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The Toni Morrison Book Club

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  589 ratings  ·  143 reviews
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 move ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by University of Wisconsin Press
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Bonnieb Definitely not...I have read only one, with difficulty. This book is a bridge BACK to her books. As a result of reading this book, I think I can bette…moreDefinitely not...I have read only one, with difficulty. This book is a bridge BACK to her books. As a result of reading this book, I think I can better appreciate the reading of them.(less)

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Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting memoir of sorts with four members of a book club who learned a great deal about themselves, each other and what it means to live in the world from different subject positions through the lens of Toni Morrison’s novel. Really interesting conceit and it is quite moving to see these four friends and the emotional generosity they show one another. A thoughtful, different kind of memoir.
Anne Bogel
Aug 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This group memoir has four authors, all English professors and colleagues who came together to read the works of Toni Morrison. The memoir focuses on four of her books: Beloved, The Bluest Eye, A Mercy, and Song of Solomon. Each writer contributes two deeply personal essays about how their life intersects with Morrison's work (or, as they say, how Morrison serves as a catalyst), which means that the reader gets multiple perspectives on each novel.

I read this and the new Zora Neale Hurston colle
MaryBeth's Bookshelf
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book blew me away. I went in totally blind and I actually thought it was a fiction book about friends who form a book club that reads only Toni Morrison books. I was way off. This is memoir written by a group of friends that discuss their own stories and how they relate to different books by Toni Morrison. We always say that the reason we read it to walk in another person's shoes and understand their unique experiences. This book allows us to see real life impact and stories that mirror tho ...more
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part group memoir, part ode to Toni Morrison but mostly a collection of intimate and insightful essays on identity, gender and race, The Toni Morrison Book Club is unlike any memoir I've read before. It's also possibly a very underrated book. I've barely seen it around and I genuinely hope it eventually finds its audience and gets read and talked about by more people.

In this book four friends, (a White man and three Black women) pick four of Toni Morrison's books namely, Beloved, The Bluest Eye,
M.  [storme reads a lot]
This book is amazing. Please read it. And then read Toni Morrison.

Thank you so much and the publisher for my audiobook copy.
Ashley Marie
A beautifully rendered collection of deeply personal stories, intertwined with thoughts on several of Toni Morrison's books and how the book club related to those books - Beloved, Song of Solomon, A Mercy, and The Bluest Eye. I want to come back to it after I've read more of Morrison's work.

Edit: It's probably a good idea to be familiar with these four novels prior to reading The Toni Morrison Book Club, but I don't think it's a prerequisite - important plot points are mentioned so, spoilers, bu
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I couldn't stop reading this, partly because it was written by four of my colleagues, but mostly because it was honest and challenging and beautifully written. This literary memoir is all about what books mean to us, how they get under our skin and into our hearts and help us see ourselves, each other, and the world with greater clarity.

In this case, the authors are writing about Toni Morrison's books (The Bluest Eye, Beloved, A Mercy, and Song of Solomon) as well as her legacy. Their essays ar
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I love the idea of a group of scholars who come together to read books deeply, to write together, and to push each other to explore important but sometimes painful experiences and emotions in their lives. Still, the book seemed a little too facile and a little too disjointed to sit alongside Toni Morrison’s work.
Neelam Babul
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The moment I saw this book I knew I have to read it. Any book with the word book or book club is a must-read for me.

It is centred around a group of four scholars who come together to read books written by Toni Morrison namely, Beloved, Sula and The Bluest Eye. The friends then decide to write essays based on what they have read and how it applies to their lives and furthermore, to push each other in exploring their personal and at times painful experiences.

This is a book that will resonate wit
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One reason we read is to walk in another person's shoes and this book provides four sets of shoes we can try on and take a few steps in. These four professors have taken a select few of Toni Morrison's books and told some deeply personal stories about how these books relate to their lives. It's an interesting and unique approach. I, in turn, enjoyed the stories and squirmed because of them. But that's another reason to read: to step out of our comfort zone and learn a little about other people's ...more
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I give very few five star reviews; this incredible memoir, cultural critique, and literary analysis is one of the most important books I have read in many years. I say this because it spoke to me both at an emotional and an intellectual level.

TMBC was written by four authors, all faculty at the College of New Jersey—3 black women and 1 white gay man. Each reveals a secret and then writes stories encompassing both that secret and a bridge to TM’s writing. The stories are biographical in nature;
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Toni Morrison made it clear in her first novel, The Bluest Eye, that she wrote for people within her own African-American community. She invited other readers to listen and learn. I felt the same intention in play as I read this fascinating meditation among four friends who share a profession (they’re all English professors), but more importantly a deep connection to and passion for the work of Toni Morrison. They weave their own lives with Morrison’s and with her characters’s lives as well.

Amanda Hill
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
I picked up this book completely by chance because it was on a library display while I was waiting to check out some books. It initially caught my eye because I had read and loved Sula and Beloved, and I almost left it behind for the same reason; I hadn't yet gotten around to reading the rest of Morrison's novels, or even her most famous ones. To be honest, I gave it a chance because it was short.

