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The Full List of Toni Morrison Books

Updated 2020

Here is the complete list of books published by Toni Morrison, a college professor, book editor, essayist, and a Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist.

Morrison is well-known for her Pulitzer-winning novel, Beloved, as well as the recipient of the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government’s highest honor for achievement in the humanities in 1996. Barack Obama also awarded her a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

Who Is Toni Morrison?

Born in Lorain, Ohio, on February 18, 1931, Chloe Anthony Wofford, or most popularly known as Toni Morrison, was one of the most celebrated American novelists of her time. She is well-known for her novels, which has exquisite language, epic themes, and rich African-American characters.

She finished her college degree at Howard University, majoring in English. She got her master’s degree two years later and taught English at Texas Southern University before returning to Howard University. 

Morrison published her first novel, Bluest Eye, in 1970. According to a statement she wrote in a 1994 foreword, she said that the poor reception of the book was parallel to the struggles of the main character: “dismissed, trivialized, misread.” 

It wasn’t until 1987 when Morrison gained worldwide fame. Her novel, Beloved, became one of her most celebrated masterpieces, earning her several literary awards, including the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Beloved explores the life of a former slave named Sethe, who is haunted by her resolution to kill all her kids rather than witness them become slaves like her. Three of her children lived while her infant died. However, her dead child returned and became a constant presence in her home. 

Beloved was adapted into an American fantasy drama film featuring Thandie Newton, Danny Glover, and Oprah Winfrey in 1998. 

Toni Morrison Complete Booklist & Summary

 

Here is Toni Morrison’s complete list of works along with a short summary:

1) The Bluest Eye – 1970

  • Toni Morrison books 1Book Summary: Brand New, Perfect Condition, allow 3-9 business days for standard shipping. To Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. protectorate, P.O. Box, and APO/FPO addresses allow 6-20 business days for Standard shipping. No expedited shipping. Over 3, 000, 000 happy customers. 100% Customer satisfaction guaranteed! Please feel free to contact us for any queries.
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2) Sula – 1973

  • Toni Morrison books 2Book Summary: Two girls who grow up to become women. Two friends who become something worse than enemies. In this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison tells the story of Nel Wright and Sula Peace, who meet as children in the small town of Medallion, Ohio. Their devotion is fierce enough to withstand bullies and the burden of a dreadful secret. It endures even after Nel has grown up to be a pillar of the black community and Sula has become a pariah. But their friendship ends in an unforgivable betrayal—or does it end? Terrifying, comic, ribald and tragic, Sula is a work that overflows with life.“You can’t go wrong by reading or re-reading the collected works of Toni Morrison. BelovedSong of Solomon, The Bluest EyeSula, everything else — they’re transcendent, all of them. You’ll be glad you read them.”–Barack Obama
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3) Song of Solomon – 1977

  • Toni Morrison books 3Book Summary: New York Times BestsellerMilkman Dead was born shortly after a neighborhood eccentric hurled himself off a rooftop in a vain attempt at flight. For the rest of his life he, too, will be trying to fly. With this brilliantly imagined novel, Toni Morrison transfigures the coming-of-age story as audaciously as Saul Bellow or Gabriel García Márquez. As she follows Milkman from his rustbelt city to the place of his family’s origins, Morrison introduces an entire cast of strivers and seeresses, liars and assassins, the inhabitants of a fully realized black world.“You can’t go wrong by reading or re-reading the collected works of Toni Morrison. BelovedSong of Solomon, The Bluest EyeSula, everything else — they’re transcendent, all of them. You’ll be glad you read them.”–Barack Obama
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4) Tar Baby – 1981

  • Toni Morrison books 4Book Summary: Ravishingly beautiful and emotionally incendiary, Tar Baby is Toni Morrison’s reinvention of the love story. Jadine Childs is a black fashion model with a white patron, a white boyfriend, and a coat made out of ninety perfect sealskins. Son is a black fugitive who embodies everything she loathes and desires. As Morrison follows their affair, which plays out from the Caribbean to Manhattan and the deep South, she charts all the nuances of obligation and betrayal between blacks and whites, masters and servants, and men and women.
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5) Beloved – 1987

