Positive Magic: Nonfiction About Witches and Witchcraft

We previously discussed fiction titles featuring witches, including popular titles such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling and Hocus Pocus, the movie and the ebook/e-audiobook (on Overdrive or hoopla); as well as some lesser known titles which include Hannah Abigail Clarke’s novel The Scapegracers or Hallmark Channel’s romance movie The Good Witch.

If you want to learn facts about witchcraft, check out the following nonfiction books. Discover the different traditions and practices of witchcraft, spells you can cast, crystals to help enhance your spiritual energies, and more!

The Witches’ Almanac is a yearly publication founded in 1971 by Elizabeth Pepper, modeled after the Farmers’ Almanac. This publication features not only time-specific information such as the annual Moon Calendar (weather forecasts and horoscopes), but also legends, rituals, herbal secrets, mystic incantations, interviews, and stories that are relevant and interesting even after the dates for the issue have passed. If you want to know this year’s moon calendar, check out the Spring 2020 – Spring 2021 issue

How do you know if you’re a witch? What are the different practices of witchcraft? The Weiser Field Guide to Witches: From Hexes to Hermione Granger, from Salem to the Land of Oz by Judika Illes answers these and more questions you may have about the subject, and the book introduces witches from fiction and real life. Gabriela Herstik’s Inner Witch: a Modern Guide to the Ancient Craft is a handy introduction to various aspects of witchcraft, including understanding the meaning of the different tarot cards, learning the different chakras, creating your own grimoire and altar, using herbs and crystals for divination, and more. 

Below are some other nonfiction titles you can check out to learn more about these subjects. The print books can be reserved now for Curbside Pickup after staff return to the building on November 2nd.

also on hoopla in e-audiobook format

Something Witchy This Way Comes: Fictional Books and Movies About Witches

Witches are portrayed in books and movies in many different ways, and have been showing up in literature for a long, long time. Take Circe from The Odyssey or Morgan Le Fay in the legends of King Arthur. Now, real witches may not have actually been portrayed in The Crucible by Arthur Miller (whose birthday happens to be today!), but you can see the relationship between witchcraft and society during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. If you’re interested in reading or listening to the play, you can check it out in the following formats: print, book on CD, Overdrive ebook and e-audiobook, and hoopla e-audiobook, and the movie adaptation

For other fictional portrayals of witches and witchcraft for teens and adults, check out the titles below! Print copies can be reserved on your online account for Curbside Pickup (read the full instructions here). Currently there is no check out fee for DVDs, so now is a good time to reserve them! For electronic versions of titles, all you need is your library card to access them on Overdrive/the Libby app or hoopla.

Fans of the beloved Bewitched series, starring Elizabeth Montgomery as witch and housewife Samantha Stevens, will enjoy the film adaptation (which currently has no check out fee!) with Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell. For more magical romances, try one of hoopla’s October Movies of the Month, You Cast a Spell On Me, about a warlock who is having problems with his powers after meeting a mortal with whom he has an instant connection; or Hallmark channel’s The Good Witch, about Cassie Nightingale, a mysterious new resident of Middleton who seems to have the magic touch with helping the people in the small town.

also on hoopla

In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, you’ll find out how the character from the popular TV show found out about being a witch, much like how Harry Potter discovers he’s a wizard in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Local residents will appreciate the Salem setting in the movie Hocus Pocus, which even has some scenes shot in Marblehead! Read Hocus Pocus and The All-New Sequel in ebook format on Overdrive or hoopla, or listen to the e-audiobook on Overdrive. 

Click the item covers below for more portrayals of witches, including more witch stories set in Salem or Massachusetts, fairy tale retellings, and more macabre tales to give you goosebumps!

also on hoopla
book or movie

Check out These Books From the 2020 Salem Lit Festival!

It’s one thing to read a good book. It’s another to hear an author talk about it, especially from the comfort of their own home. If you attended this past weekend’s virtual Salem Lit Fest and want to read the books you heard about, never fear! Abbot Public Library has many of the books by the authors who presented programs, and many of the ones we don’t have can be reserved from other libraries. See what authors and moderators participated in the festival, and if you missed any of the programs, many of them have been posted on Salem Lit Fest’s Facebook page.

