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Retired Topics > Mythology and folklore - Suggestions/Recommendations

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message 1: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith Use this thread to request or provide suggestions and recommendations for the various mythology and folklore tasks. Links to useful sites and reading lists are welcome :)

message 2: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith Book Depository has a useful browsing category for this: Myth & legend told as fiction.

Even if you don't shop there, you can use it to browse for books or task ideas.

message 3: by Lu (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
Last Update:

1. Read a book about Greek gods
2. Read a book about ancient Folklore... (any)
3. Read a book about Dragons, featuring Dragons or has Dragons in it :)
4. Read a book about Vampires :D
5. Egyptian mythology
6. Read a book about a heroine from myth or folklore. This doesn't have to be a warrior, but merely a main character. Examples: Penelope, Helen of Troy, Lilith, Beauty.
7. Read a book about zombies!
8. Read about about gods in a modern context (Percy Jackson, American Gods etc)
9. Read any pre-1900 Vampire novel
10. Arthurian Legend - Think Geneviere, Merlin, the lady in the lake etc.
11. Mythical Place/Lands- Atlantis, utopia, Troy, Olympus etc.
12. Read a book about Angel's, Like fallen Angels etc,
13. Read a book where someone has a "gift" "ability" "power", like mind reading, or being psychic.
14. Read a collection of fairytales (old or new)
15. Read a book about a mythical monster, excluding those already nominated (currently vampires, zombies, and dragons). Monster examples: Kraken, Minotaur, Medusa, orcs. The monster should play a significant role in the story, not just be mentioned in passing or briefly encountered. To qualify as a monster the creature should be dangerous or hideous.
16. Read a book about a Creature/Character that is Half human Half Animal.
Im talking Centaur, Satyr, Mermaid, Birdmen. Any man beast hybrid will do but they have to be a full time "semi" animal NOT A SHAPE SHIFTER
17. Read a book about witches and witchcraft. It can be fiction or non-fiction
18. A book about Knights or that has Knights in it (You know like the knights of the round table etc) They need to be legend/myth/folktale/something made up (tales) tho
19. Read a book about ghosts, has ghosts in it etc :)
20. Read a book that has Demons/Daemons in it
21. Read a book with Genies/Djinn in it.
22. Read a book that has a prophecy/foretelling/vision
23. Read a book that has werewolves in it
24. Read a book based on Eastern or Ancient Near Eastern mythology
25. Read a book about Norse mythology

message 4: by Monique (new)

Monique (moniqueurbanisedgeek) American Gods by Neil Gaiman for quite a few of these, Norse mythology, ghosts, gods in modern context...
Avalon High by Meg Cabot for Arthurian
Generation Dead (Generation Dead, #1) by Daniel Waters for zombie fiction!

message 5: by Lauren (last edited Oct 16, 2010 07:38AM) (new)

Lauren Smith Does a book about black magic count for the witches and witchcraft task? I'm not sure if any actual witches are involved, although it's possible.

message 6: by Lu (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
Link the book?

message 8: by Lu (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
Sjoe I don't know, it seems its more about Satanism. And Satanism and witchcraft are completely different things.

We should get hold of someone who has read it, but I doubt it counts :(

Anyone read it?

message 9: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith I thought perhaps it might count because of the witchcraft bit, and black magic is sort of like witchcraft?
Otherwise, can it fall under demons?

message 10: by Lu (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
Where do you see the black magic bit? I've been reading the reviews and not sure, let me check other sites

message 11: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith It's mentioned on the blurb of my copy - the authors returns to "the black magic theme" previously used in another of his books.

message 12: by Lu (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
Ok this is what i find:

With An Introduction by Anthony Lejeune Why did the solitary girl leave her rented house on the French Riviera only for short walks at night? Why was she so frightened? Why did animals shrink away from her? The girl herself didn't know, and was certainly not aware of the terrible appointment which had been made for her long ago and was now drawing close. Molly Fountain, the tough-minded Englishwoman living next door, was determined to find the answer. She sent for a wartime secret service colleague to come and help. What they discovered was horrifying beyond anything they could have imagined. Dennis Wheatley returned in this book to his black magic theme which he had made so much his own with his famous best seller The Devil Rides Out. In the cumulative shock of its revelations, the use of arcane knowledge, the mounting suspense and acceleration to a fearful climax, he out-does even that earlier achievement. This is, by any standards, a terrific story.


Beneath the azure sky of the French Riviera, Christina Mordant looks and behaves like any other attractive girl. But each night as darkness falls, the demon within her betrays its presence. A thousand miles away, deep in the Essex marshes, a priest of Satan is about to achieve his life's ambition: Canon Copely-Syle of Bentford Priory prepares for the virgin sacrifice which will give breath to the foul abomination he has created...