  • Toni Morrison books 5Book Summary: New York Times BestsellerStaring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.“You can’t go wrong by reading or re-reading the collected works of Toni Morrison. BelovedSong of Solomon, The Bluest EyeSula, everything else — they’re transcendent, all of them. You’ll be glad you read them.”–Barack Obama
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6) Jazz – 1992

  • Toni Morrison books 6Book Summary: In the winter of 1926, when everybody everywhere sees nothing but good things ahead, Joe Trace, middle-aged door-to-door salesman of Cleopatra beauty products, shoots his teenage lover to death. At the funeral, Joe’s wife, Violet, attacks the girl’s corpse. This passionate, profound story of love and obsession brings us back and forth in time, as a narrative is assembled from the emotions, hopes, fears, and deep realities of black urban life.
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7) Race-ing Justice, En-gendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality – 1992

  • Toni Morrison books 7Book Summary: It was perhaps the most wretchedly aspersive race and gender scandal of recent times: the dramatic testimony of Anita Hill at the Senate hearings on the confirmation of Clarence Thomas as Supreme Court Justice. Yet even as the televised proceedings shocked and galvanized viewers not only in this country but the world over, they cast a long shadow on essential issues that define America.In Race-ing Justice, En-gendering Power, Toni Morrison contributes an introduction and brings together eighteen provocative essays, all but one written especially for this book, by prominent and distinguished academicians—black and white, male and female. These writings powerfully elucidate not only the racial and sexual but also the historical, political, cultural, legal, psychological, and linguistic aspects of a signal and revelatory moment in American history.With contributions by:
    Homi K. Bhabha, Margaret A. Burnham, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Paula Giddings, A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Claudia Brodsky Lacour, Wahneema Lubiano, Manning Marable, Nellie Y. McKay, Toni Morrison, Nell Irvin Painter, Gayle Pemberton, Andrew Ross, Christine Stansell, Carol M. Swain, Michael Thelwell, Kendall Thomas, Cornel West, Patricia J. Williams
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8) Conversations with Toni Morrison – 1994

  • Toni Morrison books 8Book Summary: This is a collection of interviews, beginning in 1974, with Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Morrison describes herself as an African-American writer, and these essays show her to be an artist whose creativity is intimately linked with her African-American experience.
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9) The Nobel Lecture In Literature, 1993 – 1994

  • Toni Morrison books 9Book Summary: Presents the complete acceptance speech of Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature.
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10) Arguing Immigration: The Controversy and Crisis Over the Future of Immigration in America – 1994

  • Toni Morrison books 10Book Summary: Essays examine the immigration policies of the United States and look at how permissive policies have affected the nation
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11) The Dancing Mind – 1996

  • Toni Morrison books 11Book Summary: On the occasion of her acceptance of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters on the sixth of November, 1996, Nobel laureate Toni Morrison speaks with brevity and passion to the pleasures, the difficulties, the necessities, of the reading/writing life in our time.
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12) Birth of a Nation’hood: Gaze, Script, and Spectacle in the O.J. Simpson Case – 1997

  • Toni Morrison books 12Book Summary: Co-edited and introduced by Toni Morrison, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Birth of a Nation’hood elucidates as never before the grim miasma of the O.J. Simpson case, which has elicited gargantuan fascination.As they pertain to the scandal, the issues of race, sex, violence, money, and the media are refracted through twelve powerful essays that have been written especially for this book by distinguished intellectuals–black and white, male and female. Together these keen analyses of a defining American moment cast a chilling gaze on the script and spectacle of the insidious tensions that rend our society, even as they ponder the proper historical, cultural, political, legal, psychological, and linguistic ramifications of the affair.With contributions by:
    Toni Morrison, George Lipsitz, A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., with Aderson Bellegarde Francois and Linda Y. Yueh, Nikol G. Alexander and Drucilla Cornell, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Ishmael Reed, Leola Johnson and David Roediger, Andrew Ross, Patricia J. Williams, Ann duCille, Armond White, Claudia Brodsky Lacour
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13) Paradise – 1997

