"I saw a novel with a mysterious-looking black woman on the cover. That was why I picked it up – because of the African woman on the cover of a book in the Science Fiction and Fantasy section. I read the first page and my eyes nearly popped out." Book Riot has a killer roundup of posts in honor of Octavia Butler's birthday today, including five other sci-fi authors on being inspired by her writing (that's Nnedi Okorafor above). Pair with our own Edan Lepucki's consideration of Butler’s novel Kindred.
The latest short by James W. Griffiths, We Were Wanderers On a Prehistoric Earth, is an "ode to the incredible flora and fauna of Malaysia." The film is accompanied by a passage from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and it's clear that the author's description of the Congo applies to Southeast Asia quite easily.
"Skipping or skimming parts of a narrative should not only be expected but encouraged, particularly if an author is writing without clarity or purpose or showing off. Life’s too short to slog through some smarty-pants attempt to demonstrate a mastery of mechanical engineering or botany." Adam Kirsch and Anna Holmes face off for The New York Times Bookends column about whether there are right and wrong ways to read a book.