The best witchy books that aren’t YA for YA readers

The Books I Picked & Why

Initiated: Memoir of a Witch

By Amanda Yates Garcia

Book cover of Initiated: Memoir of a Witch

Why this book?

“What if, when we visited the underworld, instead of trying to escape, we listened?” This is a line plucked from the middle of an unobtrusive paragraph in Initiated, but one that shatters me, one of a million perfect insights. In this book, Amanda Yates Garcia shares the story of her youth, often mired in trauma and hardship, yet she is always able to find the beauty and magic glimmering at the edges of experience. This book is particularly relevant now, as we find ourselves collectively gathering in the expanses of the underworld. Yates holds up a beacon and if we are willing to do the work, we may follow it to our own unique brand of glimmering magic.


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Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power

By Pam Grossman

Book cover of Waking the Witch: Reflections on Women, Magic, and Power

Why this book?

This book is part memoir, part history of the Witch. Peppered with pop culture and artistic references, it is a portal to a number of fantastic rabbit holes. For this reason, I needed to keep an open notebook beside me as I read to jot down this artist, that film, this musician. I finished feeling like I had taken an immersive art class, and my understanding of the iconic Witch was so much richer for it. 


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Circe

By Madeline Miller

Book cover of Circe

Why this book?

When I first picked up Circe years ago, I didn’t know what to expect, only that I was always up for a retelling of a myth and the witch Circe was someone I didn’t know much about. By the time the witch lands alone and exiled on her island, I was head over heels in love. Who was this beautiful writer? What couldn’t she do? Turns out, everyone else in the world was thinking the same thing. If you love myth, magic, and gorgeous storytelling, I heartily recommend this book. 


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Pamela Colman Smith: The Untold Story

By R. Kaplan Stuart

Book cover of Pamela Colman Smith: The Untold Story

Why this book?

Witches everywhere are rejoicing the fact that Pamela Coleman Smith is finally being celebrated. If you don’t know (but I’m sure you do,) Coleman Smith illustrated the most iconic tarot deck that exists, which used to be referred to only as the Rider-Waite deck (Waite directed the project and Ryder was the company that published it). Now the decks are being renamed after their creator, a fascinating woman who went by “Pixie” and hung out with Bram Stoker and William Butler Yates. This book is the most beautiful tribute, thick with her illustrations and writings. A deep dive into the life of an important and most magical witch. 


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Practical Magic

By Alice Hoffman

Book cover of Practical Magic

Why this book?

A classic. Published in 1995, long before children everywhere started waiting for their letters to arrive from Hogwarts, this book made grown women long to be witches, and many started on their journey after reading it. You may have seen the movie, but the book is every bit as delightful. The writing is lyrical and sensuous. Reading it is like taking a long bath with bubbles and candles on the night of a full moon. This was one of the books that made me want to become a writer. 


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