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From tales about the Witches of Eastwick and the Wicked Witch of the West, to haunting novels and spooky YA reads, we've got you covered, ahead.
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The Witches of Eastwick, John Updike
Throughout history, “witch” has often been deployed as a derogatory stereotype meant to demonize powerful women. Here, Updike’s trio of divorcees reclaim female strength by injecting some magic into a place that badly needs it: the postwar American suburbs.
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Wicked, Gregory Maguire
With a simple shift of perspective from doe-eyed Dorothy to her nemesis, the supposedly Wicked Witch of the West, this novel imbues Oz with danger, sex, politics, and (most of all) magic.
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The Witching Hour, Anne Rice
There is perhaps no place in America more magical than New Orleans, thanks to its iconic jazz, delicious food, and unique multicultural mix. That magic comes alive here when a woman discovers she’s the heir to an ancient line of matriarchal witches, with all the power (and danger) that comes with it.
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The Witches, Roald Dahl
For a children’s book, Dahl’s tale of the monstrous witches who kill children (or, preferably, turn them into mice so that their parents kill them) sure gets frighteningly dark.
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The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman
The three Hempstock women (maiden, mother, and crone) would tell you they’re not witches, nor do they cast spells. But that's just talk. Sure, these women are kind enough to shelter a scared little boy, but they can also bottle wormholes and summon inter-dimensional demon vultures.
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The Magicians, Lev Grossman
Magic can do a lot of things. It can summon beasts, cast illusions, and make objects vanish. But it can’t cure the malaise of young adulthood, as Grossman’s wizards and witches-in-training discover here.
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Beautiful Creatures, Kami Garcia
Witches get the sexy YA treatment in this novel, which finds a young magic-using girl caught between the dangerous forces of Light and Dark (not to mention young love).
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Babayaga, Toby Barlow
Magic is, by its nature, irrational. It defies the rules of nature. So too does Barlow’s novel, which combines Cold War paranoia, heroin-inflected jazz, and Parisian mystique in its joyfully absurd tale of two witches (beautiful Zoya and elderly Elga) pursuing their eternal revenge against men.
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The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Katherine Howe
For all their publicity, the Salem witch trials didn’t involve any actual magic – just sexism and paranoia. At least that’s how it went in our world. When Howe’s protagonist starts investigating Salem’s past thanks to an enigmatic book, she finds more darkness and magic there than she imagined.
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All Souls trilogy, Deborah Harkness
Harkness is well-schooled in history and academia, and her witch trilogy (consisting of A Discovery of Witches, The Shadow of Night, and The Book of Life) is similarly rooted in historical notions of alchemy and the occult. The second book in the series even finds the protagonist and her vampiric boyfriend travel back to Elizabethan England.
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Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman
Sometimes it seems like magic is more trouble than it’s worth. The family of witches at the center of Hoffman’s novel has been blamed for everything bad in their Massachusetts town for generations; no wonder Gillian and Sally are so eager to escape. But there’s no escaping the power and pull of such magic.