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Sunday Reading - A Phoenix First Must Burn

Updated: Sep 13, 2020

Hi everyone,

Welcome back to a new post. If you hadn't hear about my plans, Thursdays will be for movies and shows recommendations and Sundays will be for books recommendations.

For my first book recommendation, I decided go with a collection of short stories written by Black women, about Black women titled A Phoenix First Must Burn. I think in the current state of the world, it would be a very good read. I'm recommending this book not just because I think we should all support Black writers more, but also because that book is excellent.

We might be more familiar with historical works and with biographies of Black writers, but Harry Potter is not Black, and there is a lot more space for white writers in fantasy and science fiction novels for young adults, than for Black writers. This book starts to correct that. You have 16 different short stories, with witches and vampires, super-powered main characters and science fiction settings. You get a little bit of everything in there, and if you're like me, you'll end up googling these awesome writers and see if some of these stories will actually have an entire book at one point.

Here are my favourite ones:

-Wherein Abigail Fields Recalls Her First Death and, Subsequently, Her Best Life by Rebecca Roanhorse

A fierce woman who makes a deal for her life in order to takes

revenge on the man who killed her family and the people of her town.

-A Hagiography of Starlight by Somaiya Daud

A priestess who dances for a kind-of-God, summoning him (it's a lot more complex than

that but I don't want to give anything away).

-Melie by Justina Ireland

An apprentice, ignored by the sorcerer who should be training her, goes to find a

dragon to stop a curse. (Melie is adorable. ADORABLE!)

-The Goddess Provides by L.L. McKinney

Badass queen. Like, it's so much more than that, but you'll read it and you'll go, "that's

one badass queen". Basically, when her mother died this princess renounced her faith,

when she should have become a high priestess, and when her brother and father died,

she was blamed for it. She will not have it.

-The Actress by Danielle Page

Teen actress who plays a witch in a TV show learns she's actually a witch. It's SO good.

-All the Time in the World by Charlotte Nicole Davis

Shy girl learns that she can stop time, and it's probably because of the bad water in

their town. Story told as you. A little unsettling if you're not used to it. It's really good.

I could have written all of them, but these are the ones that stand out the most. Each short stories are about 20 pages each so it's a nice quick read. I would read one short story every night before going to bed, and it was really fun, looking forward to the next story the next day.

You're introduced to different lore and legends, to re-imagining of recent event (for instance All the Time in the World is a sort-of Flint water crisis spin), to unique and interesting characters.

There is also many queer characters which was seriously refreshing.

Basically, A Phoenix First Must Burn is a MUST read.

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