What would you like to read for Witch Week?


Today I’m cheating a bit by focusing my monthly discussion on an upcoming event here at ECBR: Witch Week. From October 31 to November 5, we’ll be celebrating our favorite fantasy books and authors. Last year we focused on the wonderful world of Diana Wynne Jones, and it was a terrific week! This year the theme is “New Tales from Old,” and I want to know what you think about this genre — fiction derived from fairy tales, folklore or myth, or other old stories (actual witches need not be involved). Is it one of your favorites, or does the appeal of such tales escape you? What are your favorite titles, past and present? Is there anything you’ve been meaning to read for ages, or a recent release that’s caught your eye?

The week will conclude with a readalong and I’m looking for some suggestions for what we should read together. I’d also love to hear about any ideas you have for your own posts: lists, cross-genre reflections, thoughts about a favorite story, single-book reviews… the possibilities are endless. Let me know what you’re up to, and I’ll be sure to feature you in my own posts about the week.

Here are some of the possibilities I’ve already thought about:

  • The Homeward Bounders by Diana Wynne Jones (guest appearances by Prometheus, the Flying Dutchman, and the Wandering Jew)
  • Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis (based on the myth of Cupid and Psyche)
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Adhieh (Thousand and One Nights retelling)
  • Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff (Arthurian historical fiction)
  • The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter (dark, feminist fairy tale retellings)

Besides the readalong, the week will start off on Halloween with a post from me on the campus landmarks of “Blackstock College” from Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin (IRL Carleton College, my alma mater). There will also be an author interview, a giveaway, a Top Ten list, guest posts, and more — with opportunities for participants to link up their own posts as well. I do hope you will join us, and please help spread the word. #WitchWeekECBR is the tag to use on Twitter.

What “new tales from old” are you itching to read, either on your own or as a readalong? Do you have any plans for posts on your own blog? How else would you like to participate in Witch Week?

Shared in the Book Blogger Discussion Challenge hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts at Midnight.

23 thoughts on “What would you like to read for Witch Week?

    1. Books read for the week do not need to involve witches! “Witch Week” refers to the magical time between Halloween and Guy Fawkes Day (November 5). The name comes from the book of that name by Diana Wynne Jones, but I’m using it more broadly. I’ve edited the post to try to make the focus more clear…thanks for making me aware of the confusion.


  1. The first that came to mind was Tam Lin, but we did already have a readalong of that, did we not? I will look forward to your post about it, because I’m always trying to fit that story into MY college, which of course doesn’t work at all. I hope there will be pictures!

    I love the Homeward Bounders of course, and anything by Rosemary Sutcliff. Looking at my own shelves, I see that I fell out of the retellings world sometime in the 90s; I have Jane Yolen’s Briar Rose (excellent), Kara Dalkey’s Nightingale, Lynne Reid Banks’ Melusine, and I thought I had Kushner’s Thomas the Rhymer. Also Robin McKinley’s earlier works like Beauty and The Door in the Hedge. (I didn’t really like Deerskin.) I am clearly useless for anything written after 2000!

    But I will be excited to read whatever we pick! I’ll put up a post soon. 🙂


    1. I suppose we could do Tam Lin as a readalong in addition to the tour post, why not? I can add it to the poll choices to see if there is interest anyway. And of course there will be pictures, lots of them I hope. (I need to contact the college to see if I can get some good ones.)

      Briar Rose is an excellent suggestion and I adore the early Robin McKinley. I haven’t read The Nightingale or Melusine or Thomas the Rhymer but they sound intriguing. Thanks for all the great ideas!


  2. Oo, I love the theme of the week, that sounds amazing! I want to cheatily suggest Salman Rushdie’s new book, since I suspect it draws some elements from 1001 Nights (just based on the title), and since I am already planning to read it. :p But any of the readalong possibilities you’ve suggested look great. I have been wanting to read Till We Have Faces for a while!


    1. Another good idea. I think I’m going to make out a suggested reading list in addition to the readalong poll. And I’m cheatily hoping that Till We Have Faces is the readalong pick. I’ve been dying to get a bunch of other people to read that with me for a while.


  3. This sounds like such an interesting reading event.

    These types of stories, derived from older myths actually go back a long time and are often well worth reading.

    I am glad that you put the announcement now. I will try to join in.


  4. This sounds great – it should be a fun week! This isn’t a genre I read very often but I will definitely try to join in if I can. I’ll have to see which books I have on my shelves that will fit the theme. I know I have a copy of The Last Enchantment by Mary Stewart so maybe I could read that one.


  5. Ooh I hope Til We Have Faces is picked too – it’s been on my list to read for awhile too. I love the idea of this event – I hope I can properly participate in it next year. But the readalong will be fun, since it’s been awhile since I’ve been a part of a group read. I was looking at my To Read shelf and couldn’t find a book to suggest that I thought would really fit this, so I’ll just hope that Til We Have Faces will make it! 🙂


  6. I love fairy tale retellings. This year I read The Storyteller and Her Sisters by Cheryl Mahoney. A retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses my favourite childhood fairy tale. I would love to take part in this week. but I’m not sure I have any retellings at the moment. I will need to investigate.


    1. Cheryl was one of the guest bloggers last year! It was interesting to have her perspective on The Spellcoats by Diana Wynne Jones. I hope the advance notice gives everyone a chance to find something they’d like to read.


  7. I’m not yet sure whether I can squeeze in Witch Week, but if I can, I think I might reread The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope, which is probably my favorite Tam Lin retelling. Or perhaps I’ll start in on Juliet Marillier’s Blackthorn & Grim series, since I have the second one as an ARC and it’s coming out that week.


  8. I’m very happy to re-read The Homeward Bounders, though less keen about Sword at Sunset (quite apart from anything it’s quite long, if I remember right). I’ve also got The Bloody Chamber but that’s a short story collection, isn’t it, and I’m wondering if one would have to be selective about which one(s) to read.

    The Lewis and the Adhieh are less familiar to me (though I have heard of the Lewis). Some of the other suggestions look tasty too. But this is all academic — I have a reading challenge to get on with, apart from anything else, and who knows what will turn up — so don’t pay any attention to me!


    1. You MUST read Till We Have Faces, whether now or some other time. Put it into one of your challenges! I wanted to put a new release on the list and The Wrath and the Dawn was one that caught my eye…there could be many other options of course. Thanks for thinking about reading along in any case.


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