Tag: Black

8 Essays by Black Writers to Read Right Now 

There are many ways to show your support for the Black Lives Matter movement right now, including getting educated, donating, and supporting black businesses and creators. Below is a list of eight incredibly powerful essays by black writers to read during this time and to share with people around you.  

 

1. “Scenes from a Life in NegroLand” by Margo Jefferson 

“We’re considered upper-class Negroes and upper-middle-class Americans, Mother says. But of course, most people would like to consider us Just More Negroes.” 

Jefferson writes about growing up black in a middle-class white area, and the racism she faced from the people surrounding her. She has taught at New York University and The New School and is currently a professor of writing at Columbia University. To support Jefferson further, you can purchase her full book, Negroland, here 

 

2. “A Letter from a Region in my Mind” by James Baldwin 

“One did not have to be very bright to realize how little one could do to change one’s situation; one did not have to be abnormally sensitive to be worn down to a cutting edge by the incessant and gratuitous humiliation and danger one encountered every working day, all day long.” 

Baldwin is known as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. This essay is one of many that he wrote on his experiences living as a black man in the U.S.. In this piece, he discusses being black and a religious Christian. You can find more of his legendary works here. 

 

3. “Getting In and Out” by Zadie Smith 

“Often I look at my children and remember that quadroons—green-eyed, yellow-haired people like my children—must have been standing on those auction blocks with their café au lait mothers and dark-skinned grandmothers.” 

In this essay, Smith reviews Jordan Peele’s film, Get Out, and discusses the painting, Open Casket, which was hung in the Whitney. The painting sparked protests when it debuted and Smith uses the two works of art to discuss what people have the right to create, and what they don’t. Smith is currently a professor at New York University and more of her work can be found here 

4. “The Word is ‘Nemesis’: The Fight to Integrate the National Spelling Bee” by Dr. Cynthia R. Greenlee 

“What a hard, heavyweight for black children to bear, to be the person who literally spelled trouble for white supremacy.” 

Greenlee has a doctorate in American history and has devoted her life’s work to writing and researching about black interaction with U.S. law. In this article, she details the fight to desegregate the National Spelling Bee, and all of its local factions. More of Greenlee’s research on a variety of topics can be found here 

 

5. “The Color Fetish” by Toni Morrison 

“There is a perfectly good reason for the part colorism plays in literature. It was the law.” 

At age 86, Morrison was still as powerful as ever. In this essay, she sticks to her bookish roots and analyzes the use of colorism in literature. After this essay, there is so much more Morrison to read (including her Nobel Prize-winning novel, Beloved). You can find her work here.  

 

6. “Color Vision” by Hilton Als 

“We had seen posters advertising the piece months before we headed to midtown; Shange’s face, as painted by Paul Davis, had been plastered around the city. We hadn’t seen a black girl’s body promoting anything literary since Kali published her book of poems, in 1970.” 

Als begins this piece by recounting the time he saw Shange live on Broadway as a kid and then continues on to highlight the life of the star. Als is an associate professor at Columbia University and a theater critic for The New Yorker. You can read his other reviews here 

7. “Who Gets to be Angry?” by Roxane Gay 

“I AM an opinionated woman, so I am often accused of being angry. This accusation is made because a woman, a black woman who is angry, is making trouble. She is daring to be dissatisfied with the status quo. She is daring to be heard.” 

Gay has tackled many topics in her best-selling novels. She’s spoken about obesity, race, sexism, and more. In this article, she discusses how angry women, and especially angry black women, are viewed in society. You can find more of her empowering work here 

 

8. “A Clear Presence” by Aisha Sabatini Sloan

“When I heard that [Rodney] King had died, two details, in particular, stuck out to me. One was that he died in a swimming pool. The other was that earlier that day, somebody had heard him scream.” 

Sloan masterfully braids multiple topics into one in this piece. She talks about Rodney King, David Hockney, O.J. Simpson, and her own life as a black woman in Los Angeles. To find out more about her two novels, or read other beautifully constructed essays by Sloan, click here 

Feature Image via Google Images

The Top Ten Best Dragon Books in Fantasy Literature!

They’re big and terrible. They’re small and cute. They’re at once terrifying and majestic. Dragons have been an enduring fixation of literature pretty much ever since storytelling was invented. They can take many forms in narrative, from simple monsters to evil but intelligent villains to helpful allies to god-like divine beings. But one thing is clear: dragons are awesome and they’re extremely fun to read about. Here are the top 10 best books featuring these fire-breathing behemoths, showcasing dragons of every shape and size in all their glory for your viewing pleasure.

