Before such epic stories like Harry Potter, or the works of Charles Dickens, or before even Shakespeare put his quill to parchment, there were the stories of the gods. In fact, works like Harry Potter, or Shakespeare, wouldn’t exist without these myths. Myths existed to explain how many things in the world came to be. It’s a custom throughout cultures all over.
In many cultures, there were mythological gods. And they weren’t always very nice. Take the Greek and Roman mythology gods. (Yes, the Romans co-opted several Greek gods, but not all of them.) Their gods were often vengeful, jealous deities, behaving like vicious, petulant little children. They were forever spying on humans, and tricking them, all for their own amusement. Still, their stories are wildly fascinating, and the source of thousands of works throughout the years. You could say they inspired fanfiction.
How many mythology stories are you familiar with? I bet Juno more than you realize. Whether you’re interested in learning about different mythologies or looking to brush up on them, Hera several books about mythology, plus some fabulous cards, to get you started.
Probably the most famous of all mythology books, Edith Hamilton's Mythology introduces readers to the Greek, Roman and Norse myths that are the keystone of Western culture, and the stories of gods and heroes that have inspired human creativity throughout history. Hachette Book Group has been publishing Hamilton's classic since its release in 1942. It has sold millions of copies worldwide in the seven decades since it was introduced to the world. This is a beautifully illustrated special anniversary edition that makes a great gift for fans of mythology or readers looking to learn more about the stories.
Madeline Miller's instant-classic novel tells the story of an overlooked minor character from The Odyssey: Circe. A daughter of Helios, god of the sun, Circe is banished to an island by Zeus because she possesses the ability to perform witchcraft. It is there on the island that Circe has encounters with many famous characters from mythology, including the Minotaur, Icarus, Medea, and Odysseus.
Twenty gorgeously illustrated blank notecards, featuring notecards packaged in a magnetic-closure box, featuring portraits and scenes of the gods, goddesses, heroes, and heroines of Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology. The art comes from illustrated plates from the 75th-anniversary edition of Mythology by Edith Hamilton.
A beautifully illustrated beginner's book for children, to introduce them to the original North Germanic and Scandinavian folklore behind characters like Thor and Loki, plus other gods, goddesses, giants, dwarves, and more.
Children can explore the myths of Narcissus, Odysseus versus the Cyclopes, and more, with this beginner's look at Greek mythology, which also includes a Gods and Goddesses family tree poster and stickers!
Bulfinch's Mythology - All Three Volumes - the Age of Fable, the Age of Chivalry, and Legends of Charlemagne
Another classic of mythology, this one from the 19th century. It collects Bulfinch's works The Age of Fable, or Stories of Gods and Heroes, The Age of Chivalry, or Legends of King Arthur, and Legends of Charlemagne, or Romance of the Middle Ages.
Neil Matt Hamilton
A recent addition to the world of wonderful books about mythology. This one explores Norse mythology, with such familiar characters as Odin, Thor, and Loki. It's written by Gaiman, the bestselling, award-winning author of such myth-inspired books as American Gods and Sandman.
And last, but not least, a look at eighty of the world's greatest myths and characters, from the gods of Greek mythology to the Norse heroes, retold and explained with DK's signature graphic-filled pages.
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Liberty Hardy is a Book Riot senior contributing editor, co-host of All the Books, a Book of the Month judge, and above all else, a ravenous reader. She resides in Maine with her cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon. You can see pictures of her cats and book hauls on Twitter @MissLiberty and Instagram @franzencomesalive.