75 books like Making Witches

By Barbara Rieti,

Here are 75 books that Making Witches fans have personally recommended if you like Making Witches. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Decameron

Dianne Hales Author Of La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World

From my list on italy and italian.

Why am I passionate about this?

Decades ago, I fell madly, gladly, and giddily in love with Italian. This passion inspired La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with the World’s Most Enchanting Language, which became a New York Times best-seller and won an Italian knighthood for my contributions to promoting Italy’s language. Intrigued by the world’s most famous portrait, I wrote Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered, an Amazon Best Book of the Year, translated into seven languages. My most recent journeys through Italian culture are La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World and  ‘A’ Is for Amore, an e-book written during the pandemic and available free on my website.

Dianne's book list on italy and italian

Dianne Hales Why did Dianne love this book?

During a plague that killed a quarter of Florence’s citizens, Boccaccio crafted an exuberant, entertaining, death-defying work of literature. In this book, seven young women and three young men taking refuge in a country villa swap 100 tales of love, lust, mischief, and treachery. 

I read a translation of The Decameron during a sabbatical in Italy and was swept back in time. In every village, I’d look around a piazza and see characters straight from its pages: wily merchants, corrupt politicians, clever wives, henpecked husbands, bumbling fools. This book still resonates in the 21st century—a tribute to Boccaccio’s skill as a spell-weaver. Some of his stories are shamelessly, laughably bawdy. But all remind us that, even as everything changes, our shared humanity remains the same.

By Giovanni Boccaccio,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Decameron as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the summer of 1348, as the Black Death ravages their city, ten young Florentines take refuge in the countryside...

Taken from the Greek, meaning 'ten-day event', Boccaccio's Decameron sees his characters amuse themselves by each telling a story a day, for the ten days of their confinement - a hundred stories of love and adventure, life and death, and surprising twists of fate. Less preoccupied with abstract concepts of morality or religion than earthly values, the tales range from the bawdy Peronella, hiding her lover in a tub, to Ser Cepperallo, who, despite his unholy effrontery, becomes a Saint.…


Book cover of Folktales of the Canadian Sephardim

Justin Jaron Lewis Author Of Imagining Holiness: Classic Hasidic Tales in Modern Times

From my list on people telling each other stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nearly forty years ago, as a young poet, I started going to a storytelling circle in Toronto, thinking it would be a good venue to recite my poems. What I heard there awakened something in me. When I was a child, my parents read me wonder tales, and I soon began to read them on my own. Now I was hearing these stories, the way they were heard for millennia before anyone wrote them down. Today, I am a storyteller, I am married, and I am a professor who teaches a course on storytelling and writes about stories – all because of those weekly gatherings years ago and the storytellers there.

Justin's book list on people telling each other stories

Justin Jaron Lewis Why did Justin love this book?

The Jewish stories I know best were first told in Yiddish, but there is so much more to Jewish storytelling.

This little book is a treasury of stories told by Moroccan Jewish immigrants to Canada, who spoke Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Spanish, and French. The author introduces each storyteller and includes photos of them. Most of their stories happen in Morocco, but some in Montreal, including a bitterly humorous first impression, and an amazing miracle.

Many of these stories have a fairy-tale feeling – including the personal experiences. The Jnun (Jinns), also known as “our friends from the underworld” are very real to these storytellers, though they no longer bother people in Canada because there is so much metal around, keeping them away. 

By Andre Elbaz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Folktales of the Canadian Sephardim as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Folktales of the Canadian Sephardim, prepared under the auspices of the National Museum of Man, contains 80 folktales, legends and anecdotes collected by André Elbaz from Moroccan Jewish immigrants in Canada.Moroccan Sephardim have a rich oral literature, which is still alive among the older members of the community. However, the combined influence of mass emigration out of Morocco, and the ensuing disappearance of ancient communities rooted in North Africa, the new social mores and the levelling impact of mass- media are threatening the survival of these folktales in Canada. This first survey attempts to preserve from oblivion an interesting aspect…


Book cover of Burning Brightly: New Light on Old Tales Told Today

Justin Jaron Lewis Author Of Imagining Holiness: Classic Hasidic Tales in Modern Times

From my list on people telling each other stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nearly forty years ago, as a young poet, I started going to a storytelling circle in Toronto, thinking it would be a good venue to recite my poems. What I heard there awakened something in me. When I was a child, my parents read me wonder tales, and I soon began to read them on my own. Now I was hearing these stories, the way they were heard for millennia before anyone wrote them down. Today, I am a storyteller, I am married, and I am a professor who teaches a course on storytelling and writes about stories – all because of those weekly gatherings years ago and the storytellers there.

