The Known World by Edward P. Jones Buy book: $14.47
An ambitious, luminously written novel that ranges seamlessly between the past and future and back again to the present, "The Known World weaves together the lives of freed and enslaved blacks, whites, and Indians -- and allows all of us a deeper understanding of the enduring multidimensional world created by the institution of slavery.
I hope I see some good reviews here on this book. Someone gave it to me last yr for Christmas and I just haven't gotten around to reading it yet. It seems to be one of those books I "should" read and yet I keep putting it off. Anyone read this book yet? I think if I could just get into it I'd probably really enjoy it. ????? Today's (1st) installment was OK.... but I definitely have to be in certain moods to read certain books.....I'm sure this is pretty common among pleasure readers!
I understand your feeling of "not being in the mood" for this type book - I, too, sometimes, want lighter reading as opposed to a best seller and educational, but "not right now" - None of my book clubs - fiction, non-fiction, mystery - appealed to me this week, but after reading your response, I did go to my ol' standby, amazon.com and read some reviews and an excerpt - it does look to be a good and informative book, but I, like you, am not yet ready for it - will have to put it on my "to read" list -
One thing I learned or perhaps I once knew but had forgotten - that black freed slaves sometimes became slave owners themselves - think this book was based in time couple decades before Civil War - (think I will have to research the facts of that) - but one thing I would like to address is that fact (that blacks also owned slaves - not trying to cause controversy - and know that was much more rare than the commonplace white plantation and slave owner) - but think there is a point to be made on that issue - that slave owning was not confined to the white community - just think everyone should know all the "facts" -
A book I overlooked couple weeks back was the Lincoln Child book "Death Match" - have not read him before - but think I will check that one out of my library -
In today's installment, it mentioned that slaves owning slaves as a 'loophole' to having the newly -freed slaves move away from the 'common-wealth'. I wonder if in reality if these slaves were treated as slaves; ie no wages for work; just room and board, etc.
There was another comment for this book; that the original slaves from africa were actually owned by African owners. I am so ignorant of this. I have in my mind a picture of white people hunting for them (must be from another book).
Also curious why a few people are putting off reading this book? Is it the subject matter or is it the language?
I'm new here; so I hope I'm not threading on anyone's toes here.
I, also, wondered about this act of 1806 being passed by Virginia delegatation to be a fact or figment of imagination by the author - so, you know me, did a little research - and found that it was indeed a fact - the freed slaves were to leave the state within one year or were subject to being captured and sold as slaves again - will look for more in-depth info later -
When I have trouble getting myself motivated to read a "certain" book, I check the library for an audio version. There often IS one..and sometimes it's just what I need to "get started" reading. Sometimes I then both alternately do the audio or read with my eyeballs... I enjoy both methods...depending on my mood, time I have available AND the "reader"(some are much better, in my eyes, than others). :)
I HAVE decided to get the audio version of this book...the waiting list was not long. :)
The interesting things you learn about the world from reading a novel or listening to a storyteller make a much more lasting impression than what you learn from reading something factual. These facts you learn from fiction are even more interesting because although you believe it's true and it most likely is, the novelist's job is after all to tell a story and there's always the possibility that he just made it up and made it sound so convincingly factual as part of the story.
Even more than learning of black slave owners in US history, I was fascinated by the idea yesterday of the flavour of earth changing with the seasons.
The slave farmer's ways of being intimate with his small world sure started off the story with an impact!
Although I have not heard of this book before, and completely understand needing to be in the right mood for this kind of reading, I found the first two chapters to be promising.
The author clearly has their own style of writing, not quite stream of consciousness, but not clearly deliniated action either. The characters have the potential to demonstrate a lot of depth, and I hope that the author follows through with them.
Hello All. Here are a few disjointed thoughts that I wanted to add:
I read this book when it was first released and heard it again later on NPR's "Radio Reader." It is slightly heavier reading but a wonderful book. I highly recommend this one.
The author did a great deal of research to insure that the world his characters inhabit mirrors the world as it was back then. This book also won the National Book Critic's Circle Award for Fiction (2003) and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2004) and was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction in 2003.
All of that is to say that, while I'm probably not ready to read this book for a third time in two years, it is one that I bought to add to my permanent collection and plan to read again. Pick it up and give it a read or put it on a "To Read" list - this book will amaze you.
The reference librarian at my local library recommended this book to me a few months ago. I was leery (not exactly light, summer reading) but I thought I'd give it a whirl. It is really well-written! The way the author travels between the present and the past is, at first, disconcerting, but then becomes a welcome "literary device". I'm glad I read it.
I'm finding this one very hard going. The subject is interesting and I want to read it, but it is difficult.
The way it keeps switching from character to character to character is very confusing! Who are these people? I can't keep them straight. I think I need to see a Cast of Characters and a synopsis of who they are in relation to each other.
...maybe this type of novel just doesn't translate well to reading in e-mail format???
I have begun to read this book and just from the few reads in the club, find this to be a most beautifully written book - and thank goodness, found they do have at my library, so have put a hold on it - think I will have to read slowly and deliberately, so as to really savor and absorb every morsel of descriptive scene and thought -
It always makes me wonder if I'm emailing in my sleep when I see my name up on the comments section. We're out of town this week and I haven't had a chance to read any of the selections but am enjoying reading the comments. Will have to do double-reading next week. Maybe I'll put Pam M for my future comments.
I now have the book in hand - I was 4 on the wait list at library but could not wait - so bought it in paperback - first book I've bought in a long time - but felt this was a book worth owning -
I agree with whoever said it can be a bit confusing (and I'm just getting started on it) - lots of characters thrown in with no explanation of who they are or how they fit in, but am finding with perseverence, will find out - tho' may have to look back from time to time with questions like "but I thought she was married to ---", etc. - think this will be a long but enjoyable and worthwhile read -
Ann - haven't heard an opinion from you - curious as to your take on this book -
.....for my opinion, Doris. I had this book some months back after reading rave reviews about it. For some reason, I just couldn't get into it. I found it leaden and cumbersome. I may try again. I find that sometimes you are just not in the right "mood" for a certain book.. Nothing to do with the subject matter, just didn't llike the style.
I have about 100 pages left to read in this book, and I've found it really tough going. Like others who have commented, I didn't know that sometimes former slaves became slaveowners themselves, so I found the storyline interesting, but the book jsut doesn't hold my interest.