Mythology Books for Your Collection

Jun/17/2022 / by Melanie Fourie
Mythology Books
Mythical creatures like dragons, heroic princes, and medieval castles are popular mythology book elements.
Image credits: Pixabay

If you like delving in a world of imagination that astounds you, then mythology books are for you. Mythical books are derived from various theories, including the rational myth theory.  So what exactly is mythology? Well, mythology is basically a collation of myths related to a certain culture or tradition. For some, mythology is synonymous with the mystery surrounding people from ancient civilizations like the Egyptians. For others, it revolves around Greek myths and the ancient Greeks.  If you’ve been thinking about borrowing or buying some books on this genre, you may be a bit baffled on just which one to get. No worries though, as you can get a good idea on what some of the best mythology books are, with this list. 

Mythology Books for Adults

Mythos 

Written by Stephen Fry, this story essentially retells the myths of Ancient Greece in a compelling way. The author’s work is always engaging, and provides a good assortment for those who are looking for a modern work on mythology that does not feel like erudite slog. It comprises both laughs, as well as some tragic parts. 

 The Last Olympian 

Written by Rick Riordan, it a book on how the half-bloods have been prepping for a war with the Titans. They know that there’s a huge chance they may lose, as the Titans have grown more powerful than ever before. This book forms part of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Apparently, there has been a prophecy that is supposed to unfold on Percy’s 16th birthday. If your local bookstore is out of stock of this one, you may purchase it on Amazon. 

The Mark of Anthena

Another book penned by Rick Riordan, this is the story of Annabeth who is about to reconcile with Percy, after been estranged for almost half a year. The book portrays Camp Jupiter getting ready for a war. Annabeth embarks on a journey to get to Percy, by traveling with her friends on the ArgoII. The demigods from Rome mistake the ship for a Greek weapon. That being said, Annabeth is also carrying something her mom gave her with the message that she needed to pursue the mark of Athena and seek vengeance. This book will enthrall you if you love dangerous sacrifices for the sake of love. 

The Age of Fable

This too is one of the best mythology books, and it’s written by Thomas Bulfinch. This book is the initial one is a compilation of three. It’s an in depth account of Roman and Greek legends. These legends include Ulysses and the return of this character. It also zooms on the infamous story of the Trojan War. 

Metamorphoses

This a read by Ovid. It’s essentially a zooming in of Westernized culture. The aim here is to interlink the Greek myths prior to and post Homer. The books strives to weave all these stories together as a whole. If you like the works of translator Horace Gregory, this read’s for you.  A good gift to give to someone for the holidays, or for a birthday! 

The Aeneid

This is a work by Virgil, with the translation by Robert Fitzgerald. It’s an intriguing story of Aeneas, who is basically a Trojan hero. He leaves his city after it has been destroyed. His son and father leaves with to embark on a new journey to discover Rome. On his journey there, he encounters many difficulties and experiences. He has to sojourn the treacherous Mediterranean Sea, battle with dangerous Cyclopes and travel through the underworld. To add a bit of sweetness to this tale, he falls in love with a queen too. 

The Alchemyst

This is penned by Michael Scott. It dates are far back as the 14th Century. It focuses on the life of Nicholas Flamel, a Parisian. He is deemed as one the greatest alchemists of his time, and his written a much coveted book. The book is stolen by someone with bad intentions. It takes the teaming up of Josh and Sophie Newman to fulfil prophesy of saving the world. 

The Sword of Summer 

Written by Rick Riordan, this book features the main character, Magnus Chase. He has been on the run and seeking asylum in the Boston’s streets for the past two years. He later discovers that a family member has been looking for him. This man is his uncle, someone Magnus’s mother has always given him fair warning about. His uncle tells him about his Norse birthright and how it was first used as a weapon. Apparently the weapon had been lost for a long time. Prepare to hear stories relating to mythical phenomena like talk about Asgard in this book. In fact, when you here of Asgard, you’ll probably expect characters like Loki or Thor to jump out from most of its pages. 

The Mists of Avalon 

An engaging tale told by Marion Zimmer Bradley, this book is for the discerning King Arthur story lover. His story is portrayed through the lens of the women who were all powerful behind the scenes or royal throne. Brace yourself to be enthralled by the strength of women in this literary work. 

The Sagas of Icelanders

This book was written by Jane Smiley. It’s base in Iceland. Before reading this, you also need to know that the age of the Vikings is called the Saga Age. The events ensue at the turn of the millennium. It takes a long hard look at the way the Norse people lived when they first came to Iceland. It also goes on to feature these people’s descendants who apparently trekked to North American, as well as Greenland. 

Cleopatra’s Daughter 

Another one of the best mythology books, this was penned by Michelle Moran. It’s set during the reign of the Roman Empire when her mother, Cleopatra and her Roman lover became her parents. Her name is Selene, and she is taken captive after her folks pass on. She has been forced to go to Rome as a prisoner. She has a twin brother who is forced to go to Rome too. The two children have to adapt very quickly to the way the Romans do things. Caesar’s family are also watching these two constantly. Selene works hard at her art, but starts noticing the heir to the Roman Empire’s throne not long after that. An enthralling read for when you are looking to unwind! 

Jason and the Golden Fleece

This is another one of Goodread’s list on best mythology books. The story is told by Apollonius of Rhodes. It has a translator too, namely Richard Hunter. The tale is full of drama and describes the journey Jason has to take to find the Golden Fleece. The tale also focuses on Jason’s dicey relationship with a royal woman. If you love an all-rounder, note that this story is one, as it portrays elements of deception, how to be a hero, as well as love story all tucked away in there. 

