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A Christian Witch's Year of Books | 2023 Reads, 2024 Goals, and Plenty of Thoughts

It's good to end the year looking back at all this material, y'know?


Christian Witch, Witchcraft, Mysticism, Magic, Crystals, Bible, Incense, Folklore, Sara Raztresen, God, Spirituality, Tarot, Occult, Evangelical, Demons, Sin, Danger, Possession, Idolatry, Discernment, Church, Solomonic Magic, Occult, Left Hand Path, Demonolatry, Demonology, Corinthians, Paul

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With the year wrapping up, I figured it'd be as good a time as ever to talk about some of the books I've read this year. I'm currently holding onto a few unfinished books (including Help for the Haunted by John Searles), but overall, according to Goodreads, I read 14 books, for a total of 3,997 pages, falling short of my 15 book goal by just one.


I do feel this is a bit unfair though, considering that I also read so much material for Discovering Christian Witchcraft that weren't books or were only sections and pieces of books necessary for certain points and ideas. The life of an academic means actually trying to read every single book you reference cover to cover is impossible—but going through it and getting the gist, honing in on the necessary pieces you need for your point, is really 90% of the battle, so.


Anyway, the 14 books I did read according to Goodreads are:


Nonfiction:

  1. Christians as the Romans Saw Them by Robert Louis Wilken

  2. Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman

  3. Jesus and John Wayne by Kristin Kobes du Mez

  4. Magic in Christianity from Jesus to the Gnostics by Robert Conner

  5. God is a Black Woman by Christena Cleveland

  6. Mary Magdalene Revealed by Meggan Watterson

  7. The Crucified God by Jurgen Moltmann

  8. Anathema Maranatha by Martin Duffy

  9. City Witchery by Lisa Marie Basile

  10. What Paul Really Said About Women by John T. Bristow


Fiction:

  1. A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

  2. Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

  3. Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

  4. Armistice (Amberlough book 2) by Lara Elena Donnelly


As you can see, there's a lot up here by way of nonfiction because of my Discovering Christian Witchcraft project. I do hope to read more fiction in 2024, as I'll be returning to the fantasy/horror grind and cannot wait. As much as I love academia, my real passion in writing has always been storytelling and inventing new worlds and characters. But let me tell you which of these books I enjoyed the most.

Sara's Top Three Books of 2023


1. What Paul Really Said About Women


This book was wild. It was short, quick, and yet every page was a punch in the mouth, I'll tell you. Concise, insightful, and considerate, I recommend this to anyone trying to figure out what the hell Paul was really on about when it came to all the things he wrote that people use to keep women down in the modern era.


2. God is a Black Woman


This book was one I read for my chaplaincy program with the Order of St. Hildegard. This program managed to get me so many good resources as I needed them while writing Discovering Christian Witchcraft, and for that, I am so grateful, because this book held a key piece for understanding the true nature of the thing masquerading as God and causing ugliness and cruelty to fester in people. Cleveland's half-memoir, half-theology/philosophy approach makes this an achingly human book that exemplifies the concept of liberation theology.

3. Iron Widow


I just adored the worldbuilding of this book. The concept of a patriarchal system that operates in essentially giant metal mechs is incredible, and I very much appreciated all the aspects of Chinese culture and history sprinkled throughout. The polyamory was also appreciated, especially when it comes to a story I want to write in the future that's been in my back pocket for a long time. While there were some critiques I had of it, such as the heavy-handedness of the moral drive, I found it overall  enjoyable and finished it in two days.

Had I read more fiction, I could make a more balanced list, but for now, this is what I know. I had a good year of reading this year, which makes it a much more successful year in my eyes than last year, in which I read a very measly seven books. I don't know how people are essentially reading like, 50 books a year, because for me, even 14 was a struggle (but it averaged out to one book a month, so hey!).


Next year's goal is going to be a bit bigger: 20 books, half fiction and half nonfiction (as we gotta have a good blend of both, and God knows I've got plenty good titles added to the shelf as of this December.) I think I can do it, but I'll have to make the choice to write vs. play video games or do other things like that. It's weird, booking hobbies into my schedule like this. Makes them feel... less hobby-ish.


I'm also looking to start a new series: Booktok Reviews, where I put my MFA to work and analyze the Booktok favorites from a professional and craft perspective. That'll be interesting.


Tell me: what did you read this year? What are your reading goals for next year? Would love to hear from you! ♥

 

Christian Witch, Witchcraft, Mysticism, Magic, Crystals, Bible, Incense, Folklore, Sara Raztresen, God, Spirituality, Tarot, Occult, Evangelical, Demons, Sin, Danger, Possession, Idolatry

Sara Raztresen is a Slovene-American writer, screenwriter, and Christian witch. Her fantasy works draw heavily on the wisdom she gathers from her own personal and spiritual experience, and her s


piritual practice borrows much of the whimsy and wonder that modern society has relegated to fairy-and-folktale. Her goal is to help people regain their spiritual footing and discover


God through a new (yet old) lens of mysticism.



Follow Sara on Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube, and explore her fiction writing here.


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2 Comments


I read both your books (and looking forward to your new release), Project 365, Angel's and Archangels, and currently reading the God of Old. I absolutely LOVED The Glass Witch! I didn't get into reading really until I started my own research before about 2 years ago, and usually the only thing I read is nonfiction books, but the Glass Witch was absolutely amazing! It definitely kept my attention and I didn't at all wanna put it down. I'm currently building a list of new books to get to read as we enter 2024 and with all the motivation I have I definitely plan to accomplish this list by the end of the new year!

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Jean Chaney
Jean Chaney
Dec 30, 2023

My most interesting book that I read this year was “Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype” by Clarissa Pinkola Estés.. She uses myths, legends and fairytales for reconnection with the fierceness within.

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