I didn't know what I was about to get into, which is probably my own fault for looking more at the c
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was loaned a copy of THE TONI MORRISON BOOK CLUB ages ago by @inkandpaperblog but I just got around to reading it. I got a deal on the audiobook from @AppleBooks so I decided to read and listen. The premise of this book is eight personal essays, centered around four Toni Morrison booked, two per writer. All of the authors are professors of English at The College of New Jersey who have bonded over a love of Toni Morrison and taught her books in their classes. The members are three black women, ...more
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
As an unabashed Morrison fan, I was thrilled when I happened upon this title. I’ve never before read a group memoir, but these four authors are so smart and honest and creative that nothing ever felt out of synch. The words of Morrison and of this collective group are more important than ever in the face of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement. I was moved by their stories and by their insightful interpretations of Morrison’s works. If possibly, I came away an even bigger fan.
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing

A group memoir which sings like a canary with Toni Morrison as the soundtrack.

This Audiobook, in all it's maturity is roughly my fifth Audiobook. I have never written before about Audiobooks. I got a lot of chance to explore #blackliterature when I befriended a Jamaican reading buddy in Gurgaon. I briefly grew up in a culture of Rap songs and Whiz Khalifa vibes with a dash of Snoop Doug. I used to read books like "Morgan Parker's There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce" An
Jul 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love this idea of jointly writing a book, particularly nonfiction. This book is basically a joint memoir (sort of) where each member of this book club (3 Black women and 1 gay white man) write a bit about Morrison’s work & it’s relation to their lives. Also, the analysis on Beloved helped me digest my own first reading of Beloved. I listened to this one on audio courtesy of! (Will say I thought it was an odd decision for the presumable white male narrator to read a part with multiple ...more
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a terrific audiobook! So many important topics are covered by the two narrators in this multi-vocal memoir. "The Toni Morrison Book Club" is a vulnerable, honest, insightful collection of essays that are eye-opening & thought-provoking. ...more
Grace Heneks
Meh. I think because I read so much of this type stuff for work, I didn’t really find anything these authors said about Morrison’s book all that inspiring or insightful. Except for the stuff about humor. People always take Morrison SO SERIOUSLY. I’m wondering if maybe she was funnier than we give her credit for.
Cece Harbor
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you love-love Toni Morrison, you'll enjoy this book. This is an honest conversation among friends/colleagues about the world around them while using Ms. Morrison's words as a backdrop. I mean, who hasn't been influenced by Toni Morrison in some way.

This book offers a unique twist to a book club.
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m going to be recommending this for suggested book. Club books. Great concept. The introduction gave me goosebumps it was so good.
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I totally loved, loved, loved this book. The book is so relevant and timely. Highly recommended, especially if you'd like to start reading Morrison. ...more
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
Usually I want to shake my fist at myself for waiting so long to read a book that, after all, had been on my anticipated 2020 releases list for the past year. But in this case, I had an excuse! I wanted to read all of Toni Morrison’s novels first (and I got through 10 out of 11. Reading the final one now!)

Honestly, this is not literary criticism in the strictest sense, despite not doing my research and assuming it was back in December 2019. This is a memoir that makes occasional references to M
Jan Peregrine
Nov 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've only read one Toni Morrison book—her last one called The Origin of Others that she published almost two years before her death in 2019. It is a nonfiction novella that intrigued me into wanting to read more of her but I didn't know where to start until I spied the new book The Toni Morrison Book Club by four, down-to-Earth academics who love her work. They're friends teaching at the University of New Jersey, composed of three black women and a white, gay male, and they decided with much app ...more
Corinne Edwards
In this non-fiction collection of essays, four writers who have come together over their love of Toni Morrison literature, use her books as a springboard to talk about race, identity and life in America. I really found this an interesting and powerful approach to discussing an author and how important her ideas are. I haven't read Morrison extensively since I was in college but it isn't necessary to know anything about her books to appreciate the deep ideas within this book, the authors always g ...more
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Toni Morrison Book Club is a collection of essays by four friends - Juda Bennett, Winnifred Brown-Glaude, Cassandra Jackson, and Piper Kendrix Williams - one gay white man and three Black women, reflecting on personal stories dealing with race as related to Toni Morrison stories / characters.

Their shared reverence for Toni Morrison inspired the book club and their essay project brought them closer together.

This is a wonderful collection. All the stories are deeply personal. Readers will ga
Jenni Buchanan
A wonderfully written intersection of memoir, literary criticism, and civil rights. If you are interested in book clubs, biographies, or social justice, this is a book you should read. I admired how open all of the authors were about their own experiences--with both their reactions to Morrison's works as well as their experiences with prejudice and racism. You don't have to have read Morrison's books to appreciate the essays in this one. They were evocative and heartfelt, insightful and educatio ...more
Naomi (aplace_inthesun)
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Until recently I have always borrowed audio books from my library but recently I’ve been able to access some upcoming releases on audiobook

Even before I finished this one this one had already left it’s mark. I hadn’t read a Toni Morrison book and did not know what this was going to be about. Let’s just say I have was transfixed in listening to the four authors and their discussion of four Toni Morrison novels.

Each relates their histories and memories to Morrison’s teachings.

Racism, p
Molly Dettmann
Jul 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
A really interesting concept for a memoir. Four people reflect deeply on four of Toni’s works and the entire book goes back and forth in essays by the authors as they share everything from their own personal experiences with themes from those novels to thoughts on how currently those themes are still heartbreakingly relevant. My absolutely favorite was “Why Black Folks Go Crazy” that specifically looked at Black mental heath in an exploration of The Bluest Eye. These professors that created this ...more
Lisa Mcbroom
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Yes there is truth to reading books about "us", but I prefer to think no matter the gender, sexual preference, race, or creed we bond together from experience. A group of friends.. straight, gay, immigrant, white, African American bond over the works of the great Toni Morrison and write about their favorite works and how it applies to their daily lives. I can remember reading The Bluest Eye and it "blowing my mind" ...more
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