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Summertime and the reading is easy.

Close your eyes and picture yourself lolling comfortably in a chaise lounge on fine, white sand, the crystal-clear, blue ocean gently lapping the shore just a few yards away. Warm gentle breezes caress your body and the sun seems to kiss your very soul. A cool drink, complete with umbrella and citrus slices, is at your fingertips. The music wafting from your headphones is softer and mellower than you ever imagined. And your "Do Not Disturb" sunglasses insure continued peace. Heaven? No! Where on earth are the books?

Okay, I'll admit it. For a library-card-carrying bookaholic like me, summer has no meaning without books. So whether I'm basking at the shore or sweating on the subway, you can bet I've got a book tucked somewhere nearby. During these hazy, if not lazy, days of summer, one of the things I try to do is select a few books to complete by season's end. Now summer isn't the season for all books, mind you--save the academics for September! Summer reading is all about escapism. So this year, my summer list includes black writers whose work falls into several categories:

The Perennial Posse

Folks like E. Lynn Harris (A Love of My Own, coming in late-July), Eric Jerome Dickey (Thieves' Paradise, May) and Gwynne Forster (When Twilight Comes) whose yearly offerings I can't wait to pick up and simply can't put down. They're quick reads to plow through in 48 hours or less, but they are as essential as sun to the summer season.

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Right off the presses, this summer wouldn't be complete without a peek at the titles creating big buzz. Don't miss Stephen Carter's suspenseful tale, The Emperor of Ocean Park (June); Brian Keith Jackson's thoroughly entertaining novel The Queen of Harlem (April); Trisha R. Thomas' new look at love, RoadrunneR (July); or Ilyasah Shabazz's autobiography Growing Up X (May).

Tried and True

Who do you turn to when you want a summer read that's guaranteed to be good? Bebe Moore Campbell (What You Owe Me), Walter Mosley (Easy Rawlins returns in Bad Boy Brawly Brown in July), J. California Cooper, Pearl Cleage, Bernice McFadden. Anything they've written will fill the bill


Did one or two good reads slip by? Time to play catch up! Dust off Mary Monroe's The Upper Room and laugh till you cry. Christopher Chambers' whodunit, Sympathy for the Devil, will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. And don't forget Lolita Files' Child of God, where every taboo known to mankind rears its ugly head.


Already hot? Now you can be bothered, too! Turn up the heat on a scorching summer with black erotica. There are several new collections you don't want to miss! Brown Sugar, Black Silk, Indigo After Dark, Best Black Women's Erotica. Even the titles make me sweat! In August, the brothers turn up the heat in After Hours: A Collection of Erotic Writing by Black Men edited, by Robert Fleming. Of course there are several other authors whose novels register sky-high on the steam-o-meter like Mary B. Morrison (Never Again Once More) and Zane (The Heat Seekers). Oh, baby!


At least one is a must. You'll be amazed by the richness of Baldwin, Du Bois, Hughes, Hurston, Morrison and Wright. Or dip your toes into poetry by greats like Baraka, Brooks, Madhubuti, Giovanni and Sanchez.

What's New

We've got tons of new authors to embrace. Be sure to check out Tayari Jones (Leaving Atlanta), Collen Dixon (Simon Says), Jihad Uhuru (Wake Up Everybody) and Yolanda Young (On Our Way to Beautiful: A Family Memoir).

When it comes to summer reading, there simply aren't enough days....

Self-proclaimed "library card-carrying bookaholic" Robin Green-Cary is co-owner of Sibanye, Inc., an eight-year-old Afrocentric bookstore/boutique in Baltimore, Maryland. Green-Cary organizes several annual literary events, including the Write Now Literary Conference, the Baltimore Book Festival and Jambo, Watoto Children's Bookfest. She has recently completed an urban nursery rhyme called Wood in the Hood, and is currently pulling her locks out over a novel. Green-Cary kicks off our 12-page fiction special with "Summertime, and the Reading Is Easy" a preview of this summer's literary treats, beginning on page 28.
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Article Details
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Author:Green-Cary, Robin
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2002
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