I read them both probably 20 years ago, and liked them, although Butler can be relentlessly rough on her characters. Listening to them is interesting; the events seem to happen more closely together and, not surprisingly, the world of the book doesn't take over my head as completely was it would were I reading it again (with my eyes, ya know). Also, Lynne Thigpen was marvelous in the first, but the second has three different voices (for the 3 different narrators) and I'm only loving one of them so far.
But what I was going to say, was, I remember the sense back when I first read these books that the kind of social breakdown she was forecasting really was plausible; the first book starts in L.A. County, where I was living at the time, and the whole thing was very vivid in my imagination ... now it seems less so.
Partly I'm sure that's because living so far from a major metropolitan center has made me oblivious to widespread poverty, crime, and hours on the freeway. And maybe my "maturer" brain is less likely to go on such flights of fancy... but there's something about Obama's America that feels a little less on the edge, to me; I don't by any means agree with all of his policies, but he seems a bit more competent, and a bit less venal, than a lot of our previous "leaders".
I dunno, maybe it's just me. But it's definitely a relief not to feel so compelled to learn to make flour from acorns, anymore.
Hugs to all, and hopes for no apocalypse for a while (or maybe only good ones).