John le Carré, Sarah Rose, Lois Leveen: Books Briefing

đź“š The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison

đź“š The Source of Self-Regard, by Toni Morrison

📚 “On Black Difficulty,” by Namwali Serpell

đź“š Nobel lecture, by Toni Morrison

📚 “No Place for Self-Pity, No Room for Fear,” by Toni Morrison

I’m writing my memoir for Toni Morrison
“I survived the white gaze for Pecola [the heroine of The Bluest Eye], and it was Morrison who taught me how.”

đź“š Sula, by Toni Morrison

đź“š Surviving the White Gaze, by Rebecca Carroll (forthcoming)

Mining lyrical power and human strength from childhood suffering

“Morrison’s greatness—the beauty of her prose, her formal and imaginative risk-taking, her intellectual prowess—is founded on fiction about human devilishness and weakness, bodies crippled and in crisis, and the impact of our histories on our emotional faculties.”

đź“š God Help the Child, by Toni Morrison

đź“š Jazz, by Toni Morrison

đź“š Love, by Toni Morrison

đź“šSong of Solomon, by Toni Morrison

A documentary that shows another side of Toni Morrison

“In spite of her larger-than-life status, Morrison is captured [on-screen] in exceedingly human terms.”

📽️ Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am, directed by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

đź“š Beloved, by Toni Morrison

The Reference Desk

(New York Public Library)

After Sarah requested some titles for her upcoming trip to Hawaii, a reader named Grant proposed making a similar list for future travelers to Australia, as “sort of homework before [they] go.” His choice to start that list is Bruce Chatwin’s book The Songlines, which is named for—and traverses—the paths that, according to Aboriginal mythology, were traveled by spirits in the Dreamtime and have been recorded in traditional songs. Murray Bail’s novel Eucalyptus tells the fablelike story of a young woman, her suitors, her father, and his hundreds of eucalyptus trees in a similarly inventive, meandering narrative (as the writer Jane Alison notes in her own recent book). The Guardian lists some of the best recent books from Australia here, and the magazine Australian Geographic selects 12 of the country’s must-reads here.

Write to the Books Briefing team at or reply directly to this email with any of your reading-related dilemmas. We might feature one of your questions in a future edition of the Books Briefing and offer a few books or related Atlantic pieces that might help you out.

About us: This week’s newsletter is written by Rosa Inocencio Smith. The book on her coffee table right now is Literally Me, by Julie Houts.

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