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Recommendations > Greek mythology recommendations

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message 1: by Nikks (last edited Sep 26, 2012 09:22AM) (new)

Nikks | 545 comments I love Greek mythology, does anyone have any good recommendations. I read a lot when I was in my early teens, but none since.

message 2: by Louise (new)

Louise What sorts of books are you looking for? Ancient writing, modern retellings, reference books, or just stoies that incorperate a lot of Greek Mythology?

I mean Homer's the obvious place to start if you want to jump in and go for the ancient stuff. And some of the surviving tragedies are pretty great too if you don't mind reading plays. Modern retellings and collections though I'm not so sure, just picked up Tales of the Greek Heroes myself but I haven't yet had a chance to read it so I can only really say that it's meant to be a pretty good collection to introduce children to some of the legends.

message 3: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (ALB2012) | 268 comments I agree, there are plenty of versions of the Ilias and the Odyssey about. In fact I think I picked up a free one on kindle.

If you like Roman as well they are similar. Modern books hmm not sure.

message 4: by Nikks (last edited Sep 26, 2012 09:34AM) (new)

Nikks | 545 comments Thanks for the replies.
I am looking for good stories based on / of greek mythology. I read some Homer, and have read the actual myths/legends. I must admit I have not read any plays. I love the Greek Gods, but my interest was sparked again by a reference to Icarus in something else I read, and I decided I would like to revisit this genre, perhaps with some embellisments in a new novel ????? I read a lot of contemporary books, so am a bit out of the loop.
Thanks Louise for that recommendation, Tales of the Greek Heroes, I will look for it, its a good place to start.

message 5: by Louise (last edited Sep 26, 2012 10:00AM) (new)

Louise Ok, well if you're looking for stories based on Greek mythology and you don't mind reading children's books I'd definitely recommend the Percy Jackson series.

I finally got round to reading them this year and absolutely loved them. They're not without flaws and they've very definitely written for a young target audience but the update of mythological characters, gods and monsters (and not just the obvious/popular ones)into modern America is really well done.

message 6: by Nikks (new)

Nikks | 545 comments The Dan Simmons books were recommended to me - might give them a try too.

message 7: by Bill (new)

Bill | 2276 comments You might like to try Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality fantasies. They are based on the 7 Supernatural offices, Death, Time, War, Fate, Nature, Evil and Good, plus an 8th story. They are loosely based on the myths, e.g. Time being Chronos, War being Mars, Nature being Gaiea, etc. Quite an interesting series.

message 8: by Nikks (last edited Sep 26, 2012 07:35PM) (new)

Nikks | 545 comments Thank you Bill, it sounds really good and is now on my tbr list :-)

message 9: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (PepeCan) | 5542 comments Mod
Just bought the Orange Prize winner for 2012 The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, a reworking of The Iliad. 99p on UK kindle, but no doubt a lot more in Canada Nikks.

message 10: by Nikks (new)

Nikks | 545 comments Great, thanks Ian. All if those orange prize finalists look good actually. I also have the golden mean on my list.

No chance of a book costing 99p here unfortunately. I do miss the uk charity shops for books, although did purchase from the book depository recently - cheaper to buy from the uk. Books arrived in a week - it was great service.

message 11: by Hales (new)

Hales This is a great thread, I'm really interested in learning more about the Greek gods, and funnily enough took Ian's suggestion above. My interest was peaked when I visited Athens last year, amazing place.

I was intriged by the Percy Jackson series and have it on my t-r list but am a bit worried its too much of a childrens book?

message 12: by Louise (last edited Sep 30, 2012 03:30PM) (new)

Louise Erm, I think that depends on how much tolerence you have for children's books. I definitely thought the first two were a bit 'kiddy' but enjoyed the first a lot and totally loved the second for the use of characters and monsters from the Odyssey and references to Jason and the Argonauts. After that the books do grow up a bit though. They're definitely children's books, but I think they can be enjoyed by adults.

And just remembered a book I read last year and enjoyed:
The Lost Books of the Odyssey. by Zachary Mason by Zachary Mason

I'm not sure how familiar you have to be with the Odyssey to enjoy it. It's basically a postmodern series of 44 short riffs and twists of Greek mythology (mainly the Odyssey but Theseus and the Labyrinth make appearances too) claiming to be translations of recently discovered 'lost books' from the poem. They vary in length and quality (some do seem to be tryng a bit too hard) and it's probably a bit much to read in one go. I'm a bit rubbish at describing it but there's an ancient review up on The Guardian which probably isn't that much more helpfull... might be an aquired taste but I thought it was interesting.

message 13: by Cynan (new)

Cynan Jones (CynanJones) | 19 comments Ok - so they're not Greek, but if you like myths how about the Seren series New Stories from the Mabinogion - re-tellings of the eleven stories from the classic Welsh myth cycle.

Mine, Bird, Blood, Snow recently published.

Bird, Blood, Snow by Cynan Jones

Check out the recent interview with Americymru for more:

message 14: by Louise (new)

Louise oooh, I've been meaning to check those out for ages. Thanks for the reminder to actually put them onto my Goodreads wishlist.

message 15: by James (new)

James Campbell (JamescCamp) | 22 comments Okay, it's not a book, but ...

There's a lecture series on iTunesU called LLT 121: Classical Mythology. The video quality is a bit poor (it's from 1996), but the prof is excellent, funny, and the whole course is extremely informative. I've watched the whole thing twice, it's great. And FREE.

