3 years ago I read an article about Obama’s favorite books and most of the list included many remarkable female writers—The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison etcetera. It was Song of Solomon that intrigued me the most. He admitted that although Beloved was her most popular book but his most favorite was Song of Solomon. I went to the bookstore straight away and read Song of Solomon in 2 days with 2 hours of sleep. I fell in love with Toni Morrison so deeply and Song of Solomon inspired me to read more of literature from then on.
“I think Toni Morrison’s writings — particularly “Song of Solomon” is a book I think of when I imagine people going through hardship. That it’s not just pain, but there’s joy and glory and mystery.” —President Obama on What Books Mean to Him
When I read this interview, I wanted to weep because he’s so right. Toni Morrison spoke to my heart like no other writers can do. I continued reading more of her work like The Bluest Eyes, God Help The Child and eventually I decided to read all of her 11 fiction works and I love all of them. I can see my future-self rereading all of them mothership of literature again and again!
★All 11 fiction works by Toni Morrison
Song of Solomon(A+)
” It’s a bad word, ‘belong’. Especially when you put it with somebody you love. Love shouldn’t be like that. Did you ever see the way the clouds love a mountain? They circle all around it; sometimes you can’t even see the mountain for the clouds. But you know what? You go up top and what do you see? His head. The clouds never cover the head. His head pokes through, because the clouds let him; they don’t wrap him up. They let him keep his head up high, free, with nothing to hide him or bind him.” ” you can’t own a human being. You can’t lose what you don’t own. ” ーToni Morrison, Song of Solomon.
“What could that mean for ex-slaves-threatend, exhausted refugees with no resources? How would they feel having trekked all that way from chains into freedom only to be told “This here is Paradise but you can’t come in” — Forward excerption by Toni Morrison on Paradise by Toni Morrison
“You need to have some babies. It’ll settle you. I don’t want to make somebody else. I want to make myself.” — Toni Morrison, Sula
“Pain. I seem to have an affection, a kind of sweet tooth for it. Bolts of lightning, little rivulets of thunder. And I the eye of the storm.” ― Toni Morrison, Jazz
The Bluest Eye(A+)
“Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love of a free man is never safe. There is no gift for the beloved. The lover alone possesses his gift of love. The loved one is shorn, neutralized, frozen in the glare of the lover’s inward eye.” ― Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
“There is a loneliness that can be rocked. Arms crossed, knees drawn up, holding, holding on, this motion, unlike a ship’s, smooths and contains the rocker. It’s an inside kind — wrapped tight like skin. Then there is the loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive. On its own. A dry and spreading thing that makes the sound of one’s own feet going seem to come from a far-off place.” ― Toni Morrison, Beloved
God Help the Child(A)
“Where was the lecture on how slavery alone catapulted the whole country from agriculture into the industrial age in two decades? White folks’ hatred, their violence, was the gasoline that kept the profit motors running.” ― Toni Morrison, God Help the Child
“Hate does that. Burn off everything but itself, so whatever your grievance is your face look just like your energy’s.” ーToni Morrison, Love
Tar Baby (B+)
“At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough.” — Toni Morrison, Tar Baby
A Mercy (B+)
“Here I am not the one to throw out. No one steals my warmth and shoes because I am small. No one handles my backside. No one whinnies like sheep or goat because I drop in fear and weakness. No one screams at the sight of me. No one watches my body for how it is unseemly. With you my body is pleasure is safe is belonging. I can never not have you have me.” ― Toni Morrison, A Mercy
“Gather up your loins, daughter. You named Lillian Florence Jones after my mother. A toughter lady never lived. Find your talent and drive it.” ― Toni Morrison, Home