The best books that make magic feel just within reach

Why am I passionate about this?

Since reading the Harry Potter series (I know, how original! But bear with me), I’d been searching for books that awoke the same feelings of awe, curiosity, and inspiration in me. It’s been my mission—to be on the dramatic side—to find books that make magic feel just within reach of our world, which is why I set out to write my own urban fantasy story, The Wise One. My creation process involved years of extensive research on esoteric topics and Celtic folklore, including visiting most of my story’s locations during my travels across Ireland and Scotland. What I can boldly say after immersing myself in the landscape and culture is this: magic totally does exist. 

I wrote...

The Wise One

By K.T. Anglehart,

Book cover of The Wise One

What is my book about?

When a teenager learns she has innate magical gifts, she journeys to Ireland in search of answers and finds herself as the bridge to a realm of spirits, witches, faeries—and a dark prophecy. The Wise One is a teen/YA witchy book for the young and young at heart, forged by themes of nature, power, and spiritual journeys. Expect to find faeries, friendship, and faith where one often fails to look. Imagine mystic lakes, magical realms, and harvest moons.

If you can already feel yourself lighting up with excitement, then this book was written for you.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of A Great and Terrible Beauty

K.T. Anglehart Why did I love this book?

I read this trilogy when I was a teenager and couldn’t put it down. The blend of historical fiction, magic, and forbidden desires was easily devourable, if that’s even a word. Set in 1895 at an English boarding school, it’s incredibly atmospheric and full of secrets you’ll want to unravel faster than you could turn the page. 

By Libba Bray,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Great and Terrible Beauty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

It's 1895, and after the death of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma's reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she's being followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence's most powerful girls - and their foray into the spiritual world - lead to?

Book cover of A Discovery of Witches

K.T. Anglehart Why did I love this book?

I’d always had this idea that magic and science go hand in hand. It’s not about believing one over the other but about how they work in conjunction. A Discovery of Witches is the first book I read that embraces this concept and in the most compelling way possible. Through the lens of a unique witch named Diana and a centuries-old vampire, Harkness takes us on a journey of creation, ancient magic, and forbidden love (and who doesn’t love some of that?)

By Deborah Harkness,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked A Discovery of Witches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford's Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.

Book cover of Faery Tale: One Woman's Search for Enchantment in a Modern World

K.T. Anglehart Why did I love this book?

When I was recommended this book, I was in the midst of my own journey of self-discovery, like the author was in writing it. I was just starting to embrace who I wanted to be: someone who could open people’s imaginations to the magic that is already all around us. Faery Tale is the story that prompted me to book that trip to Ireland and Scotland and experience the mysticism of the lands for myself. I’m not a memoir enthusiast normally, but Pike’s (at first) skeptical POV,  detailed research into Celtic folklore, and real-life magical encounters inspired much of my debut novel. 

By Signe Pike,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Faery Tale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In search of something to believe in once more, Signe Pike left behind a career in Manhattan to undertake a magical journey - literally. In a sweeping tour of Mexico, England, Ireland, Scotland and beyond, she takes readers to dark glens and abandoned forests, ancient sacred sites and local pubs, seeking people who might still believe in the elusive beings we call faeries. As Pike attempts to connect with the spirit world - and reconnect with her sense of wonder and purpose - she comes to view both herself and the world around her in a profoundly new light.


Book cover of Earth, Air, Fire & Water: More Techniques of Natural Magic

K.T. Anglehart Why did I love this book?

I'm always reluctant to recommend occult books (there's definitely a weirdness factor that will turn some off), but this isn't like any other. Don't worry: you don't have to purchase a wand, crystals, salts, oils, or herbs. Scott Cunningham was a widely respected practitioner that always advocated for age-old tools of natural magiclike water from a spring. For those interested in exploring the Craft, this is the perfect starting point because it reminds us of the fundamentals: nature is magic. It doesn't get more complicated than that.

By Scott Cunningham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Earth, Air, Fire & Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"A treasure trove of practical magic for both novices and more experienced practitioners...beautifully crafted spells that invoke the alchemy of possibility."—PanGaia

A leaf from an oak tree...a wildflower...water from a sparkling stream...dirt from a cool dark cave—these are the age-old tools of natural magic. Born of the earth, possessing inherent power, they await only our touch and intention to bring their magical qualities to life.

The four elements are powerful magical tools. Using their energies, we can transform ourselves, our lives, and our world. This much-loved, classic guide offers more than seventy-five spells, rites, and simple rituals you can perform…

Book cover of Inkheart

K.T. Anglehart Why did I love this book?

This is the first high fantasy book I've ever read (if you put Harry Potter in the urban fantasy box), so how could I not include it in my top picks? It's one of those stories that you read way past your bedtime; that a pre-teen reader can enjoy as much as an adult; and whose relationships between characters are as charming and intriguing as the magic itself. With the perfect blend of plot twists, adventure, love, and humourand so, so much heartthe Inkworld is one I'll never forget.

By Cornelia Funke, Anthea Bell (translator),

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Inkheart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

The first book in Cornelia Funke's internationally celebrated
trilogy - magical, thrilling and mesmerising.

don't think I've ever read anything that conveys so well the
joys, terrors and pitfalls of reading' Diana Wynne Jones

loves books. So does her father, Mo, a bookbinder,
although he has never read aloud to her since her mother mysteriously
disappeared. They live quietly until the night a stranger
knocks at their door. He has come with a warning that forces
Mo to reveal an extraordinary secret - a storytelling secret that
will change their lives for ever.

Also a major film starring…

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Rewriting Illness

By Elizabeth Benedict,

Book cover of Rewriting Illness

Elizabeth Benedict

New book alert!

What is my book about?

What happens when a novelist with a “razor-sharp wit” (Newsday), a “singular sensibility” (Huff Post), and a lifetime of fear about getting sick finds a lump where no lump should be? Months of medical mishaps, coded language, and Doctors who don't get it.

With wisdom, self-effacing wit, and the story-telling artistry of an acclaimed novelist, Elizabeth Benedict recollects her cancer diagnosis after discovering multiplying lumps in her armpit. In compact, explosive chapters, interspersed with moments of self-mocking levity, she chronicles her illness from muddled diagnosis to “natural remedies,” to debilitating treatments, as she gathers sustenance from family, an assortment of urbane friends, and a fearless “cancer guru.”

Rewriting Illness is suffused with suspense, secrets, and the unexpected solace of silence.

Rewriting Illness

By Elizabeth Benedict,

What is this book about?

By turns somber and funny but above all provocative, Elizabeth Benedict's Rewriting Illness: A View of My Own is a most unconventional memoir. With wisdom, self-effacing wit, and the story-telling skills of a seasoned novelist, she brings to life her cancer diagnosis and committed hypochondria. As she discovers multiplying lumps in her armpit, she describes her initial terror, interspersed with moments of self-mocking levity as she indulges in "natural remedies," among them chanting Tibetan mantras, drinking shots of wheat grass, and finding medicinal properties in chocolate babka. She tracks the progression of her illness from muddled diagnosis to debilitating treatment…

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Interested in magic-supernatural, witches, and boarding schools?

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