cover image Falling Pieces of the Broken Sky

Falling Pieces of the Broken Sky

Julius Lester. Arcade Publishing, $19.95 (276pp) ISBN 978-1-55970-059-7

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.)