  • Toni Morrison books 13Book Summary: They shoot the white girl first. With the rest they can take their time.” So begins Toni Morrison’s Paradise, which opens with a horrifying scene of mass violence and chronicles its genesis in an all-black small town in rural Oklahoma. Founded by the descendants of freed slaves and survivors in exodus from a hostile world, the patriarchal community of Ruby is built on righteousness, rigidly enforced moral law, and fear. But seventeen miles away, another group of exiles has gathered in a promised land of their own. And it is upon these women in flight from death and despair that nine male citizens of Ruby will lay their pain, their terror, and their murderous rage.
    In prose that soars with the rhythms, grandeur, and tragic arc of an epic poem, Toni Morrison challenges our most fiercely held beliefs as she weaves folklore and history, memory and myth into an unforgettable meditation on race, religion, gender, and a far-off past that is ever present.
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14) The big box – 1999

  • Toni Morrison books 15Book Summary: To make this group of kids abide by the rules, the grown-ups create a world inside a box . . . with toys, games, treats, and gifts, but these clever children are able to find their way out of the box and back into reality. 100,000 first printing.
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15) The Bluest Eye Teacher Guide – 2001

  • Toni Morrison books 15Book Summary: Time-saving, inspiring lesson plans provide a comprehensive novel unit–created by teachers for teachers. The legwork is done for you! The chapter-by-chapter guides incorporate research-based, high-order reading, writing and thinking activities. (This is NOT the paperback novel.)
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16) The Book of Mean People – 2002

  • Book Summary: “This is a book about mean people. Some mean people are big. Some little people are mean.” In Toni Morrison’s second illustrated book collaboration with her son, Slade, she offers a humorous look at how children experience meanness and anger in our world. The world and its language can be confusing to young people. To them, meanness can have many shapes, sizes, and sounds. ” My mother is mean when she says I don’t listen. She says, “Do you hear me?” I can’t hear her when she is screaming. This wise child knows that meanness can be a whisper or a shout, a smile or a frown. Young readers know about meanness, too, and will feel satisfied by having their perspective championed in The Book of Mean People.
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17) Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon: A Casebook – 2003

  • Book Summary: The essays in this volume represent the major currents in critical thinking about Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison’s widely acclaimed examination of the individual quest for self-knowledge in the context of the African-American experience. This collection offers a broad overview of the scholarship that has emerged in the decades since the 1977 publication of Morrison’s third novel. These essays provide a map of the primary themes of Song of Solomon, covering subjects such as self-identity, the rituals of manhood and reading, and the importance of naming, and also explore the novel’s incorporation of African myth and African-American folklore. The casebook opens with “The People Could Fly,” the African folktale from which Song of Solomon draws important aspects of its plot and major theme, and closes with an interview with Toni Morrison about her life and work as a novelist.
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18) The lion or the mouse? – 2003

  • Book Summary: In this charmingly subversive reinterpretation of a classic tale, the Morrisons and Pascal Lemaitre take a hilarious look at bullying.
    The cocky lion, the self-proclaimed “baddest in the land,” believes himself invincible until he gets a thorn stuck in his paw. Only a weak little mouse can help him, but then the lion must indulge the mouse’s ridiculous pride and appetite for power.
    We, the creators of Who’s Got Game?, were inspired by the wonder of Aesop’s Fables — their vitality, their endless demand for new interpretations. In our versions the original stories are opened and their moralistic endings reimagined: the victim might not lose; the timid gets a chance to become strong; the foool can gain insight; the powerful may lose their grip. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. More than a play on these beloved fables, Who’s Got Game? is AESOP LIVE!
    ALL AGES
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19) Who’s Got Game? The Ant or the Grasshopper? – 2003

