Tag Archives: Toni Morrison

WWW Wednesday, 22-November-2017

22 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently readingI’m still going strong with The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer. The story is really intense right now and I’m looking forward to some runs over the holiday weekend when I can listen to this. I’m guessing I need at least another week to finish it.
I was able to start Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf Friday night. It’s a really fast read! If all goes well, I’ll finish it today and take a new book with me on my Thanksgiving travels tomorrow. Fingers crossed!
I started a new ebook as well, This Beautiful Life by Helen Schulman. I think this book is in the same strain as We Need to Talk About Kevin or Defending Jacob, both of which are really dark but have very thought-provoking plots that I really enjoyed.

Recently finishedTwo this week! When it rains, it pours. The first was The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. This was an ebook and I think reading it in that format was not the best way to enjoy it because I lost some consistency (I read ebooks when I’m waiting at the doctor’s office and during lunch so they take me a while). I wrote a review and published it on Monday. I gave it Three out of Five stars. Please go check it out!
I also finished My Jesus Year by Benyamin Cohen. I really enjoy religious memoirs (yes, a very niche category) and this one was no exception. It was fun to read about a Jew learning about my religion, Christianity, through a year-long immersion experience. It’s interesting to see how you’re perceived from the outside! My review went up Tuesday and I gave it Four out of Five stars.

Reading Next: I’m going to take Singing My Him Song by Malachy McCourt with me to Texas on my Thanksgiving trip. I read the first few pages of this right when I got it and I was intrigued so I’m excited to keep going with the plot. I always love a good memoir.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Book Review: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (3/5)

20 Nov

I find I usually give ebooks lower-than-normal ratings. I think it’s because I read them so slowly that some of the connections to the beginning of the text are lost on me. I think this is one of those cases. The heartbreaking story of Pecole Breedlove was tear-worthy in small steps but if I’d sat down and binge-read this book, I probably would have cried the latter half of the book. I won a physical copy of this book through a giveaway on Uncharted Parent. I’m sad to say that was over a year ago and I finally picked up the ebook so I could get to it sooner. Thank you, Tracy!

Cover image via Goodreads

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Summary from Goodreads:

Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in.Yet as her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife.

I don’t read book summaries before I start a book so I expected the two girls, Frieda and Claudia, to be bigger characters in the book. I kept waiting for the narrative to come back to them. I was also thinking that the blue eye would become a big part of the plot earlier in the storyline. Overall, this book took me by surprise. I didn’t expect the rotating narrators and I found it unpredictable who would speak next. Because I read it in chunks, I struggled to remember who was talking, what the time period was, and how the person was connected to the main plot with Pecola.

It’s hard for me to say how credible the characters were. I’ve never been in Pecola’s situation before nor known anyone who was. I thought Frieda and Claudia were wonderful. Their innocence and perception of the world are what I remember from my time at their age. I found it hard to put myself in Pauline or Cholly’s shoes, either, because they had very different lives than I did. Cholly, in particular, was hard to relate to. Maybe it was the gender difference but I found him do deplorable that I wanted to skip his chapters.

Claudia was my favorite. She had her heart in the best of places and you could see her questioning the logic behind everyone being mean to Pecola. She knew she was poor and ugly, but she was still as nice as she could be. Her loss of innocence was a big part of the plot in my mind. By the end, she realized what was so pitiable about Pecola and she still wanted to do nice things for her.

I related to Claudia and Frieda a bit. I think I shared their generalized good spirit at their age (or at least I’m going to think I did). I remember bad things happening around me to people but in a very removed way. I didn’t know why people’s parents were getting divorced or what that really meant. It was a youthful disconnect from reality and I remember, like the girls, slowly piecing together that there were larger, sadder, things going on in the world.

