Very Good in Very Good DJ in Very Good jacket. 8vo-over 7¾"-9¾" tall. First Edition. Hardcover. viii, 278pp. Great-looking first edition dust-jacketed hardcover copy with NO library stamps. "In 35 essays, Lester shares his thoughts on myriad subjects. The first and largest section of the book includes essays on writers, including Henry Miller, Aldous Huxley, Thomas Merton, and James Baldwin. There is a scathing criticism of the racism in Huckleberry Finn and a delightful montage of ideas and anecdotes from Lester's lifelong love affair with books. "To Be a Writer and Be Black" chronicles his anger and disillusionment with the black movement and his eventual dismissal as a contributor to their cause. In the section on "Race, " Lester's identity as a Jew as well as a black American gives him a unique point of view. One article gives much food for thought on a less common aspect of racism in America, while others denounce both Farrakhan and Jesse Jackson as anti-Semites, unfit to serve as leaders in the black movement. The final section, sharing the book's title, is a series of short articles on sometimes whimsical, sometimes serious subjects ranging from windchill factor (totally unnecessary) to teenage suicides. Readers will find these always interesting and informative, sometimes fascinating, and often touching. Lester says the reader enters "a relationship of intimacy with the writer, and if the writer has written truly and if we give ourselves over to what is written, we are given the gift of ourselves in ways that surprise and catch the soul off guard." Lester has written truly."-Rosie Peasley, Library Journal.
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Publishers Weekly, 1990-09-14 Forthrightness and independence characterize these essays, previously published in the New York Times , Boston Globe , New Republic , etc. Nine are on writers and writing, five on race and 21 on subjects ranging from safe sex, teenage suicides, video games and Bernhard Goetz to pollution in space, writing as reaching out to people and the significance of Rosh Hashanah. An early advocate of black pride (but not black power), Lester disassociated himself from the movement when he determined that the ``black collective cared only for itself, and its ultimate triumph would be to destroy that singular and unique entity I knew as myself.'' Since then, as teacher and writer ( Lovesong: Becoming a Jew ), he has preached love for those who oppose us as well as for family and friends. His sensitivity is apparent in his evaluations of Aldous Huxley and Thomas Merton; his aversion to anti-Semitism evident in his assessments of James Baldwin, Louis Farrakhan and Jesse Jackson. Above all, he is concerned with the meaning of life: ``What is it like to be me?'' (Oct.)
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