Breaking news: Dolly Parton likes Octavia Butler! In her recent interview with the New York Times, when asked about her favorite book she responded: “Not enough folks know what a great book ‘Kindred,’ by Octavia E. Butler, is. It’s kind of tricky to describe but somehow it all works — it’s about race relations and there’s time travel and romance. It’s powerful.” So, there you have it folks. The queen of country music is a fan of Octavia Butler. Suddenly this class’s focus on Butler’s body of work makes sense. (Just kidding, I promise it made sense before too.)
Dolly Parton had been in the news a lot recently. She just released a new Christmas album, “A Holly Dolly Christmas,” and made it into a TV special. More impressively, she apparently donated a million dollars to Moderna, the company that just announced a 94% effective coronavirus vaccine. So, in addition to reading good literature and spreading Christmas cheer, Dolly Parton is also saving lives and ending the pandemic.
In class last week we talked about how Butler’s characters are often uniquely good people in corrupt and uncomfortable situations. Whether Butler’s protagonists are chosen by God or hugged by aliens, they usually try to do their best to help other, even if it means sacrificing their own well-being. Maybe Dolly Parton is a real-life Butler protagonist in our almost-post-apocalyptic world. It’s likely that she was a good person before she read Kindred, but, who knows, maybe it was Speech Sounds that convinced her to do something about the pandemic. Either way, I think I’ll be spending my Christmas break reading Kindred and patiently awaiting the Dolly Parton funded vaccine.
Also, I’m just realizing now that I already have seven blogposts, but I’m posting this anyway out of love for Dolly Parton. And for anyone who’s interested, here’s Dolly’s interview that I mentioned: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/03/books/review/dolly-parton-by-the-book-interview.html