story is about love.

    A nameless father & son trying to stay together as long as they possibly can, knowing that the future is barely hopeful yet the father’s love…oh my goodness, the essence & purity of a parent’s love for their child, the utter selflessness of motivation that McCarthy was able to translate was simply stunning. I am not a parent, I have no children but my heart was palpitating as I read. My soul truly touched. I have not forgotten this book even after 4 years. Probably never will.

    Thanks for posing such a thought-provoking question.

    • 8. Renee  |  April 12, 2010 at 9:04 pm

      The Road is one of my guy’s favorites, and I’ve been meaning to read it forever!

      It sounds incredible. I don’t think I every really knew what it was about. I may have to look at the library to see if the have the audiobook.

      Thanks for commenting! 🙂

      • 9. Scorpio M.  |  April 13, 2010 at 6:07 pm

        No problem, I love recommending The Road, you should surprise your guy and read it 🙂

        • 10. Renee  |  April 13, 2010 at 7:35 pm

          I requested the audiobook from the library, yesterday! 😉

  • 11. Erotic Horizon  |  April 13, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Hey Renee..

    It’s hard to whittle down my sort of must go to books to one or even two… So I’ll mention three from my pile..

    1. Tao Te Ching – One of those book where the phrases seems like nothing, but think on them for five minutes and they make a massive impact…

    http://www.laetusinpraesens.org/docs00s/taote1.php (losely interpreted)

    2. The Art of War -Sun Tzu. Hands down one of my favourite books. it deal with the tactics of going against the enemy forces. However, the books is so logical, just using the concepts in everyday life make a big difference to how we see the world..

    3. Because we read romance – The Gamble – Lavryle. This books dragged me back and forth between life as I know it and life as I want it to be.. Simply perfect…

    Thank you for mentioning Butler, I will have to check out more of the authors work…


    • 12. Renee  |  April 15, 2010 at 9:35 pm

      I think we have the Tao Te Ching on our shelves. (Though I’ve never read it!) I’ll have to track it down…

      I’ve only read Years by LS, which I enjoyed a lot. Going to go over to Fantastic Fiction and ck The Gamble out!

      YW! 🙂

  • 13. Lea  |  April 13, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Hey Renee;

    Oh, there have been many over the years. In fiction, I would have to say “No Great Mischief”, by Alistair Macleod, I think it is the only perfect novel I’ve ever read. The lush beautiful prose literally washes over you. The story is about a family living in Cape Breton here in Canada.

    Erotic romance: Would have to be “Wicked Burn” by Beth Kery, I still get a lump in my throat just looking at that book.

    Historical/time travel romance of course would have to be Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon. I get to trembling when I think back on reading those novels so long ago.

    Thanks so much for this – great post!

    • 14. Renee  |  April 15, 2010 at 9:43 pm

      Wow, I’ve never heard of No Great Mischief. I’m a total sucker for beautiful prose.

      Wicked Burn was a wonderful book!

      Oh, Jamie and Claire! I’ve gotten 2 people to read it because of my ravings. Love it. Though, #3 is my favorite. All the storylines come together in Voyager.

  • 15. ErotRomReader Janna  |  April 14, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    For me that book would be One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The story follows 100 years in the life of Macondo, a village founded by José Arcadio Buendía. Maybe hundreds of characters play a role in this saga and the book is all in one. Because you can read this book on at least 7 levels and every time you read it, something new will draw your attention. It’s fascinating. After so many years I still see the village and it’s magical occupants clearly when I think of this book.
    I’ve read almost all Garcia Marquez’ books, and there are a few more that have a special place on my shelves, but this one is that one that speaks to me!
    Nice post!

    • 16. Renee  |  April 15, 2010 at 9:49 pm

      I tried reading 100 Years when I was about 19, and it totally blew my mind! I’d never before read magic realism, and I had no context for it.
      Looking back on it, I see how ahead of the curve GGM’s writing was. Especially after all the lit crit theory I had to read a few yrs later in college! You’ve got me curious about how I’d feel reading it now.

      • 17. ErotRomReader Janna  |  April 16, 2010 at 5:39 am

        I think I wouldn’t have finished it when I’d read it at the age of 19 for the first time 🙂 I wouldn’t have been ready for the depth of the book. And all the characters with the same names would’ve been very confusing at the least. And the magic realism that you mentioned would have blew my mind too!
        It’s a book that’s definitely worth rereading imo, it sucks you into this unusual world immediately and, depending on the phase of your life you’re in at the moment, it shows you something different each time.
        You make me want to reread it now 😉

  • 18. Hilcia  |  April 14, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Hi Renee, great post, sorry I missed Orannia’s. 😦

    There are a few books mentioned above that I’ve read recently and that have touched me. The Road by Cormac McCarthy and Blue Eyed Devil by Kleypas are two books that I read and that stayed and stayed with me. But I’ll mention another book, one that I read a long time ago as a young(er) woman in Spanish — “El Amor en Los Tiempos del Colera” — and then the translation “Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.” A book where the writer uses his amazing skills so subtly to explore more than just love, that if the reader doesn’t pay attention, he/she might just miss where the author really want to take him/her. On the surface a love story, underneath a story that explores obsession, rage, mortality, human depravity and strife.

