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View Diary: Books Go Boom! How 'Lord of the Rings' is Not a Very Good Book - and Yet, is a Great One (296 comments)

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  •  How should we face pain, chaos, soul-ripping tales (2+ / 0-)
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    dandy lion, Radiowalla

    Big question, with so many painful truths in the world, and us handling them so clumsily (e.g. Climate Change).

    Yet the impact of that one novel is so intense, I am inclined to think one should have more experience before tackling it. On the other hand--what is the best or the right age to learn about evil?
    I tried Beloved in my 20s, and made it half way, then quit. And I'd already faced a fair amount of darkness, in life and books, at half that age. I don't think Beloved's the best place to first jump into Morrison's work (though many of her books have some share of disturbing in them).

    I believe it's very important to expose children and youths to disturbing stories and facts - but we should do it gradually and with great care. You shouldn't just turn on the TV when you're 8, to discover The Omen, Clockwork Orange, or footage of War or 9/11. Books don't have the immediate shock and awe of visual footage, but they can haunt your imagination.

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

    by Brecht on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:07:20 PM PDT

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    •  I'm currently reading Beloved (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, RiveroftheWest

      and struggling with it. On the one hand, it is so true and evocative; on the other, it seems false in many ways, possibly because it's a culture unfamiliar to me. Morrison does expect intelligence, organizational skills, and persistence from the reader. My rebellious soul thinks that if we are going to work that hard, we should be paid.

      It may be telling that this 1987 edition, found in a coffee shop, is virgin sturgeon….

      "You can observe a lot just by watching." ~ Yogi Berra

      by dandy lion on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 09:36:45 AM PDT

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      •  I'd felt for ages I should finish a Toni Morrison (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, poco

        novel, and then two months ago I was completely blown away by the still dark, but with a much more varied palette, Song of Solomon (link goes to my dairy on it). She tells of so much American experience (black, female, poor, rural) that I hardly know - I learn a lot from her.

        You said "it seems false in many ways, possibly because it's a culture unfamiliar to me." I found it took some getting into, both because much of it was alien to me, and because Morrison is such a serious, complex writer - but also very lyrical and honest. Her books are crammed with substance, and do require commitment and attention:

        "I want to write for people like me, which is to say black people, curious people, demanding people - people who can't be faked, people who don't need to be patronized, people who have very, very high criteria."                        - Toni Morrison
        I'll certainly get back to Beloved, because I now intend to work my way through most of her books.

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

        by Brecht on Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 05:40:37 PM PDT

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