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Next Up: Beloved

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Hello Toni Morrison.

Beloved is another powerful book on the list that deals with racism, discrimination, and slavery. Elements of some, or all three, have appeared in Gone With The Wind, To Kill A Mockingbird, Go Tell It On The Mountain, and The Sound and the Fury, just to name a few.

I haven’t read any of Toni Morrison’s books. And, to be honest, I’m pretty much going into this book “cold,” without much knowledge of what to expect. Thankfully, I haven’t seen the movie either, so I won’t have to picture Oprah as the main character.

Some quick facts about Beloved and Toni Morrison:

  • Beloved won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988.
  • In 1998, the book was turned into a feature film starring Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover.
  • A 2006 New York Times survey of writers and book critics named the book the best work of American fiction in the last 25 years.
  • Morrison is the last American to have won a Nobel Prize in Literature (1993).
  • Morrison is heavily involved in politics and sparked a controversy in 1998 when she said Bill Clinton was facing impeachment because of his “blackness.”
  • She’s written a crapload of novels, including The Bluest Eye and Song of Solomon, a crapload of nonfiction, and won a crapload of awards.

I know a lot of you have read this book, because it received a lot of votes when I asked you to vote on the next 5.

So fill me in. What should I expect from Beloved?

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14 Comments Post a comment
  1. scotte #

    before we get much further, have we quantified “a crapload”? is it more then a smidgen but less then heck-of-lot?


    October 19, 2011
    • It’s a highly technical term. More than a smidgen, less than a dollop. “Buttload” could also be used.


      October 19, 2011
  2. Matt #

    Great book. I think you’ll love it.


    October 19, 2011
  3. I recently read it in my quest to “read myself into a writer”, a quest that obviously also includes Shakespeare, Dickens, Hemingway and so forth.

    Beloved is tough going, very definitely a book-lover’s book, not for those seeking cheap thrills or light summertime reading.

    I am left with a sense of atmosphere after reading it, and it influenced me as a writer.

    Very much one of the best books I’ve read.


    October 19, 2011
  4. There’s a lot going on in this book – too much to reasonably take in in one read, I think. When I wrote my review on it I eventually had to give up the dream of writing a “review” and write instead on the one aspect of the novel that I felt I could focus on, which was the way Paul D viewed everyone around him. That said, it’s a stunner of a book. I recently reread Paradise, which was the first Morrison I’d read (I’ve only read the two) and Beloved wins out over Paradise by far. I read it a month or two ago, but am already looking forward to the reread.


    October 19, 2011
    • Glad to hear this one should be worth the time. I’ve found her style takes a little adjusting to read, but I’m getting used to it.


      October 19, 2011
  5. Rula Mazigi #

    I read it in 1996 and I still remember its heaviness, but it was very well written. The first chapter is essential in setting the tone for both the seriousness of the novel and the reader’s view of the main character, Beloved’s mother. Haunting and raw one does feel heavy, but I remember too that it was a page turner. I hope you enjoy as I did.


    October 19, 2011
    • Definitely feeling the “heaviness” of the book right away.


      October 19, 2011
  6. Honestly, didn’t think much of the book.


    October 19, 2011
  7. Beloved is one of my favorite books. I think Ellen is right when she says that it’s not a book you can only read once. You have to read it at least twice to get everything in. Happy reading.


    October 19, 2011
  8. Haven’t read it yet…I’ll read it with you!


    October 19, 2011
  9. This book is absolutely brilliant! It takes reading it more than once to really understand the whole story and appreciate the craft. Morrison is the most important American female author in recent history.

    I’m currently reading Song of Solomon and it’s great. After Beloved, you may be put off by Morrison, but I’ve found her other work to be much easier to read (however, the subject matter continues to be disturbing).

    Looking forward to your review!


    October 26, 2011

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