love is good

The Color Purple

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The Novel Ideas roulette wheel landed on a classic this month, so we’re back with The Color Purple by Alice Walker. In this episode we discuss racism, injustice, abuse, and other upsetting things. We also talk about the cold open, black comedy, down home cookin’, and laughably ineffective missionaries.

The music bump is Ella Fitzgerald with Duke Ellington’s band performing “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” based on our unresearched speculation regarding how this book became a musical.

102 – The Color Purple – Coming of (Old) Age

Our ratings:

Ben: Purple/10. Which is the best rating, I think. I don’t really understand that part of the rating system. But I would definitely recommend this one.

Gabs: 9/10 for literary value. Also worth reading for the purpose of making yourself less shitty.


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Novel Ideas caps off LGBT Month with a book that is actually about a gay relationship, Maurice by E.M. Forster. This very interesting book was written in 1913, but not published until 1971. Forster was unable to find a publisher during his lifetime because the subject matter, a love story between men with (gasp!) a happy ending was considered too risky by most publishers. It definitely reads as something ahead of its time, as many of the attitudes and opinions are right in line with those of 2013. We discuss that, as well as the importance of love, the unimportance of orthodoxy, and what “natural” really means. We also examine excellent turns of phrase, behaviors that strike us as very gay, and the adorable future of Maurice and his lover.

The music bump is from the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, commonly referred to as the “Pathetique” symphony. Light research reveals that this is translated from a Russian word for passion, rather than something deserving pity.