Reading List: Witches!

So I originally had a big ol’ rant about why most modern books-with-witches suck because they’re almost always trying to appropriate the Silver RavenWolf sort of Wicca which is COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS and actually kind of insulting but then I remembered that every religion has been appropriated badly and that I shouldn’t get pissed off because someone thinks that calling someone a “Wiccan” instead of a “witch” is better because it’s less scary/super-duper cool and if they don’t bother doing any research or even trying to get the details right because it’d make for a more boring story anyway, naked frolicking aside, and then I deleted everything and wrote this sentence instead. So…just know that I take my witches (probably overly) seriously, and that I like the ones that are more based on the Ye Olde version of witches than the Modern Interpretation (aka Wiccan Free-For-All).

Note: If you want to know more about real-world witches and Wiccans (and other neo-pagan religions), you may be interested in reading Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler. It’s fun to read AND informative!

Some books with ANASTASIA-APPROVED! witches in them:

  • The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (1973). One of my favorite YA books EVER, and not just because of Amanda-the-maybe-witch.
  • Andromeda Klein by Frank Portman (2009). Although maybe Andromeda would be considered more of an occultist than a witch.
  • The Letter, The Witch and the Ring by John Bellairs (1976). Also any of his Lewis Barnavelt books, which have really great characters, creepy storylines, and excellent writing.
  • The Witches by Roald Dahl (1983). The movie is really good, too: Angelica Huston is the witch queen!
  • Anything Diana Wynne Jones does. Obviously.
  • Her Wiccan, Wiccan Ways by Traci Hall (2008), aka the one that does Wicca-as-fiction right.
  • Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Witch series (1980-2005?). Seriously spooky– I think it actually gave me nightmares when I was younger.
  • The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. Duh.
  • Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series has some fun witches in it, including Equal Rites (1987).
  • Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (1990). Agnes Nutter!
  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman (1999) has some scary witch sisters in it.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum (1900). Heh.

Do you like books with witches in them? Or do you just get irritated and insulted (if you’re a witch yourself, I guess)?

Thanks to Once Upon a Bookshelf for list-y inspiration!

7 thoughts on “Reading List: Witches!”

  1. Hmm… I haven’t read any of the books in your list. BUT, before you cut me off from your blog I will say – I have Good Omens on my tbr pile, as well as an audio version of Stardust. AND I liked the Wizard of Oz movie and musical, and Wicked by Gregory Maguire is one of my all time favorite books (not The Wizard of Oz… but based on the story. Does that count? hehe).

    1. YOU HAVE TO READ ALL OF THEEEEEEEEEEEM~! Or at least a Diana Wynne Jones book. Witch Week! That’s a good witch-y DWJ novel! Read that!

      Also, I was going to add Wicked to my list but I never finished reading it soooo it had to be let off. The musical is coming to my town in January, btw! I don’t actually want to see it, but my mom adores it and so she’s going.

      1. Heh K, I’ll try to read some of them at least. And Wicked the musical is NOTHING like Wicked the book. The book is kind of dark and adult, the musical is like the Disney version. I really liked it after I got over the initial shock, but it doesn’t even come close to the book. Read the book first, then see it just for kicks 🙂

  2. Sooo… I take the whole witch thing seriously, too, and agree with you. I dislike a lot of the pagan/Wiccan fiction because frankly, I find it to be overly silly relative to that actual ritualistic belief system.

    I do hope that I find these books in my future. I’ll let ya know what I think. Thanks for the suggestions!

    1. Man, I tried to write a whole long comment about Wiccans vs fantasy lit witches and it just came out garbled and incomprehensible. But basically: yeah, I agree.

      If anyone is reading this and wants to know more about the background of Wicca/neo-paganism, you may want to try reading Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler, which has nearly everything about what’s going on in that area, including historical beginnings and modern doings. It just got updated again in 2006, too (which I need to read because I’ve only read the one from the 1980s, and a LOT has happened since then).

  3. I didn’t read Dahl’s The Witches for years and years because I was afraid it would scare me, and finally I was like, screw it, I’m old enough, because I was like eleven or twelve, but that damn book freaked my twelve-year-old self out SO MUCH.

    1. I know! I first read it as an adult and it scared me! I think because of how systematically the witches were getting rid of children– ew, and that poor girl who was trapped in the painting! That was scary like WOAH.

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