The Heroes

This story is penned by Charles Kingsley. It’s essentially an anthology of three different tales. It tells the stories of Theseus, Perseus, and Argonauts. If you’re looking for a way to entertain the kids, this one is for you, as this author has a knack for motivating the younger crowd to be noble. 

Tales of Ancient Egypt

Written by Roger Lancelyn Green, this book features tales about some of the Egyptian myths like the story surrounding Isis. If you’ve always wanted to learn more about this ancient civilization, grab you a copy soonest. 

Dream Warrior

This mythical book was penned by Sherrilyn Kenyon. The story unfolds around Cratus, who was forced to go into exile. On his journey, he meets Delphine, who changes his life. This story is essentially from the mythology-romance genre. So when you feel like watching another Rom Com on Netflix again, make a beeline to nearest bookstore for a dose of mythical romance instead. 

The Women of Troy 

Written by Pat Parker, Women of Troy highlights the story of the fall of Troy when Greece won the war. When the Greeks got ready to leave, they were kept in limbo, women from that city who communicated with them. Some of the women of Troy were Amina, Helen of Troy, and Cassandra. Amina never forget about the murder of her king, and no matter what, she sought to avenge him. Helen was basically fought over, while Cassandra was a prophetess. The story also speaks about Achilles’ woman, Briseis, who was pregnant with his child when he was killed. 

Complete World of Greek Mythology 

This was written by Richard Buxton. It takes a peek at the historical and geographical contexts in which the myths are told. Instead of delving in to an actual myth, it explains to readers, the religion of the day that the culture was linked affiliated with. This book has to be one of the most visually rich mythology books, as it comes with more than 300 images, and some of them are also in color. You’ll find images on artifacts, images portraying Greek legends, as well as geographical gems like landscape images. 

Celtic Myths and Legends

Written by Peter Ellis, the book highlights Celtic mythology. The myths described here spans over Celtic cultures such as the Irish, Breton’s Welsh, and Scottish. Ellis tells the story in an engaging way by retelling the myths. With this read, expect to encounter kings like King Arthur and otherworldly creatures. 

The Viking Spirit

This is a book by Daniel McCoy. It’s basically a book on Norse religion and mythology. The book encapsulate the stories surrounding 34 myths. It also inspects the Viking religion. If you’ve always been fascinated about the Norse, now’s your opportunity to learn even more. Learn about the Viking way of life and practices. 

1001 Arabian Nights

This book by Richard Burton, or at least the story is pretty well known. It tells the story of the cruel King Shahriyar. Apparently, his wife was not faithful, and started cheating on him. He then kills her, and makes it his mission to bed as many virgins as possible, before executing them. When the place has no more virgins, the vizier’s daughter sacrifices herself in marriage to the king. For fear of him killing her, she is adamant to distract him from his mean nature. She then goes on to become his storyteller, and unfold tales like Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, as well as Sinbad. The title of this book is a reminder of the number of stories she tells him so he can live. 

The Winter Sister

This book was penned by Megan Collins. It showcases the life of the Greek Persephone. The plot thickens as Persphone is kidnapped by Pluto. The backdrop of this story takes place in snowy landscapes of England. 

Mythology Books for Kids

Have a look at the following books for your kids, based on myth or fantasy.

The Adventurers Guild 

The series is penned by Nick Eliopulos and Loran Clark. It’s based in a wall city. The area stands under threat by evil creatures. The story is centered on some children who are supposed to become a part of the Adventurers Guild. Those who join here are destined to train hard to act as guardians of the city. This book focuses somewhat on the friendship between two of the boys who are destined to join the Guild. However, the woman in charge of the Guild is a strong character, and the girl who is called to be recruited along with the boys is fail formidable too. 

The Creature of the Pines

This book written by Adam Gidwitz reveals the adventures surrounding the Unicorn Rescue Society. As the name suggests the society has a firm resolution to keep all mythical creatures out of harm’s way. The book displays a lot of inspiration for children. For instance, it teaches them to be brave and the importance of friendship. It’s also packed with humor. Many kids love unicorns, so perhaps this is a great read to get for the holidays. 

The Dragon Egg Princess

Penned by E.D. Baker, the story is about a little girl called Millie. She is a princess that keeps transitioning into a dragon. She has some strange and mythical friends and a cousin, and they embark on a journey to the Frozen North. This motley crew face several challenges together, including some dangerous bears. The group also saves some other dragons while on their adventure. 

Here in the Real World

This book by is written by Sara Pennypacker. Ware is a youngster who loves spending his days in his own very vivid imagination, conjuring up Middle Age characters and being on his own. This isolation is disturbed when his parents send him to a Rec cap, where he is forced to socialize with others. He makes the acquaintance of a called name Jolene, who has apparently planed a garden at a vacant nearby church. Ware follows suit and starts building his own little kingdom on the church grounds too. These two find solace in these grounds, but have to put their heads together to save the space, when it is suddenly threatened. A good read for children with vivid imaginations, as they can somehow related to what the protagonist. It also provides children with a moral. This is that though children are different from each other,  if they believe in something and put their differences aside, they can accomplish a lot. If you have a bookworm or two at home, this is a great book to add to the kiddy’s must-read list for the holidays. You don’t have to get this for the holidays only though, as it’s a good read for any other time too.  

Mythology Books
Mythology books are a form of escapism, and can help the reader unwind.
Image credits: Pixabay

FAQ

What are the 4 types of myths? 

Myths are divided into four theories namely psychological myth theory, rational myth theory, structural myth theory, and functional myth theory. Based on those theories, you get psychology myths, etiological myths, and historical myths. While the first and last types are self-explanatory, you may not know what etiological myth entails. Simply put, it’s just myths that explain causes of certain aspects, as well as where certain marvels originate from.