Dennis They are separate stories but follow a theme. If I were being particular, I'd add "Sula" to the mix but that book was much earlier in her career.
Chris Dattilio Nothing is ruined by reading the three books in question (Beloved, Jazz, Paradise) in any order, or years apart, or reading only 2 of them, or only 1 of them.... frankly, for those readers who were not specifically informed beforehand that the 3 novels form a loose kind of thematic trilogy, it would be nearly impossible for a casual reader to read all 3 books, even consecutively, and believe they had just read a trilogy. Like Erdrich's Justice Trilogy, or Roth's America Trilogy, it's a very very loose use of the word 'trilogy.'
Jake The three books (Beloved, Jazz, and Paradise) are independent of each other. They do deal with three themes of love, but the stories themselves are completely separate. I think I read all of them two years apart from each other, so my memory of Beloved and Jazz are a bit hazy, but I think Beloved was the most straightforward.