As we move closer towards Halloween, and especially being a neighbor to Witch City, this may be a good time to start reading stories of witches and vampires. Rose Mortiz deals with family secrets and learning to understand her new powers in Zoraida Córdova’s Wayward Witch. More family secrets are revealed in The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson. Immanuelle Moore’s family is disgraced by her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race, and so she does her best to behave in her puritanical society until she finds herself in the forbidden Darkwood, where four powerful witches were once chased and killed by the first prophet. Estranged family members can also be found in The Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman. In order to save Four Paths, May Hawthorne is stepping up when no one else seems to be, seeking help from her despised father. This Coven Won’t Break by Isabel Sterling steps away from familial problems. Hannah and her girlfriend instead must face the Hunters who are hunting them down to steal their magic. If you prefer fangs to broomsticks, Vampires Never Get Old (previously mentioned in Our Favorite YA Vampire Stories) is a collection of vampire stories which includes one by Zoraida Córdova. 

Not long after Halloween is election day! In The Voting Booth by Brandy Colbert, when Marva Sheridan is voting for the first time, she sees someone denied his right to vote and does everything she can to help. The whole book takes place in a single day! Natalia Sylvester gets even closer to the candidates than the voting booth in Running. Mariana Ruiz’s father runs for president and she sees the reality of his public life vs. his private life. For more political teen books, take a look at our Read. Think. Vote post. 

This is just a small sampling of all the wonderful authors who spoke last weekend. Below is a list of all the books from this year’s Salem Lit Fest which can be checked out from Abbot Public Library or one of our partner libraries. If you don’t see a book here that was featured in the Salem Lit Fest events, feel free to contact one of our Reference Librarians at mar@noblenet.org or at 781-631-1481 (please only call during Curbside Pickup Service Hours). 

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

 TEEN BOOKS

ADULT BOOKS 

August Arrivals – New Items for All Ages!

Since the Abbot Public Library began offering Curbside Pickup Service a couple months ago, we have continued to expand our collections of physical items, which you can reserve for Curbside Pickup. It’s easy: reserve your items online and, once you receive a notification that they’ve come in, just call the library at 781-631-1481 or register online for an appointment to pick up your items, and we’ll get them ready for you by your appointment time! Please carefully review our instructions here. You can peruse all the new arrivals on our website, but below is a selection from each department.

Children and adults alike will recognize the popular Disney character in the books Mulan: Loyal. Brave. True by Carin Davis and Mulan’s Story, adapted by Judy Katschke. These are two different versions of the same story from the Disney movie, which you can check out with no charge right now! Sonic the Hedgehog makes a strong appearance in the new children’s graphic novels. Sonic, with the help of his friends, fight off robots and search for Mr. Eggman. You can also reserve the new Sonic the Hedgehog movie for Curbside Pickup at no charge!

New to the Teen collections, Big Ideas for Curious Minds will explore some of the great philosophical ideas with great thinkers. Find out what’s normal or not with Albert Camus, learn how to know yourself with Socrates, and discover the meaning of life with Aristotle. Harness and develop your philosophical instinct with the help of this book! As we move closer to Halloween, read about The Science of Monsters : the Truth about Zombies, Witches, Werewolves, Vampires, and Other Legendary Creatures. Find out the truth behind the science in popular horror movies, such as the zombies decomposing In Night of the Living Dead or the night terrors that inspired the creation of Freddy Krueger.

Some of the new adult books may look familiar from past posts, for instance The Pull of the Stars, a highly reviewed novel by Emma Donoghue, which we mentioned here. We shared a whole list of books here, which included Brad Thor’s Near Dark, Susan Wigg’s The Lost and Found Bookshop, and Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan (which was also mentioned in the first of our two new audiobooks posts).

If books aren’t your cup of tea, try our new DVDs, which include Bad Boys for Life and the musical Cats. Currently there is no charge for DVDs, so reserve them now for Curbside Pickup!