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The Toni Morrison Book Club
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The Toni Morrison Book Club

For book lovers and history buffs, as well as the politically engaged, this collection, though small in size, will yield vast intellectual riches." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)


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The Toni Morrison Book Club

“Part introspection, part analysis, completely insightful and compelling, The Toni Morrison Book Club is a tribute to Morrison and her voice, illuminating its impact and relevance in our world. Four writers explore four of Morrison’s novels, each writing about two of them. So each novel is examined by two writers. In each essay, Morrison’s novel serves as the foundation or springboard for a discussion of events in the writers’ lives. With deep knowledge of the novels and great analytic skill, the authors move beyond literary analysis to examine life in the United States. Analysis of mothers in Morrison’s novels leads to discussion of motherhood, particularly Black motherhood, in 21st-century United States through the very personal lens of Black mothers. The theme of “other” in Morrison’s novels inspires reflections on growing up gay in a very conservative family.

The richness of Morrison’s texts is made powerfully evident as these four authors weave her themes, her techniques, her wisdom into the fabric of their lives, their stories, and their examination of the realities and culture(s) of our nation. If you love Morrison, you should listen to or read this book. If you want to understand more about race and racism in the United States, you should listen to or read this book. If you enjoy memoir and good, rich writing, you should listen to or read this book. Maybe I am simply saying you should listen to or read this book! Beware - after listening to The Toni Morrison Book Club, I now want to re-read all of Morrison’s works. And I want to hear more from these four writers.”

Raven Book Store image Nancy, Raven Book Store

Description

In this startling group memoir, four friends—black and white, gay and straight, immigrant and American-born—use Toni Morrison’s novels as a springboard for intimate and revealing conversations about the problems of everyday racism and living whole in times of uncertainty. Tackling everything from first love and Soul Train to police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, the authors take up what it means to read challenging literature collaboratively and to learn in public as an act of individual reckoning and social resistance. Framing their book club around collective secrets, the group bears witness to how Morrison’s works and words can propel us forward while we sit with uncomfortable questions about race, gender, and identity. How do we make space for black vulnerability in the face of white supremacy and internalized self-loathing? How do historical novels speak to us now about the delicate seams that hold black minds and bodies together? This slim and brilliant confessional offers a radical vision for book clubs as sites of self-discovery and communal healing. The Toni Morrison Book Club insists that we find ourselves in fiction and think of Morrison as a spiritual guide to our most difficult thoughts and ideas about American literature and life.


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Testimonials


“To Read Toni Morrison is to encounter the complex interiority of a raced and gendered people as well as the nation state in which they make meaning of their lives. Morrison shows us that some of those meanings are lies. Like Morrison, the collective memoirists of The Toni Morrison Book Club, demonstrate through stunning vulnerability that there ought to be no withholding of secrets — only the messy and difficult work of writing the truth knowing that it is in that endeavor where we might ultimately touch a freedom that has been denied so many of us for so long.”

Darnell L. Moore, author of No Ashes in the Fire

“What can the work of Toni Morrison teach us about the world we live in? Morrison’s work provides a scaffolding here; the narrative frame of the district voices is unique and makes for an intriguing multivocal experience.”

Emily Bernard, author of Black Is the Body

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About the author


Juda Bennett is a professor of English at The College of New Jersey and the author of Toni Morrison and the Queer Pleasure of Ghosts and The Passing Figure. Winnifred Brown-Glaude is an associate professor of African American studies and sociology at The College of New Jersey and the author of Higglers in Kingston: Women’s Informal Work in Jamaica. Cassandra Jackson is a professor of English at The College of New Jersey and the author of Violence, Visual Studies, and the Black Male Body and Barriers between Us: Interracial Sex in Nineteenth-Century American Fiction. Piper Kendrix Williams is an associate professor of English and African American studies at The College of New Jersey and the coeditor of Representing Segregation: Toward an Aesthetics of Living Jim Crow, and Other Forms of Racial Division.


Reviews

“For book lovers and history buffs, as well as the politically engaged, this collection, though small in size, will yield vast intellectual riches. ”

Publishers Weekly , Starred Review

Audiobook details


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