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Dr. King's Refrigerator: And Other Bedtime Stories
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Dr. King's Refrigerator: And Other Bedtime Stories

3.4  ·  Rating details ·  96 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Winner of the National Book Award"A novel in the honorable tradition of Billy Budd and Moby Dick...heroic in proportion... fiction that hooks into the mind." -- The New York Times Book Review

"Long after we'd stopped believing in the great American novel, along comes a spellbinding adventure story that may be just that." -- Chicago Tribune

"It's a joy to read fiction in whic
Hardcover, 123 pages
Published February 1st 2005 by Scribner Book Company
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Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-story
An uneven collection of short stories by Johnson, the author of Middle Passage and Dreamer. Probably for fans and completists only; only one of the stories (Kwoon) was fully realized. I would recommend starting elsewhere if you want to read Johnson.
J Name
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book contains a strong set of short stories. I'm not really sure why but the story "The Gift of the Osuo" deeply disturbed me. His stories are written in a simple straightforward style sometimes containing advanced vocabulary. Some of the tales told are simple while others have a lot to unpack. Most of the stories are ten pages long which I appreciate since I have attention problems but I wanted to keep on reading this due to being generally impressed with it. Incidentally the copy I have i ...more
A mixed bag of short stories, some good, some yawners.
Roger DeBlanck
Jan 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Nothing less than finely-crafted prose would be expected from the talented Charles Johnson. The adeptly-constructed stories in this volume are full of philosophical and epistemological passages that bring wonder and curiosity to the storytelling. As a scholar of sage ideas and wisdom, Johnson has done his research and infuses the complexity of those ideas into very real characters and events. He has the unique knowledge of a philosopher with a child’s whimsical love for storytelling and imaginat ...more
Feb 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010-2011
February 2010

I didn’t expect much from this (very) slim collection of stories, mostly because it was a bargain book, but I was pleasantly surprised--a somewhat frequent occurance as of late. Most of the stories deal with themes of identity and race: cultural differences between an African prince and an American college student, a business executive forced to choose between two exceptional and diverse job applicants, a clash between a student and teacher at a martial arts school, etc. The title s
Bookmarks Magazine

Critics have decidedly mixed reviews for Johnson's third short story collection. Johnson, who teaches at the University of Washington and was awarded a MacArthur "genius" grant, wrote most of these stories for the Washington Commission for the Humanities. The majority read like fiction exercises; most critics praise them only as simple "bedtime stories" with little underlying depth. The few challenging entries-most notably "Kwoon" and "The Gift of the Osuo"-are much more successful (and have bee

Elijah Short
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The short stories in this book are great for reading before bed or on the train. Johnson somehow puts substantial and strong ideas in small pieces of work. His eloquence is profound. His style reminds me of many victorian books, the words are just so sweet and substantial. To illustrate his writing style is much like having desert for dinner yet still getting all the nutrients from vegetables and proteins. And if I had to recommend one story in particular, it would be the one on Queen Christina, ...more
Dec 02, 2013 rated it liked it
There are 2 or 3 little pieces of perfection in here - especially the last story, "Kwoon," the title story, and the fantastic story about affirmative action, "Executive Decision." Nothing else really stays with you after you finish it. The other stories feel a bit slight, which isn't bad in and of itself, but it is a little disappointing, considering how much Johnson's writing resonates and gets in my head normally.
Eight short stories including "Dr. King's Refrigerator" in which Dr. King realizes many of the cultures of the world are amassed in his own refrigerator and kitchen. "Executive Decision" places the reader in the position of selecting from two qualified candidates for a job: a white woman who is forthcoming, funny and relaxed; and a black man who is serious, formal and guarded. In "Cultural Relativity" Felicia is engaged to an African man who claims his custom is not to kiss on the lips.
May 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
I could not get the point of most of the short stories in this very thin little collection. I think the uniting theme was, possibly, righteousness, but it almost felt to me like a Young Adult material...a little simplistic and the themes not very deeply developed.
Symphony Space
Week of December 23, 2010 - December 29, 2010
Mysteries and Wonders
"Cultural Relativity" by Charles Johnson, performed by Regina King
From: Dr. King's Refrigerator and other Bedtime Stories (Scribner)
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable, tight collection of Johnson stories. Probably the best (if not the only) affirmative action story ever written, "Executive Decision." And the story of Descartes' death, "The Queen and the Philosopher," are worth the price of the book.
Mrs. T
Oct 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
while I love the author, this collection was not interesting to me. Kwoon was a good short.
Sep 05, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: no-longer-owned
Unfortunately, I don't remember a whole lot about this collection, other than general quirkiness. Fiction - Short Stories/African-American
Jun 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I don't remember much, but there was at least one story in here I really liked.
Feb 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Unfortunately it ended up being a book of short stories that took me too long to get through. It is nice, but that was a bit all for me.
Brian Stillman
Mar 29, 2008 rated it liked it
If all the tales were good as "Kwoon" it'd be a classic.
Nov 07, 2016 added it
This collection felt a bit like a series of exercises, but "Dr. King's Refrigerator" and "Kwoon" were simply incredible.
Kae Cheatham
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Interesting and well written
Heard the title story on NPR, which led me to pick this book up. Solid collection of short narratives and modern fairy tales.
Cindy Leighton
Ugh such wonderful credentials, but I felt like I was reading "philosophy for children" or "cultural anthropology for children" but even that could be more entertaining than this. Too much not thinly veiled lecturing. Metaphors too transparent and apparent. Characters flat. Disappointing.
rated it it was ok
May 15, 2013
Ryan Feigh
rated it liked it
Jun 30, 2015
H Dos Santos
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Jul 26, 2012
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Mar 03, 2007
rated it it was amazing
Jul 01, 2015
Kiran Doshi
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Oct 07, 2017
Victoria Adams
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Jun 28, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Feb 01, 2011
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Charles R. Johnson is an American scholar and author of novels, short stories, and essays. Johnson, an African-American, has directly addressed the issues of black life in America in novels such as Middle Passage and Dreamer. Johnson first came to prominence in the 1960s as a political cartoonist, at which time he was also involved in radical politics. In 1970, he published a collection of cartoon
More about Charles R. Johnson