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View Diary: Books Go Boom!   Who is the Greatest Woman Novelist since 1950? (294 comments)

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    •  First name that jumped into my head, too (14+ / 0-)

      Though you can make a case for Barbara Kingsolver, too.

      Or Toni Morrison.

      When the union's inspiration /Through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater /Anywhere beneath the sun /Solidarity Forever!

      by litho on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 05:49:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  !! I can't believe I overlooked (10+ / 0-)

        Morrison- for Song of Solomon alone.

        •  Song of Solomon (7+ / 0-)

          is surely one of the best books ever written.
          I love it.
          Toni Morrison has missed the mark a couple times, imho.
          Most notably with a mercy.
          I couldn't get past the first chapter of that book.
          I may revisit it sometime in the future.

          Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

          by JoanMar on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 07:35:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It seems like she has huge skills, and ambition, (6+ / 0-)

            so she misses sometimes when she aims for entirely new territory. Do you have other favorite Morrison books? (I need to read more)

            Or other favorite women authors?

            "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

            by Brecht on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 08:27:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Beloved. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Brecht, Portlaw, janis b, RiveroftheWest

              4 am on an iPhone is quite the challenge. Will elaborate in the morn.

              Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

              by JoanMar on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 01:05:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thank you, JoanMar. I hope you're sleeping well, (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Youffraita, Portlaw, JoanMar

                or will be soon. So maybe Beloved, Song of Solomon, The Bluest Eye, Jazz?

                "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                by Brecht on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 01:19:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  My two favorites from Ms Morrison (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  RiveroftheWest, Brecht

                  are Song of Solomon and Beloved. Song of Solomon is the superior, I think, because of its lyrical prose, mastery of the language and original plot lines. You get to know the characters and you wonder about them after you are through reading. At the end of the book you are like, "Damn! This woman can write! Wow! What an experience I just had."
                  A quote from the book that had me laughing out loud:

                  There must be a potato recipe which calls for lumps in it. Mashed ain't it
                  .

                  Beloved engages you on another level. There are parts of that book that I have to put it down a while and "walk it off." Parts where I just break down bawling.
                  It captures in graphic detail the torturous hell enslaved people had to endure from birth till death.
                  It shows what happens to the human spirit when there are no options and death becomes preferable to life.

                  I don't usually read ghost stories and I would rather there wasn't one in Beloved. But how else was Ms Morrison to show the devastating consequences of having to take your own child's life so as to save it?

                  On a somewhat unrelated note - what does it say, I wonder, when one wakes up at 4 o'clock in the morning and reaches for one's phone to check response to one's comment on DailyKos? I had a good laugh at myself this morning. Really? You did what?

                  Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

                  by JoanMar on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 12:02:13 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Your last paragraph is very sweet and funny. Thank (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    JoanMar, RiveroftheWest, Youffraita

                    you, JoanMar. I hope you're having a good weekend.

                    Beloved is the only one I've tried, and I completely agree: 'Beloved engages you on another level. There are parts of that book that I have to put it down a while and "walk it off." Parts where I just break down bawling.' It is a very powerful book.

                    I'll try Song of Solomon next and, from what you say, it'll hurry me along to try more of her books.

                    Do you know the Paris Review Interviews with different writers? It's like an 'Inside the Actors Studio' for writers, digging deep into the methods and inspiration they apply to their craft. I enjoyed Toni Morrison's interview very much, and think you would too.

                    There's also an interview with a legendary editor, Robert Gottlieb. He discusses all the writers he edited. Here are a couple of items on Toni Morrison:

                    MORRISON

                    Writing my first two books, The Bluest Eye and Sula, I had the anxiety of a new writer who needs to make sure every sentence is exactly the right one. Sometimes that produces a kind of precious, jeweled quality—a tightness, which I particularly wanted in Sula. Then after I finished Sula and was working on the third book, Song of Solomon, Bob said to me, You can loosen, open up. Your writing doesn’t have to be so contained; it can be wider. I’m not sure these were his exact words, but I know that the consequence of the remarks was that I did relax and begin to open up to possibilities. It was because I was able to open up to those possibilities that I began to think things like, What would happen if indeed I followed this strange notion or image or picture I had in my mind of this woman who had no navel . . . whereas normally I would have dismissed such an idea as recklessness. It was as if he had said, Be reckless in your imagination.

                    GOTTLIEB

                    I remember the discussion with Toni as she was beginning Song of Solomon, because although we always did some marginal cosmetic work on her manuscripts, obviously a writer of her powers and discrimination doesn’t need a lot of help with her prose. I think I served Toni best by encouraging her—helping to free her to be herself. . . .

                    MORRISON

                    Bob once used an adjective about one of my books—Beloved—that I’d never, ever, ever heard him use before, about my book or anybody else’s. He said great. It’s funny, because everybody says great about anything. What’s the weather like? It’s great. How do you feel? Great. But I know that when Bob said it, in that context, he meant that. He didn’t mean something else. He might say wonderful, when something was wonderfully done, but he never said great.

                    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                    by Brecht on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 02:25:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I am having a relaxing (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Brecht, RiveroftheWest, Youffraita

                      weekend, Brecht, and hope you are having one, too.
                      Bummed that there is none of my favorite sports on - tennis, basketball, track and field - and not even a good movie.
                      I did see breaking news for the Kardashian baby. * Eyeroll *

                      No, I didn't know of the Paris Review Interviews. I'll check out that clip as soon as I'm done typing this.
                      Isn't that a great point about our overuse of the word great?

                      Thanks again, Brecht!

                      Maya Angelou: "Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."

                      by JoanMar on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 03:16:56 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I don't have a TV, as I'd watch it too much (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        JoanMar, RiveroftheWest, Youffraita

                        if I could. I make do with hulu, which allows me to keep up with The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, and sample some tv shows and movies (when I need a fix). But I'd rather get more reading and writing done. I don't really watch much tv sports - but I do find basketball and tennis the most interesting to watch.

                        Kardashians make me sad. But it's best not even to talk about them.

                        Great is a tempting word - the one I overuse the most.

                        Yes, a pretty relaxing weekend.

                        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                        by Brecht on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 05:52:28 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

              •  Beloved (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                RiveroftheWest, Brecht, JoanMar

                is my favorite of Morrison's.

                'A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit' Greek Proverb

                by janis b on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 07:44:09 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  If I had to pick one Greatest since 1950 - well, I (9+ / 0-)

        don't really think I could. There are so many fine ones that only I've read 2 or 1 or 0 books by. But with a gun to my head, I'd say Morrison. Atwood's up there too.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:10:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I just changed my vote, forgot about (7+ / 0-)

        Toni Morrison.

        SOS - Save Our Sigs!

        by blueoregon on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:12:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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