Justin's book list on people telling each other stories

Justin Jaron Lewis Why did Justin love this book?

Stories come alive when people tell them to each other.

In my mid-20s, I happened upon a weekly gathering in Toronto, “1001 Friday Nights of Storytelling.” In a former synagogue turned art school – with candlelight shining on works in progress – people told old tales, by heart and with heart. This was the beginning of many things in my life, and this is the community that folklorist Kay Stone has written about.

She shows that the Toronto storytelling circle is part of a worldwide movement. She talks with great storytellers and explores favourite stories with them. And she shares her own struggle with a witch story from Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and how, as she told it again and again, she changed the story and the story changed her.

By Kay Stone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Burning Brightly is the first full-length book treatment of professional storytelling in North America today. For some years there has been a major storytelling revival throughout the continent, with hundreds of local groups and centres springing up, and with storytelling becoming an important part of the professional training for librarians.

In the book, Stone explores storytelling through storytellers themselves, while providing enlightening commentary from her own background as a storyteller. Included in her analysis are informative discussions of organized storytelling communities, individual tellers, and tales. Issues such as the modern recontextualization of old tales and the role of women in…


Book cover of Centering Anishinaabeg Studies: Understanding the World through Stories

Justin Jaron Lewis Author Of Imagining Holiness: Classic Hasidic Tales in Modern Times

From my list on people telling each other stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nearly forty years ago, as a young poet, I started going to a storytelling circle in Toronto, thinking it would be a good venue to recite my poems. What I heard there awakened something in me. When I was a child, my parents read me wonder tales, and I soon began to read them on my own. Now I was hearing these stories, the way they were heard for millennia before anyone wrote them down. Today, I am a storyteller, I am married, and I am a professor who teaches a course on storytelling and writes about stories – all because of those weekly gatherings years ago and the storytellers there.

Justin's book list on people telling each other stories

Justin Jaron Lewis Why did Justin love this book?

This is a book about stories of the land I live on.

My home is in Winnipeg, on the edge of the flatland called “the Prairies” in Canada and “the Great Plains” in the United States. But the land doesn’t care about the Canada-US border. And that border is nothing but an imposition on the older nations whose territory I live in: the Red River Métis, and the Anishinaabeg.

These Indigenous Peoples have ancient living traditions of oral storytelling, and this book, by Anishinaabeg scholars, celebrates their stories’ spiritual, practical, and political power.

A teaching shared by storyteller Kathleen Delores Westcott tells us “the story is a living being. It’s alive.” That teaching has helped me to understand how stories attract us, get inside us, change, and move across boundaries. 

By Jill Doerfler (editor), Niigaanwew James Sinclair (editor), Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Centering Anishinaabeg Studies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For the Anishinaabeg people, who span a vast geographic region from the Great Lakes to the Plains and beyond, stories are vessels of knowledge. They are bagijiganan, offerings of the possibilities within Anishinaabeg life. Existing along a broad narrative spectrum, from aadizookaanag (traditional or sacred narratives) to dibaajimowinan (histories and news) - as well as everything in between - storytelling is one of the central practices and methods of individual and community existence. Stories create and understand, survive and endure, revitalize and persist. They honour the past, recognise the present, and provide visions of the future.

In remembering, (re)making, and…


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

Astrea Taylor Author Of Intuitive Witchcraft: How to Use Intuition to Elevate Your Craft

From my list on general witchcraft for beginner from an eclectic witch.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an eclectic witch, and one of my life goals is to empower other witches, especially those who are sensitive to energy. Being a beginner witch isn’t always easy. When I was new, I didn’t have many books — I mostly just relied upon my intuition and awareness of energy. When I finally had the chance to read magical books, I found that many of them had inaccurate information, problematic practices, or questionable spells. However, I also discovered there are just as many wonderful, well-researched books out there. You just have to know which ones are which. I hope this list helps you set a baseline for your future library. 

Astrea's book list on general witchcraft for beginner from an eclectic witch

Astrea Taylor Why did Astrea love this book?

One of my favorite things in the world is inspiration, and this book has loads of it. It contains an insightful retrospective of witchcraft, including how it showed up in popular culture. What I love most about this book is that it sets the stage for new witches and invites them to the party. 

By Pam Grossman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Waking the Witch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the podcast host of The Witch Wave and practicing witch Pam Grossman-who Vulture has dubbed the "Terry Gross of witches"-comes an exploration of the world's fascination with witches, why they have intrigued us for centuries and why they're more relevant now than ever.

