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

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  •  Your last paragraph is very sweet and funny. Thank (3+ / 0-)
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    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:


    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.


    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. . . .


    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

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    •  I am having a relaxing (3+ / 0-)
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      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

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      •  I don't have a TV, as I'd watch it too much (3+ / 0-)
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        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

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