Boo! It’s the spooky season, witches! And time for another Wicked Witch Book List to celebrate all things magical, complex, dark, dangerous and be-hatted. Of all the other worldly feminine archetypes in literature– from Vampiresses to Mermaids to Fairies– it’s witches I like best. I find them endlessly fascinating and I think it’s because the idea of woman = witch is grounded in real life. The first witches were just women who knew a little bit more about medicine or herbs or physics or how to swim or beautiful eyes (See Hester Prynne below). Basically, women who had a few extra talents that made men nervous. At almost any given moment in history, a woman who had interests beyond the scope of what women at the time were allowed could be accused of being a witch. It’s an all-inclusive archetype! Bring it on!
Last year I put together my first Witch-y Booklist covering new books and old favorites. I had so much fun I decided to do it again.
This year, my list is heavy on the newer books. From futuristic sci-fi set is historic Salem like The Once and Future Witches to a delightful story about a secret coven of young witches hiding out behind an invisibility spell and the young witch who comes to tutor the crew in The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches, the list has something for everyone. If you looking for books on the literary/historical end of witches, try The White Hare by Jane Johnson set in Wales and featuring large white bunnies! And witch-y rom coms abound and are perfect for a cozy fall night. Check out The Kiss Curse, Small Town Big Magic and The Witches of Moonshyne Manor. Plus more titles to enjoy.
If you need a reading assignment or book club pick, I recommend a two-fer with one classic and one re-imagination: The Scarlett Letter (classic) and Hester (out in October). Of course, The Scarlett Letter is the Hawthorne classic that we were all forced to read in high school. It’s one of my favorite books of all time and a recent re-read confirmed that it still resonates in a world that is suspicious of women’s sexuality. The new title, Hester is a reimagining of the woman in Hawthorne’s life who might have inspired Hester Prynne. Usually, I read the word “re-imagining” in a description and run for the hills. But because of my love for Hester Prynne and dreary New England setting and witches, I was in. Hester is wonderful. Well-researched, smart, sensuous, feminist. Loved it! Read more about the book and author Laurie Lico Albanese here.
Enjoy the lists! Let me know which ones you loved. Find all my book lists at bookshop.org.