When you think of a witch, what do you picture? Pointy black hat, maybe a broomstick. But witches in various guises have been with us for millennia. In Waking the Witch, Pam Grossman explores the impact of the world's most magical icon. From the idea of the femme fatale in league with the devil to the…


Book cover of Took: A Ghost Story

Jodee Patel Author Of The Lady in White: Based on the Legend of

From my list on fantasy books from dragons to ghosts.

Why am I passionate about this?

Since I was a child I have viewed the world differently. I dreamed of magical worlds, and I always was curious to find answers to questions that were hard to find. When I began to question a local legend about the Lady in White, I had to know more. I spent countless days researching to find anything about this mystery lady. Unfortunately, I never did find out who the Lady in White was, but I did find information on every one of her so-called victims. With a handful of real-life events, and a lot of imagination, my Lady in White series was born. 

Jodee's book list on fantasy books from dragons to ghosts

Jodee Patel Why did Jodee love this book?

I love stories that are based on legends, myths, and folklore. This one is the latter.

Took is the first book that opened my mind to folklore of witches and witchcraft. If finding a cabin in the woods with bones and artifacts inside didn’t bring chills down my spine, then the mysterious storyline that followed definitely did. The suspense of the book kept my mind captive till the very end!

By Mary Downing Hahn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Took as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

Thirteen year old Daniel Anderson doesn't believe Brody Mason's crazy stories about the ghost witch who lives up on Brewster's Hill with Bloody Bones, her man eating razorback hog. He figures Brody's probably just trying to scare him since he's the new kid ...a "stuck-up snot" from Connecticut. But Daniel's seven year old sister Erica has become more and more withdrawn, talking to her lookalike doll. When she disappears into the woods one day, he knows something is terribly wrong. Did the witch strike? Has Erica been "took"?


Book cover of The Pillars of the World

Adele Morris Author Of The Lost Soul

From my list on blending myth and magic into an unputdownable tale.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Scottish born Australian writer I grew up reading tales from Celtic and Norse mythology and always wanted them to be fact. With a passion for history, including tales of lost civilizations, and with a deeply rooted love of story, I have spent decades exploring how myth and story intertwine. Where do our stories come from? I have fantasized for many hours about what it would be like if there was an older magical world beneath ours. My first novel, The Lost Soul, began when I asked myself one question: What if myth was true? 

Adele's book list on blending myth and magic into an unputdownable tale

Adele Morris Why did Adele love this book?

Anne Bishop weaves European myth and historical witch-hunting into a fantastical tale of Fae, Witches, and those without magic. All three books in this series are unputdownable. So real is the imagery and the variety of characters, each with their own blend of magic and relationship to the natural world, that no matter how dark the tale gets, I can’t stop reading. 

Tir Alainn blends the natural, spiritual and physical world of myth into a grassroots world with characters that live and die for what they believe. With a strong moral core to the story, the richness of myth brings the inhabitants of Tir Alainn to life. An enchanting dark fantasy trilogy that is a must-read.  

By Anne Bishop,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pillars of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first novel in New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop's Tir Alainn Trilogy.

The youngest in a long line of witches, Ari senses that things are changing—changing for the worse. For generations, her kin have tended the Old Places, keeping the land safe and fertile. But with the Summer Moon, the mood of her neighbors has soured. And Ari is no longer safe.
 
The Fae have long ignored what occurs in the mortal world, passing through on their shadowy roads only long enough to amuse themselves. But the roads are slowly disappearing, leaving the Fae Clans isolated and alone.…


Book cover of White Magic

Alex Difrancesco Author Of Breaking the Curse: A Memoir about Trauma, Healing, and Italian Witchcraft

From my list on needing magic in your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

It’s not an exaggeration to say that finding a path toward a spiritual belief that accepted me for who I am was a lifelong pursuit for me. As someone who felt pushed out by the Catholic Church for my transness, I wanted to find something that kept some of those traditions but built on them in a way that made sense to me and included me. Italian-American folk magic had room for people like me in a way that organized religion never did. The magical memoirs of contemporary writers inspired me to synthesize what I’d learned into my own grimoire/memoir. 

Alex's book list on needing magic in your life

Alex Difrancesco Why did Alex love this book?

I was amazed and inspired by the places that Elissa Washuta went with this book. Not only is it about living in a potentially haunted home and the magic that the author engages with, but also, somehow, about historical markers, The Oregon Trail, and indigeneity.

I felt like I was traveling along with Elissa Washuta’s brilliant mind as she made her way through all these seemingly disparate but ultimately very connected topics. 