10. ‘Tea with the Black Dragon’ by R.A. MacAvoy

 

image via Amazon

Tea with the Black Dragon by R.A. MacAvoy is a Hugo nominated fantasy novel that has a classic premise: girl meets boy and boy turns about to be a dragon. Martha’s daughter, Elizabeth, is in trouble in San Francisco and Martha hurries into the strange city to help her missing child. But when she arrives, the only person who knows where Elizabeth might be is the mysterious stranger Mayland Long. Did we mention Mr. Long can transform into a dragon? Its up to these two to find Elizabeth, even as Martha begins to feel romantic feelings for her newfound dragon companion.

 

9. ‘Three hearts and three lions’ by Poul Anderson

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Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson tells of a man transported into a world of fantasy. Holger Carlsten is a Resistance fighter fighting against the Nazis during World War II but when he’s wounded in battle, the luckless engineer finds himself transported to another world. Against a medieval backdrop, he finds himself in a battle where the forces of Law fight against Chaos. Monsters abound this land, including werewolves, giants, trolls, faeries, and yes: dragons. Revered as a Champion, Holger must take up arms and join the brave knights, ready to slay some dragons (alongside other fearsome beasts) as the leader of the forces of Law.

8. ‘His Majesty’s Dragon’ by Naomi Novik 

Image via amazon

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik tells a historically accurate account of the Napoleonic Wars, with an added twist: dragons! Yes, this is an alternate history novel where dragons are used as the main force of combat, adding a thrilling new element to the tides of war sweeping Europe. When Captain Will Laurence finds an unhatched dragon egg, his life is turned upside down when the dragon hatches and imprints on him. Joining the Aerial Corps, Laurence and his dragon, Temeraine, must take to the skies to defend Britain from France’s own dragon armies.

 

7. ‘The Great Zoo of China’ by Matthew Reilly 

Image via Amazon 

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly is basically Jurassic Park but with dragons! For years, China has been keeping the existence of live dragons a secret but is preparing to unveil them to the world is the first ever dragon zoo. A small group of V.I.P.s are brought into the zoo to see the beasts first hand and inspect the safety of the place. Because, surely, nothing can go wrong? Right? Just kidding. Get ready for tons of action and lots of dragon destruction when things spiral out of control.

6. ‘Tooth and Claw’ by Jo Walton

Image via Amazon

Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton is a unique twist on dragon literature. Told from the point of view of dragons themselves, this is a world of politics, family, and relationships but instead of humans, everyone is a dragon. In a society where the weak are literally eaten and the strong thrive as tyrants, this is a story like no other, as it showcases what the reality of a dragon’s world is truly like.

 

5. ‘The Hero and the crown’ by Robin McKinely 

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The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinely is a rich young adult novel full of feminist themes and a terrifying dragon as the main antagonist. Aerin is an outcast in her own kingdom, a woman looked down upon for being rumored to be the spawn of a witch. Determined to earn her birthright, she decides to slay a dragon but modern dragons are a far cry from the terrible beasts of old. They’re just vermin and although certainly formidable, they’re nothing but pests. Until the day a knight rides into the castle and reports the return of a great dragon from the old days. Maur, said to be as big as a mountain, has returned and is ransacking the kingdom. Seeing her chance, Aerin rides off with only her horse as a companion to face Maur and slay him.

 

4. ‘Dragonsbane’ by Barbara Hambly 

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Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly focuses on a young prince who must join forces with a retired dragon slayer and a witch who can’t use her magic quite right. Joining forces to form a ragtag dragon slaying “crew”, the trio must journey forth to slay the terrible beast or die trying.

 

3. ‘Dragon Keeper’ by Robin Hobb


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Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb tells of a resurgence of dragons into a world that hates and fears them, yet might need them to save it. Telling of a young boy who travels up river to find a dragon egg in order to breed more dragons to defend his land, they find a set of newly hatched but injured baby dragons. With the help of quirky companions, the boy must ferry these dragons their new home across the wilds, with no hope of return but everything riding on his journey back.

 

2. ‘Earthsea’ by Ursula K. Le Guin 

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Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin needs no introduction. Some of the most acclaimed works in fantasy literature, the world of Earthsea features a unique setting (an island archipelago) and people of color as the protagonists. Dragons are a huge component of the setting, from fearsome Western style monsters to more refined, almost Eastern style of creatures. This is one series that is a classic for a reason and you should dig into for certain, especially as a dragon lover.

1. ‘The Hobbit’ by J.R.R. Tolkien 

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The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien began many a person’s love of dragons and fantasy. Bilbo Baggins is a Hobbit who enjoys a comfortable life when he finds himself yanked from his sleepy little town by the wizard Gandalf and a group of dwarves. Together, they set across Middle-earth to seal the great dragon Smaug’s treasure from his lair in the Lonely Mountain. Smaug himself is an inspired creation and the highlight of the book but the rest is a classic adventure tale and one that will surely please any fantasy lover even today!