  • Book Summary: “How can you say I never worked a day? ART is WORK. It just looks like play”
    So says Foxy G to his buddy Kid A, in Toni and Slade Morrison’s sassy, sly tale of friendship, betrayal, and survival — or not.
    Generation after generation, classic fables, folklore, and myth remain popular because they quicken the imagination of readers and listerners of all ages.
    We, the creators of Who’s Got Game? were inspired by the wonder of Aesop’s Fables — their vitality, their endless demand for more interpretations. In our versions the original stories are opened up and their moralisitic endings reimagined; the victim might not lose; the timid gets a chance to become strong; the fool can gain insight; the powerful may lose their grip. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. More than a play on these beloved fables, Who’s Got Game? is AESOP LIVE!
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20) Love – 2003

  • Book Summary: Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison’s spellbinding new novel is a Faulknerian symphony of passion and hatred, power and perversity, color and class that spans three generations of black women in a fading beach town.In life, Bill Cosey enjoyed the affections of many women, who would do almost anything to gain his favor. In death his hold on them may be even stronger. Wife, daughter, granddaughter, employee, mistress: As Morrison’s protagonists stake their furious claim on Cosey’s memory and estate, using everything from intrigue to outright violence, she creates a work that is shrewd, funny, erotic, and heartwrenching.
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21) Remember: The Journey to School Integration – 2004

  • Book Summary: Toni Morrison has collected a treasure chest of archival photographs that depict the historical events surrounding school desegregation. These unforgettable images serve as the inspiration for Ms. Morrison’s text—a fictional account of the dialogue and emotions of the children who lived during the era of “separate but equal” schooling. Remember is a unique pictorial and narrative journey that introduces children to a watershed period in American history and its relevance to us today.
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22) Poppy or the snake? – 2004

  • Book Summary: In this clever riff on Aesop, Poppy feels guilty when he accidentally drives over Snake, and he decides to risk being bitten in order to free the sassy reptile. But smake wants more. This is a sly tale about who gets the last laugh.We, the creators of Who’s Got Game? were inspired by the wonder of Aesop’s Fables — their vitality, their endless demand for more interpretations. In our versions the original stories are opened up and their moralisitic endings reimagined; the victim might not lose; the timid gets a chance to become strong; the fool can gain insight; the powerful may lose their grip. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. More than a play on these beloved fables, Who’s Got Game? is AESOP LIVE!
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23) What Moves at the Margin: Selected Nonfiction – 2008

  • Book Summary: What Moves at the Margin collects three decades of Toni Morrison’s writings about her work, her life, literature, and American society. The works included in this volume range from 1971, when Morrison (b. 1931) was a new editor at Random House and a beginning novelist, to 2002 when she was a professor at Princeton University and Nobel Laureate. Even in the early days of her career, in between editing other writers, writing her own novels, and raising two children, she found time to speak out on subjects that mattered to her. From the reviews and essays written for major publications to her moving tributes to other writers to the commanding acceptance speeches for major literary awards, Morrison has consistently engaged as a writer outside the margins of her fiction. These works provide a unique glimpse into Morrison’s viewpoint as an observer of the world, the arts, and the changing landscape of American culture.The first section of the book, “Family and History,” includes Morrison’s writings about her family, Black women, Black history, and her own works. The second section, “Writers and Writing,” offers her assessments of writers she admires and books she reviewed, edited at Random House, or gave a special affirmation to with a foreword or an introduction. The final section, “Politics and Society,” includes essays and speeches where Morrison addresses issues in American society and the role of language and literature in the national culture.Among other pieces, this collection includes a reflection on 9/11, reviews of such seminal books by Black writers as Albert Murray’s South to a Very Old Place and Gayl Jones’s Corregidora, an essay on teaching moral values in the university, a eulogy for James Baldwin, and Morrison’s Nobel lecture. Taken together, What Moves at the Margin documents the response to our time by one of American literature’s most thoughtful and eloquent writers.
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24) A Mercy – 2008

  • Book Summary: National BestsellerOne of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the YearIn the 1680s the slave trade in the Americas is still in its infancy. Jacob Vaark is an Anglo-Dutch trader and adventurer, with a small holding in the harsh North. Despite his distaste for dealing in “flesh,” he takes a small slave girl in part payment for a bad debt from a plantation owner in Catholic Maryland. This is Florens, who can read and write and might be useful on his farm. Rejected by her mother, Florens looks for love, first from Lina, an older servant woman at her new master’s house, and later from the handsome blacksmith, an African, never enslaved, who comes riding into their lives.
    A Mercy reveals what lies beneath the surface of slavery. But at its heart, like Beloved, it is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother and a daughter—a mother who casts off her daughter in order to save her, and a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment.
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25) Burn This Book – 2009