Check it out if you love Greek mythology.

message 16: by Nikks (new)

Nikks | 545 comments Great recommendations - thanks

message 17: by Danielle (last edited Dec 26, 2012 09:59AM) (new)

Danielle (daniellecobbaertbe) | 365 comments Had to think about your question when having a look yesterday at the following website ""

Apparently Mary Renault wrote some books based on Greek mythology. I have read her Alexander triology (about Alexander The Great) many times, but I'm not familiar with her other work. One of her novels however is based on the myth of Theseus: The King Must Die.

message 18: by David (new)

David Cheshire | 2 comments Robert Calasso The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony. Can't say I understood more than 9% of it but got a smattering of how Greek myths helped shape western psychology

message 19: by Nikks (new)

Nikks | 545 comments The Alexander trilogy sounds great & has good reviews, over 4*. Thanks.

As much as I enjoy Greek mythology, if its too much of a slog, unenjoyable or understandable I have to give it a miss - life is just too short :-) thanks for the recommendation though.

message 20: by Liz, Moderator (new)

Liz | 2793 comments Mod
Louise wrote: "What sorts of books are you looking for? Ancient writing, modern retellings, reference books, or just stories that incorperate a lot of Greek Mythology?"

Louise, Nikks, I read Tales of the Greek Heroes: Retold From the Ancient Authors by Roger Lancelyn Green when I was a kid and it left me with a love of mythology. As an adult I've also found it hard to find readable (yet uncheesey) books in that vein. The Song of Achilles has been on my to read list for a while, perhaps I'd better get on with it! This is the second time the Mary Renault books have been recommended in UK book club, so I'll be adding the first one of those too.... Thanks. :)

message 21: by Danielle (last edited Dec 29, 2012 08:52AM) (new)

Danielle (daniellecobbaertbe) | 365 comments With regards to Greek mythology there is also the work of Gustav Schwab, which is translated in English. I probably will have a look at Roger Lancelyn Green work.

Those with a linguistic interest might like Its Greek to Me!: Brush Up Your Classics. The fist part of the book explains words/expressions that take their meaning of Greek and Roman myths. The myths are also told in order to explain the meaning. Words and expressions like narcist, echo, opening the box of Pandora, the Gordian knot, a Trojan horse....

Seems the author Michael Macrone also wrote other books that might interest some.

message 22: by Nikks (new)

Nikks | 545 comments Thanks Danielle that sounds interesting.

My favorite ever read has to be the odyssey - in verse. I loved it, wish I'd made a note of the info so I could try to find it again. I borrowed it.

message 23: by Robert (new)

Robert Clear (RobertClear) | 30 comments I love Greek mythology too. In fact I studied Greek literature for my phd. I wrote a book called The Cambridge List which is a black comedy set in the present day featuring the Greek gods as the main characters (as well as many reference to myth). Not sure if it's what you're after.

message 24: by Nikks (new)

Nikks | 545 comments Sounds interesting Robert, thanks.

message 25: by A.L. (new)

A.L. Butcher (ALB2012) | 268 comments Nikks wrote: "Thanks Danielle that sounds interesting.

My favorite ever read has to be the odyssey - in verse. I loved it, wish I'd made a note of the info so I could try to find it again. I borrowed it."

There are various versions of the odysessy about. I think I had one in verse. I will see if I still have it.

message 27: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra (amoraiti) I reccomend Antigone; Sophocles.

message 28: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra (amoraiti) Also Greek mythology is not similar to Roman Mythology, that'sakin tosuggesting Scottish/Celtic myth. are similar to Irish mythology.

message 29: by Nikks (new)

Nikks | 545 comments Thanks Alexandra. I wonder if it was the Chapmans version of The Odyssey I read ? I will have to try to track down a copy and go through it. I would love to know.

message 30: by Kate (new)

Kate | 1000 comments I would recommend A Brief Guide to the Greek Myths by Steven Kershaw which I thought was a well set out book. Each chapter starts with a list of key characters, gives an overview of the myth and then concludes with how that particular story has been adapted through the ages and interpreted in film, art etc.

I have recently bought The Greek Myths Stories of the Greek Gods and Heroes Vividly Retold by Robin A.H. Waterfield but haven't got round to reading it yet.

message 31: by Deanne (last edited Mar 11, 2013 01:59AM) (new)

Deanne | 688 comments Metamorphoses by Ovid Metamorphoses by Ovid, or the Golden Ass The Golden Ass by Apuleius.

message 32: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brigham | 34 comments Why not read Herodotus - the Gnome of Sofia?

message 33: by Nikks (new)

Nikks | 545 comments Trojanhorse wrote: "I would recommend A Brief Guide to the Greek Myths by Steven Kershaw which I thought was a well set out book. Each chapter starts with a list of key characters, gives an overview of the myth and t..."

Thanks - sounds really interesting and informative.

message 34: by Nikks (new)

Nikks | 545 comments Deanne wrote: "Metamorphoses by Ovid Metamorphoses by Ovid, or the Golden Ass The Golden Ass by Apuleius."

Have you read Metamorphoses Deanne ? Love the sound of the Golden Ass - added to my tbr list !

message 35: by Nikks (new)

Nikks | 545 comments Patrick wrote: "Why not read Herodotus - the Gnome of Sofia?"

Any good ? Did you read it ?

message 36: by Deanne (new)

Deanne | 688 comments Nikks
Read them both, and did find them both very enjoyable.

message 37: by Patrick (last edited Mar 16, 2013 07:58AM) (new)

Patrick Brigham | 34 comments How interesting, finally a direct response! How do you feel about this very English story? Tell me about the characters - which ones made you laugh the most? Which did you despise? Patrick

message 38: by Verditwist (new)

Verditwist How about Medea by Euripides - now there's a story that will have you on one side or the other on ancient Greek depictions of women. Be warned though, it's dark. E

message 39: by Nikks (new)

Nikks | 545 comments Thanks Verditwist, another for my tbr pile :-)

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