This fortnight we’re discussing A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney, and there were a ton of Alice in Wonderland puns from K, as this is a modern retelling of the story. Don’t expect to get any hints about this story because you read the original. This is a whole new take!

As always, there were a ton of outside sources mentioned, and hopefully we caught them all to add to the show notes. If you have any questions or suggestions, we’d love to hear from you!

  • Sweet potato pie or pumpkin pie? Which do you prefer? For many African Americans sweet potato pie wins every time, but where did that divide start? Here’s more information on how sweet potato pie became the choice dessert of black Americans
  • K mentions the TV show Queen Sugar (J hasn’t watched it yet, but if K is recommending, it’s worth watching!).
  • There is a great article from The Root about black faces being written out of fantasy and sci-fi, and they mentioned some great websites for all us Black Nerds, Black Nerd Problems and Black Girl Nerds
  • K mentioned Elizabeth Gilbert as someone who has been talking about mourning the loss of her partner
  • It took way too long to fins this not so much a meme, but a tweet, and I found a list about eating at your white friend’s house, that was pretty funny
  • There many authors writing #ownvoices stories, and it would be wise to read more from the creator of the hashtag, Corinne Duyvis
  • The danger of “positive” stereotypes, such as the Strong Black Woman
  • Rachel Ricketts article: “The Year I Gave Up White Comfort”, a necessary read for anyone who is a friend to POCs or wishes to be a good ally
  • White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
  • Beauty standards, for the most part, are still centralized on white beauty standards, here are some ways to resist those ideals, and more on how we came to associate beauty with whiteness
  • Watch Good Hair
  • Read The Deepest Well by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris
  • Learn more, and take the ACE quiz to learn about how emotional and physical trauma in childhood can lead to increased risk of illness and disease in adulthood
  • More on the gentrification of Atlanta
  • On the racial disparities experienced by POCs when dealing with medical professionals
  • Might want to think twice before getting married on a plantation, which have not just have a history of slavery, but are the homes of former slave owners
  • We talked a bit about protective hairstyles in this episode. Don’t know what that is? Here is more information on protective hairstyles. FYI, these hairstyles are not for everyone…
  • J mentioned The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory. It is a great modern romance with diversity!
  • Apparently, triforce has to do with Zelda. We didn’t know!
  • Lastly, here is a worthwhile article about black burnout. It feels like it goes with this book.

As always, we’d love to be in discussion with you, magical folx. Post or tweet about the show using #criticallyreading. Let us know what you think of the episode, anything we missed, or anything else you want us to know by dropping a line in the comments or reaching out to us on twitter or Instagram (@thelibrarycoven), or via email ( You can also check out the show notes on our website,

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The podcast theme song is “Unermerry Academy of Magics” by Augustin C from the album “Fantasy Music”, which you can download on

JK, it’s magic is recorded and produced on stolen indigenous land: Arapahoe, Cheyenne, and Ute (Kelly) and Chickasha, Kaskaskia, Kickapoo, Mascoutin, Miami, Mesquaki, Odawa, Ojibwe, Peankashaw, Peoria, Potawatomi, Sauk, and Wea (Jessie)

You can support Indigenous communities by donating to Mitakuye FoundationNative Women’s Wilderness, or the Navajo Water Project. These suggested places came from @lilnativeboy

1 Comment

Episode 31: A Dream So Dark by L.L. McKinney – The Library Coven · October 9, 2020 at 7:09 pm

[…] Hello, magical folx! This week we’re discussing A Dream so Dark by L.L. McKinney, the second book in the Nightmare-verse series! In this episode we’re making predictions about the future books in the series, talking about “urban” fantasy, and coming at you with some major Star Wars: Rise of the Skywalker spoilers (you’ve been warned!). For a refresher for what happened in the last book, check out our episode on A Blade So Black. […]

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