  • Book Summary: Published in conjunction with the PEN American Center, Burn This Book is a powerful collection of essays that explore the meaning of censorship and the power of literature to inform the way we see the world, and ourselves.As Americans we often take our freedom of speech for granted. When we talk about censorship we talk about China, the former Soviet Union, or the Middle East. But recent political developments—including the passage of the Patriot Act—have shined a spotlight on profound acts of censorship in our own backyard. Burn This Book features a sterling roster of award-winning writers offering their incisive, uncensored views on this most essential topic, including such revered literary heavyweights as Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, Orhan Pamuk, David Grossman, and Nadine Gordimer, among others.Both provocative and timely, Burn This Book is certain to inspire strong opinions and ignite spirited, serious dialogue.
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26) Burn This Book: PEN Writers Speak Out on the Power of the Word – 2009

  • Book Summary: “A writer′s life and work are not a gift to mankind; they are its necessity”- Toni Morrison, Burn this BookPublished in conjunction with the PEN American center, Burn this Book is a powerful collection of essays that explore the meaning of censorship, and the power of literature to inform the way we see the world, and ourselves. Contributors include literary heavyweights like Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, Orhan Pamuk, David Grossman and Nadine Gordimer, and others.In “Witness: The Inward Testimony” Nadine Gordimer discusses the role of the writer as observer, and as someone who sees “what is really taking place.” She looks to Proust, Oe, Flaubert, Graham Green to see how their philosophy squares with her own, ultimately concluding “Literature has been and remains a means of people rediscovering themselves.” “In Freedom to Write” Orham Pamuk elegantly describes escorting Arthur Miller and Harold Pinter around Turkey and how that experience changed his life.In “The Value of the Word” Salman Rushdie shares a story from Bugakov′s novel The Master and the Margarita in which the Devil talks to a frustrated writer called “The Master” The writer is so upset with his own work he decides to burn it: “How could you do that?” the devil asks… “Manuscripts to not burn.” Indeed, manuscripts do not burn, Rushdie argues, but writers do.As Americans we often take our freedom of speech for granted. When we talk about censorship we talk about China, the former Soviet Union. But the recent presidential election has shined a spotlight on profound acts of censorship in our own backyard. Both provocative and timely, Burn this Book include a sterling list of award winning writers; it sure to ignite spirited dialogue.
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27) Peeny Butter Fudge – 2009

  • Book Summary: Snuggle, snuggle.
    Time to rest.
    Nana joins us in her nest.
    There is no one like Nana in the whole wide world. She is the best. Nana knows how to take an ordinary afternoon and make it extra special! Nap time, story time, and playtime are transformed by fairies, dragons, dancing, and pretending — and then mixing and fixing yummy, yummy fudge just like Nana and Mommy did not so many years ago….Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison and her son Slade tell a story of what really goes on when Nana is left in charge!
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28) Everyman’s Library – 2010

  • Book Summary: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a spellbinding and dazzlingly innovative portrait of a woman haunted by the past.Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has borne the unthinkable and not gone mad, yet she is still held captive by memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Meanwhile Sethe’s house has long been troubled by the angry, destructive ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.Sethe works at beating back the past, but it makes itself heard and felt incessantly in her memory and in the lives of those around her. When a mysterious teenage girl arrives, calling herself Beloved, Sethe’s terrible secret explodes into the present.Combining the visionary power of legend with the unassailable truth of history, Morrison’s unforgettable novel is one of the great and enduring works of American literature.
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29) Home – 2012

  • Book Summary: New York Times Notable Book
    Washington Post Notable Work of Fiction
    A Best Book of the Year: NPR, AV Club, St. Louis Dispatch