Toni Morrison
Image via Goodreads

The scene where Pecola has her first period was one of my favorites. To an adult reader, it’s so obvious what’s happening. But the panic of the girls, their failures to communicate with their mother and with each other, made the scene funny and memorable. It was light-hearted, unlike most of the book, which made it stick out a lot in a good way. I was hoping that kind of humor might come up again later on, but no such luck.

I don’t want to ruin the ending of the book, but it was so sad that it was my least favorite part for that reason. What Cholly does and how Pecola deals with it are really sad. The part at the end where she sees her blue eyes was a bit confusing at first, but beyond sad when I figured out what was going on.

 

Pecola desires to be loved and feels that if she is pretty like a doll, someone will love her. Unfortunately, her dolls and her idea of beautiful is the caucasian idea of blue eyes. To become pretty, she’ll have to find a way to have blue eyes. The idea of a singular definition of beauty has been challenged a lot in recent years but wasn’t in the 1940s. Her singular push to that idea of beauty is sad when we see how unobtainable it is. Modern society has created surgeries, diets, and clothes to help women attain that idea of beauty, but how real is surface beauty? What if we’re the only ones who see it, the way Pecola sees her blue eyes?

Writer’s Takeaway: Morrison uses a sample from a reading primer to set up a stark difference between what the girls read and idealize as a perfect family and the world they live in. I understood why she did this, but it wasn’t a style I would imitate myself. It became tedious to read and, frankly, I started skipping those parts.

This book was good and it was sad, but it was a bit abstract in parts for my taste and jumped around a bit. Three out of five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
The BluestEye by Toni Morrison | Book Maven’s Blog
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison | The Writerly Blog of Lane William Brown
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison | 100 Books in 100 Weeks

WWW Wednesday, 15-November-2017

15 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I’m 3/4 of the way done with The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. With how short the book is, I’ll probably finish it up in the next week provided I get a few days to read during lunch. Three more days should do it.
I reached halfway in The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer. His books are really long so I’m not surprised this one is taking me so long. I’ve been easing off a bit with running, too, which is making this even slower. I’ll keep pushing on because it’s a really fun storyline.
I’ve been enjoying My Jesus Year by Benyamin Cohen a lot. I really enjoy these religious memoirs and I feel pretty certain I’ll finish this one up this week.

Recently finished: Nothing again! I’m going to blame starting them at the same time. And length. And me being a bit lazy lately.

Reading Next: It will still be Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf. This is a slim book and I’m hoping it will be a fast read so I can knock it out before my next book club meeting! Fingers crossed.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 8-November-2017

8 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I’m still pushing forward with The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. I’ve had really busy lunch periods lately so I haven’t had much of a chance to read it during lunch but I’m squeezing in a few pages here and there. I should finish it before the end of the year with no problem.
The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer is going to be a long haul. This is a long audiobook but I’m liking it so far. As with most thrillers, it’s very fast paced but I’m having fun trying to figure out who is involved in what and who knows what.
I’m trying to read My Jesus Year by Benyamin Cohen so I can start my next physical book. I really enjoy memoirs, especially religious memoirs, so this is really enjoyable for me and it’s a quick read anyway.

Recently finished: Nothing this week. I’ve made good progress in my books, but nothing new to share.

Reading Next: Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf is sitting next to my bed, ready for me to finish Cohen’s book. I’m excited to read a new-to-me author and I’m hoping this goes well.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 1-November-2017

1 Nov

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison is still my ebook and I’m really enjoying this during my lunch breaks. It jumps around a bit more than I like, but the short snippets of the story make for good lunchtime reading.
I started a new audiobook, The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer. I’ve read a few Meltzer books before so I’m pretty sure of what I’m getting into with this one. It’s fun to see how similar an author’s books can be and yet how different. This is a long audio so I suspect this will be on here for a while.
I also started a new physical book, My Jesus Year by Benyamin Cohen. I love memoirs and memoirs about travel and religious understanding are always top in my book. Especially when my favorite non-fiction writer, A.J. Jacobs, has a blurb on the cover.

