September Book Wrap Up: Challenging Reads, Diverse Reads…and Magic??

This month was a fun month of reading. Lots of audiobooks, lots of fantastical journeys, and also a nose dive into some practical magic.

Next month I’m reading all witchy books (after finishing Midnight Sun). Please send me any recs—especially if they’re written by POC and/or LGBTQIA+ inclusive. I have way too many white author witchy books on my shelves.

‘So You Want to Talk About Race’ by Ijeoma Oluo

5/5 Stars

I listened to the audiobook for this one, and I’m glad I did. It was FANTASTIC. I definitely think that everyone—students, parents, people in general—should read this book. Though difficult to face for sure, it helped me begin to access some biases that I didn’t even know existed. And it’s pretty short—so check it out ASAP!

‘The Rules of Magic’ by Alice Hoffman

4/5 Stars

The Rules of Magic book in front of painted wall.

I love, love love, Practical Magic for its quirkiness and sisterly love. This book was a little more depressing than that one, but still amazing. For those unfamiliar: the book takes place from the childhood to the adulthood of three siblings who have magical powers. They face love, heartache, death, and so much more.

I love Hoffman’s grounded magic system and realistic and yet fantastical witchy family. I also just saw that a new prequel—Magic Lessons—is out this month. I’ll be reading that for sure!

‘The Black Tides of Heaven’ by Neon (JY) Yang

4/5 Stars

The Black Tides of Heaven book in front of painted wall.

This book. Wow. If you’re looking for original magic systems and world building, LGBTQIA+ content with a POC author—this is it. Of all the worlds I’ve read this year, I would love to visit this one, even though they are on the cusp of war and rebellion… Also the cover is stunning. I will be checking out Neon’s other books in the near future.

My only complaint about the book was that it felt too short. I think a lot of the themes and the storyline could have benefited from being flushed out. But it also kind of felt like listening to a campfire story, which was nice.

‘The Nickel Boys’ by Colton Whitehead

4/5 Stars

Another audiobook listen this month. And another short read. If you don’t know this book, it’s about a young black man named Elwood who is on the path to a great future, but a mishap lands him in the notorious Dozier School—a real place. This book was a flurry of emotions—mostly sadness and frustration. The ending was great as well.

‘The Subtle Knife’ by Philip Pullman

4/5 Stars

I started reading the His Dark Materials series last year on audiobook. I loved the voice actors they used, and the second book was no different. I’m currently listening to the third book (also good so far). They definitely have gotten more abstract than the first, which I would consider a classic. If you haven’t read this series, and don’t mind a religious (anti-religious) undertone, this world is very, very cool. And has talking polar bears and other animals!

‘City Magick’ by Christopher Penczak

3/5 Stars

This book on how to find and do magic while living in the city was both helpful and a little disappointing. I appreciated that the author went through every aspect of living in the city and how you have to adjust to the city’s offerings. But I also felt like I didn’t gain much from this book. For the record, this was one of the first books on magic I’ve read. And I’m very curious. So if you have any recs, please let me know!

‘Black Leopard, Red Wolf’ by Marlon James

5/5 Stars

Black Leopard, Red Wolf book in front of a painted wall

This books was probably the most challenging of the bunch for this month. It was like reading someone else’s dream, with all the fantastical and metaphorical imagery that you could imagine (and then some). At the end of the day, I truly did love this book about a warrior who could track people by smell and who fights all kinds of mysterious creatures. It was original and beautifully written. TW// Just be wary—if you’re sensitive to violence or sexual violence, this might not be the book for you.

For a full summary on why I didn’t give this book up, check out my blog: “ON NOT GIVING UP BOOKS: MY EXPERIENCE WITH ‘BLACK LEOPARD, RED WOLF’

‘Earth Power’ by Scott Cunningham

5/5 Stars

Unlike City Magick, I felt like this book was a really great place for people unfamiliar with herbalist treatments, folk magic, and the like. Cunningham thoroughly covered all elements with ample examples in each area. I took tons of notes. I know the dude’s a white cis guy, but I had to start somewhere. And he has a butt load of books at my library.

If you have any book recommendations based off these reads or my past book wrap ups, leave a comment below!

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