    When Frank Money joined the army to escape his too-small world, he left behind his cherished and fragile little sister, Cee. After the war, his shattered life has no purpose until he hears that Cee is in danger.Frank is a modern Odysseus returning to a 1950s America mined with lethal pitfalls for an unwary black man. As he journeys to his native Georgia in search of Cee, it becomes clear that their troubles began well before their wartime separation. Together, they return to their rural hometown of Lotus, where buried secrets are unearthed and where Frank learns at last what it means to be a man, what it takes to heal, and–above all–what it means to come home.
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30) Please, Louise – 2014

  • Book Summary: A library card unlocks a new life for a young girl in this picture book about the power of imagination, from Nobel Prize–winning author Toni Morrison.On one gray afternoon, Louise makes a trip to the library. With the help of a new library card and through the transformative power of books, what started out as a dull day turns into one of surprises, ideas, and imagination!Inspired by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Toni Morrison’s experience working in a library as a young girl, this engaging picture book celebrates the wonders of reading, the enchanting capacity of the imagination, and, of course, the splendor of libraries.
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31) God Help the Child – 2015

  • Book Summary: New York Times Notable BookOne of the Best Books of the Year: San Francisco ChronicleSt. Louis Post-DispatchKansas City StarAt the center: a young woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life, but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love. There is Booker, the man Bride loves, and loses to anger. Rain, the mysterious white child with whom she crosses paths. And finally, Bride’s mother herself, Sweetness, who takes a lifetime to come to understand that “what you do to children matters. And they might never forget.”
    A fiery and provocative novel, God Help the Child—the first book by Toni Morrison to be set in our current moment—weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult.
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32) Race: Vintage Minis – 2017

  • Book Summary: BRAND NEW, Exactly same ISBN as listed, Please double check ISBN carefully before ordering.
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33) The Origin of Others – 2017

  • Book Summary: America’s foremost novelist reflects on the themes that preoccupy her work and increasingly dominate national and world politics: race, fear, borders, the mass movement of peoples, the desire for belonging. What is race and why does it matter? What motivates the human tendency to construct Others? Why does the presence of Others make us so afraid?Drawing on her Norton Lectures, Toni Morrison takes up these and other vital questions bearing on identity in The Origin of Others. In her search for answers, the novelist considers her own memories as well as history, politics, and especially literature. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, and Camara Laye are among the authors she examines. Readers of Morrison’s fiction will welcome her discussions of some of her most celebrated books―BelovedParadise, and A Mercy.If we learn racism by example, then literature plays an important part in the history of race in America, both negatively and positively. Morrison writes about nineteenth-century literary efforts to romance slavery, contrasting them with the scientific racism of Samuel Cartwright and the banal diaries of the plantation overseer and slaveholder Thomas Thistlewood. She looks at configurations of blackness, notions of racial purity, and the ways in which literature employs skin color to reveal character or drive narrative. Expanding the scope of her concern, she also addresses globalization and the mass movement of peoples in this century. National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates provides a foreword to Morrison’s most personal work of nonfiction to date.
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34) The Measure of Our Lives: A Gathering of Wisdom – 2019

  • Book Summary: At once the ideal introduction to Toni Morrison and a lovely and moving keepsake for her devoted readers: a treasury of quotations from her work. With a foreword by Zadie Smith.“She was our conscience. Our seer. Our truthteller.” –Oprah WinfreyThis inspirational book juxtaposes quotations, one to a page, drawn from Toni Morrison’s entire body of work, both fiction and nonfiction–from The Bluest Eye to God Help the Child, from Playing in the Dark to The Source of Self-Regard–to tell a story of self-actualization. It aims to evoke the totality of Toni Morrison’s literary vision.Its compelling sequence of flashes of revelation–stunning for their linguistic originality, keenness of psychological observation, and philosophical profundity–addresses issues of abiding interest in Morrison’s work: the reach of language for the ineffable; transcendence through imagination; the self and its discontents; the vicissitudes of love; the whirligig of memory; the singular power of women; the original American sin of slavery; the bankruptcy of racial oppression; the complex humanity and art of black people. The Measure of Our Lives brims with elegance of style and mind and moral authority.
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35) The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations – 2019