Featured Image Via LOTR Wiki 

Summer Flings – 5 Fantasy Standalones

As the summer draws to a close, here’s a list of the five best fantasy books you just have to read before autumn arrives! All these books aren’t set in the summer, but they’re still the perfect thing to pick up, no strings attached! Whether you like paranormal, high fantasy, or light horror, you’ll find the perfect book to read in the sun (without falling asleep).

 

 

Uprooted – Naomi Novik

 

Uprooted
Image via Amazon

 

If you’re not reading Novik yet, then you’re missing out! This is the perfect standalone to get you started. Set on the outskirts of a terrifyingly magical forest, this book has a dragon (arguably), an unexpected heroine, plenty of violence, and even more magic. If you want a glorious modern story with the feel of a classic fantasy, you’re going to love this book. It’s also got sense, heart, and writing that’ll make you wonder why anyone else even tries.

 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black

 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Image via Amazon

 

Black writes a lot of different moods, so if you read fantasy you’ve probably encountered her. The Coldest Girl is and isn’t like anything else. Whether you’re over vampires or completely obsessed, give this book a try. A strong, sensible heroine who never the less gets drawn into danger and horror she thought she’d escaped, this book has both the elegance and horror of the genre, the obsession and the disinterest, as well as characters who step off the page.

 

Deep Secret – Danna Wynne Jones

 

Deep Secret
Image via Amazon

 

Jones is also outrageously prolific. Even if you haven’t read any of her work, you’ve probably seen the Miyazaki adaptation of one of her novels, Howl’s Moving Castle. This is something slightly different, but with Jones’ dry humor, sense of tangible magic, and deeply flawed characters you’ll still absolutely love. Royal succession, a secret magical society, and a digital curse make this book a classic, even if you may not know all the retro computer terms.

 

 

The Replacement – Brenna Yovanoff

 

The Replacement
Image via Amazon

 

You probably don’t know Yovanoff, but you might want to. This book is a little gruesome, but only in the way some old fairy tales are. Sometimes children in Gentry are taken, and Mackie Doyle is what was left. Exploring sacrifice, familial love, and what it means to be different, this is an unusual book that’s worth your consideration. The protagonist is complex, and teeters between selfishness and alarming selflessness. My advice? Read it with the lights on.

 

 

The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien

 

The Hobbit
Image via Amazon

 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Lord of the Rings fan or haven’t even seen any of the movies, The Hobbit is self-contained novel that stands on its own. This book is sweet, engaging, frighting, and funny. If you like modern fantasy, here’s it’s start. If you love Tolkien, you know this is a great read and reread,  and if you never got into Tolkien and were too afraid to ask, this is a great place to start. Plus, they put the most gorgeous covers on this book now.

 

 

Featured image via inc.com

Mahershala Ali to Star in ‘Blade’ Reboot!

Exciting news for Marvel fans! Over the weekend, at Marvel’s panel that reveled their next slate of films there were some exciting news revealed! Marvel’s Phase 4 films include several sequels to prior films including Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Black Widow. A few new titles were revealed to be underway as well, including television properties such as Loki, Wanda/Vision, and Falcon and the Winter Solider, in addition to original, new properties such as The Eternals and Shang Chi. But the most exciting announcement of the panel came at the very end, where seconds before the end Kevin Fiege, the head executive of Marvel Entertainment, revealed that a Blade reboot was coming. Even more exciting, two time Oscar Winner Mahershala Ali is to star in the lead role as the titular comic book character.

 

Image via IGN
 

For those unaware, Blade is an African-English superhero from Marvel Comics. Originating from The Tomb of Dracula as a supporting character, Blade is a vampire/human hybrid, with the powers of a vampire but able to walk in sunlight and to stave off his thirst for blood. Despite his cool concept, Blade didn’t become truly popular until a trio of films in the 1990s were adapted for the big screen, starring Wesley Snipes as the vampire slayer. Blade and Blade II were well received for their action, stylish flavor, and Snipes’s performance but the third film, Blade: Trinitywas so badly received that it sunk the franchise. Despite this, Blade has remained a popular character in the comics but has never truly risen to a starring role. Blade’s look is fairly simplistic, as he wears dark sunglasses, a long trench coat, and wields a sword.

Which makes it so surprising that Blade was unveiled is that Blade was already done in movies, so seeing him again is incredibly surprising. Not to mention getting an established actor like Ali to portray the superhero. It’s also incredibly exciting to see another black superhero besides Black Panther headlining a movie, showcasing that Marvel will be pushing for increased diversity in the future. Now, Blade was only just announced and isn’t even on the featured slate of films for Phase 4, so we likely won’t be seeing him anytime soon. But still, this surprise announcement was the highlight of the panel for us.

 

Image via Marvel.com

Are you excited to see the superhero Blade take up arms against vampires on the big screen? What sort of role do you think he’ll play in the MCU? And how about Mahershala Ali to play him? Any speculation of how the movie will take form and who might direct? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image Via Collider