Recap: I find myself reading a thick "Quality Paperback" collection of three Toni Morrison novels -- Sula, Song of Solomon and Tar Baby, in spite of being put off by Beloved when I read it in college. Can't dispute that she writes well, but sometimes she forces you to dig for it to understand it. And you really have to be in the mood for some matricide, infanticide, a couple of sympathetic characters doing very highly unsympathetic, inhumane things to other sympathetic characters.

So why am I reading it this time? Having finished a few non-fiction books, looking for books on my own shelves and too lazy to get anything from the library, these things looked like a good choice. It's painful to watch it develop sometimes, but at least you're drawn to feel sympathy for them.

Now I'm half-way through Song of Solomon. Not sure what the body count is in this book so far, probably two or three major deaths/murders and a series of political murders. What I'm realizing as I zoom through this second excellent book and happily anticipate the third one, is that in spite of having the ultimate mark of being ChickLit -- "Oprah's Book Club" -- these stories have a lot of action. I mean, generally you don't see Action Heroes killing their own children, watching stoically while their mothers runs around on fire, sleeping with cousins or fathers or anyone available. (Oh yeah, lots of graphic sex in Morrison novels.)

PS - Do not get caught by your wife abusing yourself while watching Danny Glover getting it on with Thandie Newton in Beloved. Unless she has read it or watched the whole thing, it's not clear at that point that Beloved is just a ghost, and that she might be using supernatural powers of seduction on him. If you're watching it for the first time, it just looks like he's cheating on Oprah by sleeping with a mildly-retarded young woman who might be Oprah's daughter. Majorly uncool. No amount of explaining will really rectify the situation, even if you tell her you read it in college and discussed it ad nauseum.

I mean, I hear tell that it would be really difficult to talk your way out of that situation.

[Now which is more sleazy, admitting that story, or including links to products on Amazon for which I could get kickbacks?]


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