What We’re Reading-Kindred

This book was read by Courtney Bippley who is a Reference Librarian at the Main Campus Library.

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Why did you choose to read this book?

A friend recommended this book to me and I trust her judgement. Also, I’d been meaning to read a book by this author for a while. She’s well known for being an award winning, female, African American scifi/fantasy writer. I’m sorry I didn’t read one of her books before she died in 2006.

What did you like about it?

I liked the realism of the time travel. Not in the sense that time travel made sense (because no explanation was ever really given for it) but that going into the past would, for many, be terrible. The heroine didn’t want to travel in time, why would she when going back meant that she would be forced into slavery. There are relatively few people who would be better off in a previous time period.

Was there anything noteworthy about the book?

This book was first published in 1979, and the heroine travels from ‘modern’ time to the antebellum South. It is interesting to contrast not only those two time periods, but also the ‘modern’ of that time and what is modern culture now. In that sense the book really leads the reader to look back at two different time periods in American history, though that was not the intent at the time of publishing.


Also, and this is nitpicking on my part, this is not science fiction. All the descriptions and materials say it is science fiction, and it is not. It is fantasy. There is no science-based reason for the time travel in the book, ergo, fantasy. This has been a PSA.

Who would you recommend the book to?

Fans of fantasy or time travel stories. Or, people interested in the antebellum South.

What would you pair this book with? 

I didn’t plan it, but the timing worked out that I read this book right before Martin Luther King Jr. day. That was a good pairing. I am not suggesting you wait a whole year before reading it yourself though.

About Courtney Bippley

Courtney is a Reference Librarian at the Main Campus Library. Her favorite genres are fantasy and science fiction. She loves dogs, coffee, and dancing.