  • Book Summary: Here is Toni Morrison in her own words: a rich gathering of her most important essays and speeches, spanning four decades. These pages give us her searing prayer for the dead of 9/11, her Nobel lecture on the power of language, her searching meditation on Martin Luther King Jr., her heart-wrenching eulogy for James Baldwin. She looks deeply into the fault lines of culture and freedom: the foreigner, female empowerment, the press, money, “black matter(s),” human rights, the artist in society, the Afro-American presence in American literature. And she turns her incisive critical eye to her own work (The Bluest Eye, Sula, Tar Baby, Jazz, Beloved, Paradise) and that of others. An essential collection from an essential writer, The Source of Self-Regard shines with the literary elegance, intellectual prowess, spiritual depth, and moral compass that have made Toni Morrison our most cherished and enduring voice.
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36) Mouth Full of Blood: Essays, Speeches, Meditations – 2019

  • Book Summary: A vital new non-fiction collection from one of the most celebrated and revered writers of our time

    ‘Word-work is sublime, she thinks, because it is generative; it makes meaning that secures our difference, our human difference―the way in which we are like no other life.
    We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.’
    The Nobel Lecture in Literature, 1993

    Spanning four decades, these essays, speeches and meditations interrogate the world around us. They are concerned with race, gender and globalisation. The sweep of American history and the current state of politics. The duty of the press and the role of the artist. Throughout A Mouth Full of Blood our search for truth, moral integrity and expertise is met by Toni Morrison with controlled anger, elegance and literary excellence.The collection is structured in three parts and these are heart-stoppingly introduced by a prayer for the dead of 9/11, a meditation on Martin Luther King and a eulogy for James Baldwin. Morrison’s Nobel lecture, on the power of language, is accompanied by lectures to Amnesty International and the Newspaper Association of America. She speaks to graduating students and visitors to both the Louvre and America’s Black Holocaust Museum. She revisits The Bluest Eye, Sula and Beloved; reassessing the novels that have become touchstones for generations of readers.A Mouth Full of Blood is a powerful, erudite and essential gathering of ideas that speaks to us all.‘To what do we pay greatest allegiance? Family, language group, culture, country, gender? Religion, race? And, if none of these matter, are we urbane, cosmopolitan or simply lonely? In other words, how do we decide where we belong? What convinces us that we do?’
    The Alexander Lecture series, 2002
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37) Goodness and the Literary Imagination: Harvard’s 95th Ingersoll Lecture with Essays on Morrison’s Moral and Religious Vision Toni Morrison – 2019

  • Book Summary: What exactly is goodness? Where is it found in the literary imagination? Toni Morrison, one of American letters’ greatest voices, pondered these perplexing questions in her celebrated Ingersoll Lecture, delivered at Harvard University in 2012 and published now for the first time in book form.Perhaps because it is overshadowed by the more easily defined evil, goodness often escapes our attention. Recalling many literary examples, from Ahab to Coetzee’s Michael K, Morrison seeks the essence of goodness and ponders its significant place in her writing. She considers the concept in relation to unforgettable characters from her own works of fiction and arrives at conclusions that are both eloquent and edifying. In a lively interview conducted for this book, Morrison further elaborates on her lecture’s ideas, discussing goodness not only in literature but in society and history―particularly black history, which has responded to centuries of brutality with profound creativity.Morrison’s essay is followed by a series of responses by scholars in the fields of religion, ethics, history, and literature to her thoughts on goodness and evil, mercy and love, racism and self-destruction, language and liberation, together with close examination of literary and theoretical expressions from her works. Each of these contributions, written by a scholar of religion, considers the legacy of slavery and how it continues to shape our memories, our complicities, our outcries, our lives, our communities, our literature, and our faith. In addition, the contributors engage the religious orientation in Morrison’s novels so that readers who encounter her many memorable characters such as Sula, Beloved, or Frank Money will learn and appreciate how Morrison’s notions of goodness and mercy also reflect her understanding of the sacred and the human spirit.
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Conclusion

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