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Executive editor's view.

Our summer issue is always one of our favorites. And if you are reading this, chances are you love books as much as we do here. If we are all lucky, this season will bring some hours for relaxing with our families, reflecting in solitude and reading in the quiet of a warm, sunny day in some favorite hideaway.

We look for ways to bring you the latest reading from popular fiction to trend-defining nonfiction that you might not have kept up with in busier times of the year. When those less-pressured moments roll around, as a friend noted recently, it is harder and harder to select among the many black books we are blessed with these days; not to mention the mainstream titles we want to read. New authors, whole-new genres, untapped subjects flood our senses at bookstores, airport newsstands or libraries. The ordinary reader is hard-pressed to make an informed decision.

That is where we come in. We started months ago, sorting through the publishers' catalogues, lists and advance reading copies of books offered for the season. So many were from new authors with debut novels or first-time nonfiction works that we decided to bring you samples of their work, instead of just brief reviews or even shorter descriptions in lists. Our managing editor, Clarence V. Reynolds, polled publishers about the authors that excited them and asked to use excerpts from their work. (See "Fresh Breezes" on pages 24 through 31.)

We have not slighted new work by familiar and favorite authors either. In our regular review sections for fiction (pages 44 and 70) and nonfiction (page 74), we survey the latest from some veterans. Notably, Terry McMillan, who back in the day almost single-handedly established that black, popular fiction could sustain mainstream best-seller sales figures, is back with a long-awaited new novel. Loyal fans will also welcome new titles from Bertice Berry, Connie Briscoe, Eric Jerome Dickey, Christopher John Farley, Gloria Naylor, Omar Tyree and others.

For young adults, author Marie Bradby holds a lively discussion with some Kentucky teenagers (see "Among Friends," page 59); and TaRessa Stovall looks at parents' dilemma over whether to rejoice that our teens are reading or be horrified that they are increasingly choosing urban, hip-hop novels with explicit violence and sex (see 'ROUND THE WAY, page 56).

No doubt you also noticed that man--"One Deep Brother"--on our cover. We proudly introduce Malcolm Gladwell, a writer for The New Yorker whose books had been holding steady for months at the very pinnacle of The New York Times best-seller lists: Blink in hardcover and The Tipping Point in paperback simultaneously. Through the lens of other issues, he unabashedly tackles race, and his message goes to the heart of how it shades everyone's perceptions and infects our lives. Angela Aards, an equally deep sister, interviewed him by e-mail as he took time from a heavy promotion tour (see "In the Twinkling of an Eye" page 20).

Last year, I spent those dwindling days of summer, holed up with my family in a seaside getaway, reading an advanced copy of Blink. I found it tantalizing in its implications for our society, if even a shred of it rings true.

By the time you read this, I hope to be well on my way to finding the next gems, maybe in one of the places in our DESTINATIONS section (pages 34 through 42) or under the shade trees in my backyard as my husband grills a recipe from our barbecuing special in THE WELCOME TABLE, on page 68. Hmmm!

Angela P. Dodson

BIBR Executive Editor
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Author:Dodson, Angela P.
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 2005
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