This summer, I found myself re-reading Alice Walker's The Color Purple, a book that is both wonderful and awful. After finishing, I asked myself, "Why do some books by great authors (or parts of books by great authors) work so well, while others fail?"
Searching for home -- for a safe place to rest your head, grow a family, and be part of a community -- occupies the heart of Morrison's body of work. How fitting then that her latest book has such a simple title: Home.
With the publication of Toure's Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness, I have been inundated with requests for my 1989 essay, "The New Black Aesthetic," to which Toure's enjoyable work is a book-length update and homage.
A great book happens when I pick up a book and can't put it down again; when I cannot suppress the sighs upon finishing it; when I cannot wait to tell everyone I know: read this book! But how to pick a favorite?
There are plenty of cases where an author's masterpiece deserves the top billing it gets in the author's canon. But then there are the cases where a writer's most famous book is not the writer's best book.
OK, so the headline's a lie, but it's certainly not beyond the realm of possibility -- not in an age in which Snooki from The Jersey Shore is paid more than literary legend Toni Morrison to speak at the same university.