By Elissa Washuta,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Finalist for the PEN Open Book Award

Longlisted for the PEN/Jean Stein Award

A TIME, NPR, New York Public Library, Lit Hub, Book Riot, and Entropy Best Book of the Year

"Beguiling and haunting. . . . Washuta's voice sears itself onto the skin." ―The New York Times Book Review

Bracingly honest and powerfully affecting, White Magic establishes Elissa Washuta as one of our best living essayists.

Throughout her life, Elissa Washuta has been surrounded by cheap facsimiles of Native spiritual tools and occult trends, “starter witch kits” of sage, rose quartz, and tarot cards packaged together in paper and…


Book cover of The Witch: A History of Fear, from Ancient Times to the Present

Julian Goodare Author Of The European Witch-Hunt

From my list on the history of European witchcraft and witch-hunting.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian who wants to know: Why did people burn other people at the stake for what we think was an impossible crime? It seems so unjust; indeed it was unjust. I mention Amnesty International in my book; as well as being a professional historian, I’ve been writing letters for Amnesty for many years, trying to rectify injustice. Yet witch-hunting made sense to the perpetrators; they weren’t simply ‘wicked’ or ‘crazed’ or ‘ignorant’. We need to understand them on many levels, from the most erudite demonology, all the way down to psychological processes by which we identify enemies. The five books I’ve chosen move gradually downwards, in order, from the highest to the deepest level.

Julian's book list on the history of European witchcraft and witch-hunting

Julian Goodare Why did Julian love this book?

As well as the village witch, we have what might be called the ‘folkloric witch’, and other folkloric traditions.

When interrogators asked witchcraft suspects about the Devil, the answers sometimes surprised them. They uncovered beliefs about nature spirits, practices of magical healing and divination, and visionary experience of otherworlds.

Some of this material fed into ideas about the witches’ sabbat, but these beliefs, practices, and visions were not necessarily about ‘witchcraft’ at all. Ronald Hutton’s ambitious book surveys these beliefs, practices, and visions.

He ranges far back into the ancient history of Europe – and adjacent regions, exploring traditions of ceremonial magic from ancient Egypt. If the idea of the witch is frightening, it is partly because of the folklore brought together in this book.

By Ronald Hutton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Why have societies all across the world feared witchcraft? This book delves deeply into its context, beliefs, and origins in Europe's history

"Traces the idea of witches far beyond the Salem witch trials to beliefs and attitudes about witches around the world throughout history."-Los Angeles Times

The witch came to prominence-and often a painful death-in early modern Europe, yet her origins are much more geographically diverse and historically deep. In this landmark book, Ronald Hutton traces witchcraft from the ancient world to the early-modern stake.

This book sets the notorious European witch trials in the widest and deepest possible perspective…


Book cover of The Witch of Eye

Kim Todd Author Of Sensational: The Hidden History of America's "Girl Stunt Reporters"

From my list on about women you’ve never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

There's magic in a book that opens a window to the lives of ordinary people who lived in a time and place very different from our own. That’s why I enjoy exploring these stories. The narratives of the famous are often polished to the point that all the odd edges of a delicious pea soup or a long trip in uncomfortable boots are worn away. But I love these little details: how certain boarding house rules meant women had no place to stay when Jack the Ripper was prowling, or how a journal might consist of rag paper with a hand-stitched binding. They show us a distant era, but also reinforce our common humanity.

Kim's book list on about women you’ve never heard of

Kim Todd Why did Kim love this book?

Different stylistically than the other books on the list, The Witch of Eye is a collection of lyric essays about those accused of witchcraft. In its pages, we meet Lisbet Nypan of Norway, who cured patients using a “ritual of salt” only to be put on trial in the late 1600s, and the German midwife Walpurga Hausmannin, who allegedly coupled with the devil in the clothes of the neighborhood corn farmer. The sentences are dense and hypnotic, transporting readers into fields and courtrooms. One essay begins by describing the language of magic: “You begin a spell with an invocation like Hear me or I beseech you or Oh friend or Listen.” Let yourself be drawn in.

By Kathryn Nuernberger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Witch of Eye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This amazingly wise and nimble collection investigates the horrors inflicted on so-called "witches" of the past. The Witch of Eye unearths salves, potions, and spells meant to heal, yet interpreted by inquisitors as evidence of evil. The author describes torture and forced confessions alongside accounts of gentleness of legendary midwives. In one essay about a trial, we learn through folklore that Jesus's mother was a midwife who cured her own son's rheumatism. In other essays there are subtle parallels to contemporary discourse around abortion and environmental destruction. Nuernberger weaves in her own experiences, too. There's an ironic look at her…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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