Over the years I have read and critiqued the books of a variety of authors. The following is a list of authors that I personally do not recommend as good sources on Wicca or Paganism in general.
Kisma Stepanich - her books were found to be plagarized from another author and the publisher was forced to pull them from bookstores. But you'll still find copies out there. http://www.geocities.com/ferigold/truthfaery/index.html
Silver Ravenwolf: Encourages kids to lie to their parents about what they are doing, teaches curses and hexes, has a pretty strong anti-Christian bias. But for a good summary of the problems with her, take a look at this essay. http://wicca.timerift.net/ravenwolf.html
Fiona Horne - Got into this for the publicity. She admits that she isn't even a Pagan. Again, here's an essay on this author. http://wicca.timerift.net/horne.html And a review of her books is at http://community.livejournal.com/w_t_r/604.html
Raven Grimassi – In my opinion Raven’s work has serious flaws in terms of historical accuracy. He tends to take certain facts that support his personal opinions regarding Wicca and use those facts to make huge leaps of logic which are not supported by the historical evidence. Any facts which would tend to disprove his theories are conveniently ignored.
Ann Moura - Tried to rewrite history to prove that Wicca is an ancient religion again! And she has a clearly anti-Christian bias in her books that bothers me.
D.J. Conway - Basically all her books are the same with the names changed to protect the guilty. Her books are full of inaccuracies, such as her book on Celtic Magic which discusses Karma and the Celts. Karma is an eastern concept and was not one that the Celts ever used. Her book on "Cat Magic" is nothing more than a rehash of every "how to care for your cat" book on the market with only one slim chapter on anything related to magic.
Edain McCoy - Also a purveyor of the Great Potato Fallacy. She is the inventor of 'Witta' which she tried to claim was the ancient Irish form of Wicca. It isn't. The name she called this tradition by is one that would not have been found in any Celtic language. It is simply Wicca given a made up name. The one book of hers that I thought was worth much at all is "Inside a Wiccan Coven" where she is writing about her own experiences and not about anything that took a bit of scholarship. http://www.cyberwitch.com/wychwood/Library/whenIsACeltNotACelt.htm
Douglas Monroe - Very poor scholarship. His works on Druidry bear little resemblance to the known practices of the historical Druids, and even less to what is known about the Celts in general. http://www.cyberwitch.com/wychwood/Library/whenIsACeltNotACelt.htm
Konstantinos - His books are a flagrant attempt to market to the Goth crowd. There is nothing in them that isn't covered better by other authors.
Gerina Dunwich - Lots and lots of fluff without a whole lot of substance. Many better authors out there to chose from, at least in my opinion.
Gavin and Yvonne Frost - Bad history and bad information. In addition, they recommend what amounts to nothing more than the sexual abuse of children in their books. They have stated that they are simply misunderstood, and they have also said that they won't discuss it because society isn't ready to understand it yet. But anyway you put it, the ritual defloration of young girls in ritual by their fathers is sexual abuse in my book.
I suppose one can learn something from almost any book, but the works of these particular authors require so much unlearning later because of the errors they contain that it is probably better just to spend your money on better books and save the time later to learn it right.
Hope this helps,
I would avoid the works of Laurie Cabot as if they were the Bubonic Plague. I had the misfortune to pick up her "Power of the Witch" a while back.
The first third of the book is a rewrite of history in order to make Witchcraft the oldest of all religions. She then proceeds to invent more history and declare that the people who started humanity on its course towards civilization through invention and innovation were also all Witches. Er, what?
Another big strike against her for stating in the third chapter that nine million Witches were executed during the "Burning Times". The entirety of chapter three is a purely anti-Christian rant that's beefed up by 'facts' that Cabot conveniently neglects to cite.
Maybe we can blame the date of publication for all the mistakes, but then again, why couldn't she, like Starhawk, release newer, annotated editions with updated and accurate information? Gods know that the woman has enough money and clout to do so. She is the "Official Witch" of Salem, Mass.
All of the above is bad enough, but I can overlook that sort of tripe if there are useful 'tidbits' anywhere in a book. The only thing even remotely useful to me was the "Crystal Countdown" method for slipping into a state of mind that is more receptive to ritual and spellwork. The above is covered in the span of about five or six pages, and it isn't worth it to purchase the entirety of the book for the one exercise. Curious about the method? Send me a message and I'll tell you how it works and how to do it, just please don't buy this book! Trust me, your brain will thank you.
For me, the straw that broke my camel's back came in the form of one of her planetary and hourly charts, found in the book's appendix. Apparently, Cabot believes that there are two undiscovered planets in our solar system: the first is closer to the sun than Mercury, and its name is Vulcan, (Trekkies rejoice) while the second is Earth's twin and stays diametrically opposite to Her at all times. Yep. It's on the other side of the Sun at all times. That's why we haven't discovered it. Its name is Sparta.
Hoo boy. I feel like I lost some brain cells by typing that up.