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Get serious.

Autumn brings with it the promise of a flesh start for many of us, whether at school, on the job or at home. Our thoughts here at BIBR turn to more serious books, as we leave behind most of summer's escapist fiction and embrace books that have something to teach us.

For this issue, we believe we have put together a particularly strong selection of articles and reviews. First is our cover story on Venus and Serena Williams, who are now bringing their considerable talents into publishing, offering advice for young women. "Sister Act" begins on page 22. The piece by Yanick Rice Lamb, coauthor of the authorized biography on the tennis legend Althea Gibson, opens a window into the Williams sisters own reading habits, academic goals and plans for more books.

In a related article we offer for National Book Month (October), veteran sportswriter Al Harvin looks at the National Basketball Association's Read to Achieve program that uses basketball giants to encourage tiny children to read ("Slam Dunk," page 27).

Elsewhere in this issue, Herb Boyd describes a researcher's dream: what it is like to have one of the world's preeminent repositories of our history, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, as your neighborhood library. He also profiles its chief curator, Howard Dodson [no relation to me]. (See "Sacred Ground" pages 32 to 35.)

Fred Beauford, a publisher and former editor of The Crisis, focuses on books about affirmative action, for the 40th anniversary of the Federal mandate aptly named by Lyndon Baines Johnson and destined to a tortured lifespan despite or because of its successes (pages 44 and 45). "We have to move the nation forward, act positively, affirmatively. That's it: Affirmative Action!" Johnson said.

In our BIBLIOMANE department, Dr. Todd Steven Burroughs, an analyst of the media, examines two recent studies on Oprah Winfrey's impact on the world of literature and on booksellers' bottom lines (see page 38 and 39).

Wayne Dawkins details how a doctoral student discovered that a novelist credited as a pioneer of black women's literature was not black (See "Lost in Time, "page 36.) "Somehow, numerous scholars over decades had perpetuated colossal errors of identity and facts," he writes.

In fiction, we are proud to offer an excerpt from 1996, Gloria Naylor's newest novel or "fictionalized memoir" from Third World Press. Reviews and descriptions of it do not do it justice. Read it, starting here. (See "Close Encounters," page 56.) Another veteran, Bebe Moore Campbell, is back with a novel that looks at the underbelly of mental-health care to destigmatize illnesses of the mind (page 62-63).

In THE WELCOME TABLE (pages 74 and 75), I personally seized the opportunity to review a beautiful, glossy new book about the legendary meals served by Thomas Jefferson. It gives his highly trained black chefs, cooks and gardeners their due and offers rich historical detail.

Finally, our CHILDREN'S BOOKSHELF and YOUNG ADULTS sections, pages 76-79, inject humor and inspiration with a roundup of books on teaching manners and a profile of a teenage author. As October 22 is National Read Aloud Day, why not pick a book and read it to a child?

Angela P. Dodson

BIBR Executive Editor
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Title Annotation:executive editor's view
Author:Dodson, Angela P.
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2005
Previous Article:Rescuing black history: the Schomburg.
Next Article:On Malcolm Gladwell.

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