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Chrishayden
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Chrishayden

Post Number: 7659
Registered: 03-2004

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Posted on Monday, January 12, 2009 - 10:39 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

As a black person
As a writer
As a lover of fine literature

I realize that I should not have waited this long to read "A Mercy". That I should have crawled on my knees down ten miles of bad road to get it the day it came out.

I didn't.

I apologize.

What did I think of it?

Well, it could have been titled "Have Mercy!" or "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!" or "Lawd Have Mercy!")

(They always tell you in public speaking class to say something fnny to break theice.

I thought it was Challenging. Ambitious. Uneven.

There were flashes of brilliance and utter fapdoodle. I think she took on a heroic undertaking writing a novel about 17th Century America in several characters own voices.

Weirdly, it seemed like a pastiche of Morrison novels-a little of "Love" a lot of "Beloved" etc.

I think it is the kind of novel Stephen J. Carter would write if he were not an outright fraud--only about the Legal System.

Before going further (after all, since the Queen of All Black Literature--selected by an All-White Jury--wrote this, we must spend the balance of the year discussing it in delicious detail) I'd like to show some "Love" for "Sula" and all the "Beloved" (Morrison medley)

1) Did you enjoy the book?

2) Do you undertand the book?

3) If this book were a first novel by a new author, what would you think of it?

4) If, God Forbid, it had been written by Unca Chris Hayden (The Missouri Mofo, The Notorious BIG of SF) what would you think of it?

5) Do you wish YOU had written it?

6) Can you think of any writers who got a Nobel who wrote anything worth a damn after it?

7) After this, do you still think the writing and reading of fiction is a fit activity for a red blooded American man?
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Cynique
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Cynique

Post Number: 13294
Registered: 01-2004

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Posted on Monday, January 12, 2009 - 05:30 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

1) Did you enjoy the book?
Yes. After reading and understanding it, I felt proud of myself.

2) Do you undertand the book?
Yes, I did. I understood where the narrative voices were coming from, and what the metaphors meant.

3) If this book were a first novel by a new author, what would you think of it?
I'd think that it was an impressive first effort

4) If, God Forbid, it had been written by Unca Chris Hayden (The Missouri Mofo, The Notorious BIG of SF) what would you think of it?
I'd think that Chrishayden, in indulging his sensitive side, had reached his full potential.

5) Do you wish YOU had written it?
Ummmmm, not really.

6) Can you think of any writers who got a Nobel who wrote anything worth a damn after it?
Yes. I think Toni Morrison maintained her level of artistry.

7) After this, do you still think the writing and reading of fiction is a fit activity for a red blooded American man?
Yes, this pass time can be every bit as challenging and affirming as playing pick-up games of basketball.
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Troy
AALBC .com Platinum Poster
Username: Troy

Post Number: 1651
Registered: 01-2004

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Posted on Monday, January 12, 2009 - 08:44 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It is me, or was there an unusal lack of discussion, promotion, buzz about Morrison's latest in the Black community? Sista Souljah's Midnight seemed get much more play.

Cynique, do you think your being a contemporary of Morrison helps you relate to, or rather understand and appreciate her work more than others?
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Mochascafe
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Username: Mochascafe

Post Number: 107
Registered: 08-2007

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Posted on Monday, January 12, 2009 - 08:56 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Do you think that negative publicity is good publicity?
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Thumper
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Username: Thumper

Post Number: 731
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Posted on Monday, January 12, 2009 - 09:00 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hello All,

Troy: I don't believe its just Morrison's book that is suffering from lack of promotion, I think the whole publishing kit and kaboodle is. The only bookt hat I have seen get a good publicity treatment was J. K. Rowling's new book, The Tales of Beedle the Bard. I think the economy is taking its pound of flesh from the publishing industry. But, if I was the higher ups, I think now is the time to strike, lower them prices ($30 or more is too damn much to be paying for a book). We need cheap entertainment. If the price of the books were lower, or that damn Amazon.com lowered the price of the Kindle, it could be a decent change for publishing.
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Cynique
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Cynique

Post Number: 13296
Registered: 01-2004

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Posted on Monday, January 12, 2009 - 11:13 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes, Troy, my growing connection to Morrison probably does have something to do with us being from the same era. Her tendency to spin a tale with a narrative that tells more than it shows, and her use of symbolism via metaphors is a style that resonates with me.
When I am able to get in tune with her writing, it's almost like I've joined a choir she is directing. Or something...

I agree, Thumper, that what's happening in the publishing industry is a sign of the times. Books are becoming a luxury that people are cutting back on buying and, as a result, heavy promotion of them does not necessarily reap financial gain.
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Troy
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Username: Troy

Post Number: 1654
Registered: 01-2004

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Posted on Tuesday, January 13, 2009 - 09:11 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've spoken with too many readers who were unaware that Morrison had a new book out.

Mochascafe, people often repeat the refrain that any publicity is good pubicity. I think it depends, scandal can certaily bring you a lot of attention, for free, that you would otherwise not recieve.

