Four of Maya Angelou’s greatest poems about woman and life are put into one book. Celebration is one her finest gifts.
Brave and Startling Truth by Maya Angelou, 32 pages, read by Brian, on 04/29/2013
Sula by Toni Morrison, 174 pages, read by Tammy, on 02/10/2013
This is a wonderfully written tale of not only the life of Sula but also the lives of many of her neighbors in her hometown, Medallion, Ohio. The story brings up differences in how the blacks living in “The Bottoms” live and the white folks in town live; and not just about their jobs, or status, but in how they approach life and conflict and difficulties. It’s a fast read with real to life characters. Unfortunately for me, I chose this book, because a friend was named after the main character so I wanted to see what in the character inspired her mother to name her daughter, Sula. Going into the book with this viewpoint was a mistake. The character of Sula is a strong, independent soul from childhood on but as she grows older she becomes disconnected with other people and becomes mean. She does not enjoy being mean or causing others pain she just doesn’t seem to care one way or the other. I think I would have enjoyed this book more had I approached it like any other title.
Beloved by Toni Morrison, 324 pages, read by Kim, on 02/11/2013
Toni Morrison’s magnificent Pulitzer Prize-winning novel–first published in 1987–brought the unimaginable experience of slavery into the literature of our time and into our comprehension. Set in post-Civil War Ohio, it is the story of Sethe, an escaped slave who has risked her life in order to wrench herself from a living death; who has lost a husband and buried a child; who has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad. Sethe, who now lives in a small house on the edge of town with her daughter, Denver, her mother-in-law, Baby Suggs, and a disturbing, mesmerizing apparition who calls herself Beloved. Sethe works at “beating back the past,” but it makes itself heard and felt incessantly: in her memory; in Denver’s fear of the world outside the house; in the sadness that consumes Baby Suggs; in the arrival of Paul D, a fellow former slave; and, most powerfully, in Beloved, whose childhood belongs to the hideous logic of slavery and who has now come from the “place over there” to claim retribution for what she lost and for what was taken from her. Sethe’s struggle to keep Beloved from gaining possession of her present–and to throw off the long-dark legacy of her past–is at the center of this spellbinding novel. But it also moves beyond its particulars, combining imagination and the vision of legend with the unassailable truths of history. Upon the original publication ofBeloved, John Leonard wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “I can’t imagine American literature without it.” In fact, more than a decade later, it remains a preeminent novel of our time, speaking with timeless clarity and power to our experience as a nation with a past of both abominable and ennobling circumstance.
When I first started reading this book I didn’t think I was going to enjoy it as much as I did as I got further into it. I love Toni Morrison’s writing style and her characters.