Magazine article American Visions

Rochelle Alers

Magazine article American Visions

Rochelle Alers

Article excerpt

Compiling a summer reading list has become an indulgence for me; however, this summer I will have the opportunity to luxuriate in this intellectual repast for the first time in years, reading and rereading books that have collected dust on my bedside table for months - some for more than a year. The list is eclectic, covering many genres, and with romance predominating.

Patricia Vaughn's Murmur Rain (Pocket, 1996) tops the list. This lush, lyrically written historical romance of 1980' Haiti, an island riven with distinct class differences and cultural nuances, offers the reader a glimpse into the privileged world of the elite. An all-black town in 1880s Kansas is the setting for Beverly Jenkins' Night Song (Avon, 1994), a historical romance that keeps the reader up nights, savoring both the passion between a schoolteacher and a buffalo soldier and the portrayal of African-American history that is too often skewed or ignored in many other historical romances. Both of these books include extensive bibliographies. My romance list concludes with Francis Ray's Forever Yours (Pinnacle, 1994), a classic contemporary romance that is as light and refreshing as a summer shower.

Books of Octavia Butler's, a favorite of mine since I read her Patternmaster series, are a definite reread. Bloodchild and Other Stories (Four Walls Eight Windows, 1995), Parable of the Sower (Four Walls Eight Windows, 1993), Kindred (Beacon Press, 1988), Patternmaster (Warner, 1995) and Clay's Ark (St. …

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