Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mules and Men

Mules and Men by Zora Neale Hurston. 1935. HarperCollins. 336 pages.

As I crossed the Maitland-Eatonville township line I could see a group on the store porch. I was delighted. The town had not changed. Same love of talk and song.

I'm happy to be a part of the Classics Circuit Tour this month for The Harlem Renaissance. Be sure to visit other stops on the tour! I chose to read Mules and Men by Zora Neale Hurston. A book that has probably been on my bookshelf a decade. A book that needed this tour as a little extra push to get read.

Soon after reading Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, I went out and bought all the ZNH I could find. (Well, that I could find used.) I just loved it so much. But while I've reread Their Eyes several times I haven't ever gotten around to reading her other books.

What can readers find in Mules and Men? It's a collection of folklore. Stories loosely woven together with the author as a character. Zora Neale Hurston has gone back to her home state, her hometown, to "collect" some good stories, some good folklore for her new project. So it "shows" her doing just that. Talking and interacting with men and women, finding the best stories, and sharing them. It's interesting getting this insider perspective. You'll find tales and stories about anything and everything. From the ordinary to the extraordinary. Stories about God, stories about the Devil, stories about men and women working, loving, fighting, playing, etc. You'll find stories about animals and nature. You'll find trickster tales as well. Men and women getting the best of each other. It is in dialect, so some readers may find this takes some getting used to.

The book is actually in two parts. The first part covers folklore and takes place in Florida. The second part covers Hoodoo and takes place in New Orleans.

I found some of the folklore, the stories, to be interesting. Some I definitely enjoyed more than others. But because they are just stories, just little stories, the book as a whole wasn't the most compelling. The good news is that the contents of each chapter is clearly identified. So readers can find specific stories. "How the Snake Got Poison" and "How Brer Dog Lost His Beautiful Voice" and "How Jack Beat the Devil" and "Why Women Always Take Advantage of Men."


© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

3 comments:

April 10:52 AM  

I've only read Their Eyes Were Watching God as well (loved it!) I'll totally pick up Mules and Men, it sounds excellent :-)

Tea 4:26 PM  

I haven't read "Mules and Men." I love folklore and short stories. I would really enjoy this one. I really enjoyed your review.

Rebecca Reid 8:32 AM  

This sounds excellent. I don't know much about folklore, so maybe this would be a good place to start. I have enjoyed all the Hurston I've experienced.

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

My Blog List

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP