Reading Toni Morrison’s Sula Tuesday, Jul 28 2009 

I’ll be teaching Toni Morrison’s 1973 novel Sula in my fall tutorial introducing freshman English majors to the study of English as a discipline. It’s been several years since I last read this novel, so when I flew down to Texas to visit friends and family this past weekend, I took it with me to read.

I had forgotten how powerful this novel is. Especially as I got near the end of the book, I kept thinking that it is too real, too truthful. It’s a book that hurts to read even while you can’t help but see how great a masterpiece it is. I kept thinking, “This is my life. How did Morrison write this book about two black women in Ohio when I was still a toddler in Indiana and somehow manage to make it about me?”

I started wondering about the question of great literature’s universality, the idea that great works of art surpass the particulars of their subject matter, author, date of composition, etc. to speak to the “human condition.” As an English professor, I’ve largely been skeptical of this concept, especially the idea that there is a universal “human condition” that literature can speak to.

Yet, somehow it seems like my story, a summation of what I was thinking as I read it this time. Not that I think I’m an early to mid-twentieth-century African American woman. Nor do I mean that I think Morrison’s particular message about the experiences of African Americans in the twentieth century in this novel should be subsumed into some narcissistic impulse on my part.


SotW: It’s Your Love by Melinda Doolittle Tuesday, Jul 28 2009 

My song of the week this week is the remix of Melinda Doolittle’s “It’s Your Love,” which was released as a single today: 

This video is of the Nevins Radio Mix. I actually like the Nevins Club mix the best, but this one is fun too.

This single reminds me how much I love remixes of R and B divas — Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston, etc. Now maybe Melinda Doolittle can join their ranks!