  • 19. Hilcia  |  April 14, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    LOL, I didn’t see ErotRom’s comment… as I was writing mine… but 100 Yrs of Solitude is another unforgettable read! My first book by Garcia Marquez when I was 11 yrs old… I was way to young to really appreciate that book at the time, and re-read it years later. But, yes… unforgettable. 🙂

    • 20. Renee  |  April 15, 2010 at 9:52 pm

      Great minds! lol

      See my above comments to Janna re: GMM. I’ve never read Love in the Time of Cholera, though. I think I was so out of my depth with 100 Years, I never read anymore by him.

      Didn’t they make a movie of LitToC?

    • 21. ErotRomReader Janna  |  April 16, 2010 at 5:41 am

      Wow Hilcia! You read 100 Years when you where 11 years old? That’s amazing! I think it would’ve scared me at that age, lol!

  • 22. Sullivan McPig  |  April 14, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    First book that comes to mind is ‘American Gods’ by Neil Gaiman. It’s so beautifully written and I love the story and characters.
    Another one that ranks high on my list of books that speak to me is ‘Charmed Life’ by D. Wynne Jones. I wanted to live in a world like that when I first read it.

    • 23. Renee  |  April 15, 2010 at 9:58 pm

      I love Neil Gaiman’s YA and Neverwhere. I actually own the American Gods audiobook. I’ll have to give it a listen!

      I’ve never read DWJ, but loved the Miyazaki movie of Howl’s Moving Castle. (Gonna look up Charmed Life now.)

  • 24. LesleyW  |  April 14, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    I think everybody will know mine, mainly because when I am deeply moved by a book or it makes me think then I have to talk about it.

    In recent years the books that I would like everyone to read and enjoy are The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. (The number of times I’ve typed that name you think I’d be sure of the spelling). I couldn’t read anything for two weeks after finishing it because it played over and over in my mind. Makes you think about the nature of time and love.

    The Adminstration series by Manna Francis – which while not uplifting has made me think about what love is. And whether the words need to be spoken aloud.

    Going back a little further a book that touched me in my twenties was A Crack in Forever by Jeannie Brewer. I always finish that book in floods of tears and knowing how important it is to let the people you love know that you love them.

    • 25. Renee  |  April 15, 2010 at 10:06 pm

      I just got The Time traveller’s Wife audiobk from the library, and my guy got to it before I did. He said it was beautifully written. He actually replayed some parts to listen to again because they were so beautiful. Hopefully, will get to it soon.

      Yes! Toreth! 🙂

      I’ve never heard of A Crack in Forever. (Gonna run back to Fantastic Fiction and look it up.)

  • 26. Eva SB  |  April 15, 2010 at 3:33 am

    I have read quite a few book moved me (The Time Traveler’s Wife)
    And some which make me feel that reading them has been a worthwhile use of my time (Wolf Hall)
    But I interpret ‘speak to’ as something that has affected my outlook on life and I can’t say that has really happened since I was a teenager.
    One of the most influential books I read was also one of the first adult books I read – 1984.
    And another influential book is one that is frequently overlooked – The Chocolate War.
    I didn’t identify with any of the characters, lucky for me, but felt these books told The Truth.

    • 27. Renee  |  April 15, 2010 at 10:10 pm

      I’ve heard of The Chocolate War, but I don’t know what it’s about! One more to look up. 😉

      Hmm…good point! Sometimes it’s about truths and world view. I have a couple of those kinds of books that I read in my 20s, and I can still see their effects on my outlook today.

  • […] Renee about a book that really spoke to you and you could win a copy of Octavia Butler’s classic science fic…. Leave your comments by midnight PDT, April […]

  • 29. Host  |  April 15, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Hi! The book sounds very interesting, thanks for sharing. The book that comes to my mind is Broken by Megan Hart. I thought about it many a days after I finished reading it. It’s strange dough, although I loved the book it provoke so strong feelings in me that I don’t want to read it ever again. It makes you think about your life and priorities and relationships you have with number of people. Really strong book.

    • 30. Renee  |  April 15, 2010 at 10:13 pm

      Another one I haven’t read! But, so many people I know have mentioned Broken to me! I’m listening to Megan Hart’s Switch right now, and have Dirty and Stranger on my tbr shelf. I’ll definitely get to Broken in the future! I know her Deeper stayed with me for days after I finished it.

  • […] This book was recommended by Orannia (Walkabout blog) in her post which inspired my If You Could Give a Book to Someone post & giveaway. […]

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