A Few of My Favorite Things

Besides watching baseball (especially Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners), here are a few other favorites of poet and writer E. Ethelbert Miller:

dark, by Kenji Jasper (Broadway Books). When a new novelist appears with a good book, critics can often go overboard. I read about Jasper in The Washington Post and decided to see what the fuss was about. dark marks a bright spot on the bookstore shelf. With an overabundance of black romance being published, there is often a need to relax with a book in which the language is major league. Jasper’s character Thai Williams is a young man living in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Thai pulls us into his world of violence and we see things from his perspective, not one revealed on the evening news. His killing of another young black man kicks the book off; you’ll be running until the last page.

West of Rehoboth, by Alexs D. Pate (William Morrow). Pate can tie two stories together like a boy scout on a field trip. His latest book captures black life during those Delaware summers when folks wanted to get out of places like Philadelphia and see the beach. Here, generations interact and we understand secrets as well as traditions. The two main characters are a young boy, Edward, and his mysterious Uncle Rufus. The second part of this book overshadows the first couple of chapters, and the ending is too sweet for my taste. But Pate gives riffs on paper that make you stop and look for the choir. His novel will make you think twice about the identity of old black men walking down the streets of our neighborhood. It’s also a good book about coming of age.

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Sojourners Magazine November-December 2001
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