I know many authors that have gotten a lot of publicity because of negative things asscoiated with others or bad conidtions. There is more demand, for example, for financial authors to lecture due to the financial crisis.

$30 is a lot for a book Thumper, but you know you don't have to pay full retail. A Mercy is only $14.37 plus free shipping via Amazon (http://aalbc.com/authors/toni.htm) and is discounted elsewhere. But I agree that now is the time to dedicate more resources, not less, to promote the books one has gone to the effort of publishing.

Also how much would a kindle have to cost to be worth the expense to you. Remember it has free internet connectivity.
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Thumper
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Username: Thumper

Post Number: 735
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Posted on Tuesday, January 13, 2009 - 12:30 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hello All,

Troy: Sure some of the books are deeply discounted on the net than those in a physical bookstore. Man, that Kindle has to drop at least by $200. My Sony PSP can get the internet too and it cost $200 when I got it. The price of $359 is outrageous. Then when you add that not all the books that I would like to read aren't available that price is too steep. Then have you seen the price of the books from the Kindle at around the same price of a book. If I buy the argument that the publishing industry had been dishing out about the rising cost of producing and physically making a book, the paper, ink, glue, etc, then shouldn't the price of downloading the electronic replica of a book be far less expensive to produce. Why aren't the cost to downloading Morrison's a mercy, $5 for new books (hardcover); $2 for the electronic equivalent of a paperback?
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Troy
AALBC .com Platinum Poster
Username: Troy

Post Number: 1657
Registered: 01-2004

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Posted on Thursday, January 15, 2009 - 10:55 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thumo, the difference with the Kindle is that the internet access is free. With your PSP you have to pay for for the Internet access.

I'm sure the eBooks are a higher margin product for publishers and Amazon, given the fact that the cost of producing an eBook is much less that producing a hardcover book -- far exceeing the $5 difference in price for the eBook and hardcover for A Mercy on Amazon.

Additional competition for eBooks will drive down the price over time; But for now, I'll concede that an ebook reader is a luxury item -- but no more a luxury item that a PS3 with it's $50+ games.

Cynique, I think your intelligence allows you to appreciate Morrison's work as well as being part of her generation.

A Mercy was #5 on AALBC.com's Nov/Dec 2008 best sellers list: http://www.aalbc.com/books/novdec_2008.htm
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Chrishayden
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Chrishayden

Post Number: 7663
Registered: 03-2004

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Posted on Friday, January 16, 2009 - 12:31 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have read it again, actually. This will not be a popular book with the book reading public.

For one, it is, as I stated, a challenging book.

It is also a very 70's or 80's book.

But it seems that the market for literary fiction is shrinking. Sistah Souljah gets more heat cuz she GOTS more heat.

Toni has been embalmed away in the University. It is a hazard of the job.
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Cynique
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Cynique

Post Number: 13326
Registered: 01-2004

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Posted on Friday, January 16, 2009 - 01:42 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Where have you been? Sistah Souljah's latest book, "Midnight", has been thoroughly panned by both fans and critics.

Meanwhile, Morrison's "A Mercy" has made all of the best-seller lists.
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Chrishayden
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Chrishayden

Post Number: 7674
Registered: 03-2004

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Posted on Saturday, January 17, 2009 - 10:33 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Where have you been? Sistah Souljah's latest book, "Midnight", has been thoroughly panned by both fans and critics.

Meanwhile, Morrison's "A Mercy" has made all of the best-seller lists.

(Now we got THREE votes to your one that this book, written by the ONLIEST Black Nobel Lit writer living or dead--probably the ONLIEST book by any Living Nobel Lit writer to come out this year, which alone would make it worth comment even if it was complete sh*t--which, though flawed it is not--to your ONE that says people are shouting about it in the streets.

In addition to rather Runyonesque characters that I present here to break up the boredome of the usual stifled, Henry Jamesian parlor and drawing room discussions we have here, I am in contact with most of St. Louis' Black literary elite--what we have of one.

And they ain't even done so much as the ole "I read it? Have you?" While we been gettin' our sip on.

Of course, the current events are swallowing everything, but we can still be civilized.

Sistah Souljah's book got more press in the panning than Morrison has gotten at all.
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Chrishayden
"Cyniquian" Level Poster
Username: Chrishayden

Post Number: 7675
Registered: 03-2004

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Posted on Saturday, January 17, 2009 - 10:37 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Reading it again--which I must say--is not only necessary with Morrison's books--she has maintained that quality--it is enjoyable because you see more every time, good or bad, likable and not.

I was really struck by the conversation, I believe between Sir or the white plantation slaveowner and the guy trying to sell the plantation, I think he was Portuguese? that could have been happening today, only discussing Cocaine instead of Rum.

I think she was trying to show the interconnectedness of times--also by not having the people speak in the stilted language of the time (come on. In the 17th Century would have been at least SOME thees, thous and lots of heavy Bible references and manners. Language as a decent good fence between good neighbors.

I mean, when is the last time Oprah said anything about it?

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