Recently finishedI finished Rules of Civility by Amor Towles on Friday and really enjoyed it. The characters were very real people and Towles writes amazing little details about them. My book club met to discuss this on Monday so I’ll have a summary of that up next week. You can take a look at my review, posted earlier this week, in the meantime.
As I expected, I flew through Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom. It was short and sweet and I understand why this one is consistently on the bestseller lists. I couldn’t stop thinking about how much time and money went into Mitch visiting Morrie for all of those weeks but I think what both men got out of it was more than worth what was put into it. I posted a review earlier this week so please check it out.

Reading Next: I got my next book club pick, which is going to be Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf. I’ve seen a lot of positive reviews for Haruf’s novels but this will be my first. I’ll pick it up as soon as I finish Cohen’s book.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 25-October-2017

25 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I’m getting close to half-way in The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison but a few busy weeks at work is likely going to make for slow going. I will endure!
I’m really enjoying Rules of Civility by Amor Towles and I think I’ll finish it this week, time permitting. It’s hard to put my finger on what makes his writing so great but this story is amazing.
I started a new audiobook and it’s a quick one! I’m embarrassed to admit I’m a Detroiter who’s never read Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom. I know this is going to be a quick one so I expect it will be on my finished list next week. Fingers crossed!

Recently finished: I finished Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks on Friday during a run. I wish it had ended without an epilogue! I think the story was really good but the epilogue ruined it. I wrote a review and posted it Monday if you want to check out some more of my feelings on the book.

Reading Next: I had another book club selection here, but I might not be going to book club now. I know, I’m a terrible person having missed the last three for this group! I’ve had good reasons each time, I promise. In my defense, it’s an annual meet-the-players night for the Detroit Red Wings. I’ve gone the last two years and loved it and I think I’m going to have to go again in the new arena! TBD still, so I’m saying I don’t know what I’ll read next.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 18-October-2017

18 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

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The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I’ve been able to read The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison only one more lunch time so I haven’t moved much in it. So far I like it but I think I’m still coming to the main plot. I know this is a short read so I hope i can get through it pretty quickly.
So far, Rules of Civility by Amor Towles is really great. I wish I had more energy before bed to read it becaue I think it’s one I could lose myself in. Too bad school reading and workouts have me falling asleep without getting many pages in.
Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks has been good so far. I wanted to listen to music on my half marathon this weekend but I should have given myself time to listen to this one! I’m about halfway through but I keep thinking I could be farther into it.

Recently finished: Nothing! I recently started all three of my books so there’s no surprise to me that I don’t have anything on this list this week. I’m working on finishing something for next week but we’ll see what life has planned.

Reading Next: My next book club pick will be Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. I’ll start this as soon as I finish Civility which I hope is sooner rather than later.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 11-October-2017

11 Oct

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!

IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community.


Currently reading: I started reading The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison last week. It seems to be going fast because my ereader already says I’m 10% of the way through it after only two lunch readings. I’m thinking this one will move very quickly.
I started Rules of Civility by Amor Towles and I’m very engaged so far. I know it’s set in the 30s but it has a very 20s feel of it to me so far. We’ll see how this goes!
I started Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks on audiobook very recently. It’s still a bit too early for me to make a call on it so stay tuned!

Recently finishedI made great progress to finish Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins. I’m glad I read this one and sorry it took me so long to get to it! It was a better version of Edan Lepucki’s California and I’m glad I found it. My review went up Monday so please go take a look.
I was able to wrap up The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory as well. I can’t say this was my favorite of Gregory’s books, but I still liked it. This was a little heavy on the history and didn’t seem to have much drama to it. I like when Gregory invents scandals (or embellishes the ones that are already there) and romances. This one seemed too teemed in history. A review went up yesterday so you can see my complete set of comments there.

Reading Next: No plan now as I just started three books! I’ll see how these progress before I decide on the next one to pick up.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!