So i honestly don't know
I think you could use this for the prophecy one aswell?

message 13: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith "But each night as darkness falls, the demon within her betrays its presence." - perhaps it's more suitable for demons?

message 14: by Lu (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
I definitely agree on that

message 15: by Lu (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
Read a collection of fairytales (old or new) -

Zombies vs. Unicorns?

message 16: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith How the hell did they come up with that idea?

I can't say for sure, but it just sounds like short stories, not fairytales. Also, no one has tagged it as such.

message 17: by Lu (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
There was a whole blogging thing about it about which side your on etc, and it seems those writers all got together and wrote that book

Lol I actually won the book and i'm intrigued to read it!

Yea i can use it as something else then :)

message 18: by Lu (last edited Oct 16, 2010 10:25AM) (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
Read a collection of fairytales (old or new)

Fractured: Happily Never After? 3 Tales?

message 19: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith Yeah, that looks fine :)
I was also going to suggest The Bloody Chamber to you. It was one of our previous nominations for group read.

message 20: by Lu (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
Thanks :)

message 21: by Lu (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
I need suggestions on:

Ancient Folklore... (any)
Read any pre-1900 Vampire novel
Arthurian Legend - Think Geneviere, Merlin, the lady in the lake etc.
Witches and witchcraft
Heroine from myth or folklore

If they can double as something else it would be awesome!

message 22: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith Ancient folklore - I'd leave this open for now. It's a very broad category, most of the best-known myths would fit it. So if there's a book you want to read that doesn't fit in elsewhere, you can put it here.

Pre-1900 vampire novel: Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (free online and nice and short, as opposed to Dracula, which is way too long IMO)

Arthurian Legend: The Mists of Avalon looks really good, otherwise check out this list:

Genies/Djinn: still looking. BTW, I have a fairytale collection called The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye - does it count if I read a collection where one story is about a djinn?

Witches and witchcraft: Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett is funny and a lot of fun, and it's also about fairytales in general (characters include Cinderella, the frog prince, Dracula, a fairy godmother, etc., plus lots of fairytale references). Highly recommended.

Heroine from myth and folklore:
Beauty by Sheri S. Tepper (I haven't read this yet, but Tepper is a great storyteller, I think you'd like her)
The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood
Girl Meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis by Ali Smith (modern retelling of a Greek myth)
The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
Lilith by George McDonald (Lilith and Eve)
The Helmet of Horror: The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur by Victor Pelevin. Features Ariadne (as in Ariadne's Thread) but very heavy on the philosophical side.

message 23: by Lu (last edited Oct 17, 2010 05:06AM) (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod

Ooooh and thanks for this:
The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

message 24: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith Check out these authors, as they often use folklore, mythology, and mythological creatures in their works. With a couple of their novels you could probably finish most of the challenge.
Terry Pratchett
Neil Gaiman
Angela Carter

message 25: by Monique (new)

Monique (moniqueurbanisedgeek) Genies/Djinn... The Weather Warden series by Rachel Caine and the Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud.

message 26: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith OK, I was thinking of reading this - Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter - as it's a kind of modern fairytale and references fairytales, but I don't know where to put it.

The main character is a woman who hatched from an egg and has wings (her name is 'Fevvers' hahahaha), and there's a theory that she might be part swan, but I don't think you ever find out what the truth is. Can it count as half human/half animal?

Or are there any other suggestions on where to put it?

message 27: by Lu (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
Ok I read a almost all the reviews on this lol and nobody says she isn't half swan it is also never proved that she isn't. It seems that's part of the mystery. So yea I say she can go as half human/half animal.

message 28: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith Wow, thanks for doing all that research Lu, I really appreciate it!

message 29: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith Just a clarification for task 2, ancient folklore: this can include any myth or folklore from BEFORE 500 BC. That means myths from ancient Greece, the Ancient Near East (Babylonian, Sumerian, Canaanite, Egyptian myths), the ancient east (China, Japan, India etc.) and biblical myths from the OLD testament. Figures from folklore/myth such as ghosts, demons/devils and witches come standard,so they're included.

However, if you want to read about some other creature/myth/folklore eg. vampire, werewolf, fairy, you will have to do a little research to see when the myth originated to find out if it qualifies.

As far as I can tell, Norse mythology is NOT ancient.

message 30: by Lu (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
Ok on Vampires as ancient - The Persians were one of the first civilizations to have tales of blood-drinking demons: creatures attempting to drink blood from men were depicted on excavated pottery shards.

And the Persians, go that far back :)

There are also a few references in ancient Egypt and Roman history.

message 31: by Lauren (last edited Oct 24, 2010 03:22AM) (new)

Lauren Smith Canongate publishers has a Myths series, re-telling myths from around the world:

A Short History of Myth (Canongate Myths) by Karen Armstrong - very short but very interesting overview of mythology through the ages. Ancient folklore, ancient near eastern mythology.

The Penelopiad The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (Canongate Myths) by Margaret Atwood - the story of Penelope, who struggled to keep her kingdom safe while her husband Odysseus fought at Troy and then travelled on his Odyssey. Heroines in myth and folklore, Greek mythology, ancient folklore

Weight by Jeanette Winterson - retelling of the story of Atlas, who carries the world on his shoulders. Greek mythology, ancient folklore

Girl Meets Boy The Myth of Iphis (Canongate Myths) by Ali Smith - modern retelling of myth of Iphis and Ianthe. Greek mythology, ancient folklore.

The Helmet of Horror The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur (Myths, The) by Victor Pelevin - modern retelling of the Minotaur myth. Ariadne's thread is a thread on message board, like this one. Heavy on philosophy though. Greek mythology, mythical monster.

Lion's Honey The Myth of Samson (Canongate Myths) by David Grossman - retelling of the myth of Samson and Delilah. Ancient folklore/myth, prophecy, mythical power

The Hurricane Party (Myths) by Klas Östergren - Norse mythology, mythical place

Orphans of Eldorado (Myths) by Milton Hatoum - retelling of the myth of Eldorado. Mythical places

Baba Yaga Laid an Egg (Myths) by Dubravka Ugrešić - Russian, eastern European folklore. Witches

The Fire Gospel The Myth of Prometheus (The Canongate Myths) by Michel Faber - retelling of the myth of Prometheus. Greek mythology

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman - retelling of the life of Jesus.

Binu and the Great Wall by Su Tong - the myth of Meng. Eastern mythology

Where Three Roads Meet The Myth of Oedipus (Canongate Myths) by Salley Vickers - myth of Oedipus. Greek mythology, ancient folklore.

These books might fit into other mythology tasks as well.

message 32: by Lu (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
Great recommendations!

message 33: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith I'd actually like to collect these, it's such a great idea for a series. I managed to get two of them in hardcover at the last EB sale, and I've read the first four.

message 34: by Lauren (last edited Nov 21, 2010 12:39AM) (new)

Lauren Smith For gods in a modern context - do gods in the future count? That's like, extra modern... :)

message 35: by Lu (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
I have stopped American Gods now and need a new 25. Read a book about Norse mythology

Any suggestions?

message 36: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith You can check out this list:
I've only read one book on that list - The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul. It was a while ago, but I thought it was a pretty funny read.

Also try the Norse mythology tag.

message 37: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith Oh, there are also some Tom Holt books you can try:
Who's Afraid of Beowulf?
Valhalla based on ideas from Norse mythology and the notion of tailoring an afterlife to suit the client.

Just looking at the Wikipedia list of Tom Holt novels - he's got something for most of our mythology/folklore tasks:

message 38: by Lu (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
Thank you so much Lauren! Will go through it all and see if something grabs me :)

message 39: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith Regarding questions 9 (read a pre-1900 vampire novel): when I was under the impression that you could read a 100-page novel(la) for challenges, I knew of 3 options for this task. But since only 150+ pages novels are allowed, I'm down to two options - Stoker's Dracula (which I've read) and the penny-dreadful Varney the Vampire; or, The Feast of Blood.

I'd rather not read Varney or re-read Dracula - does anyone know of any other options? If not can we please broaden this task somehow?

message 40: by Crusader (new)

Crusader (crusaderza) | 2453 comments Mod
I'll repeat what I said in the Diabolical challenge thread.

Since this specific task (read a pre-1900 vampire novel) is so restrictive with very limited choices of reading material I think that Carmilla should be allowed even though it is less than 150 pages.

message 41: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith Three options still isn't much though. I'd prefer to expand the topic. Perhaps change the date to 1950?

message 42: by Crusader (new)

Crusader (crusaderza) | 2453 comments Mod
Well, the goal of the task was to get people back to the roots of vampire fiction. Expanding the date would defeat that purpose slightly, but if all else fails I think we could allow it.

message 43: by Lu (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
How about: Varney the Vampire; or, the Feast of Blood was a mid-Victorian era serialized gothic horror story by James Malcolm Rymer (alternatively attributed to Thomas Preskett Prest). It first appeared in 1845–47 as a series of cheap pamphlets of the kind then referred to as "penny dreadfuls". The story was published in book form in 1847. It is of epic length: the original edition ran to 868 double columned pages divided into 220 chapters.

message 44: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith Yeah, I know about Varney the Vampire; it's one of the 3 options I was talking about. And now it looks like my only option, unless I re-read Dracula.

message 45: by Lu (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
Are those really all the options? Sigh why didn't more people write about vampires?

message 46: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith There is a bit more, but it's all too short - novellas, short stories, poems.

message 47: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Smith Crusader wrote: "Well, the goal of the task was to get people back to the roots of vampire fiction. Expanding the date would defeat that purpose slightly, but if all else fails I think we could allow it."

That makes perfect sense, but it's a bit impractical for a reading challenge, it seems. But what if you expanded the challenge to include non-fiction about the origins and development of the vampire myth? That would still fall within the confines of your original goal.

message 48: by Crusader (new)

Crusader (crusaderza) | 2453 comments Mod
Lu wrote: "Are those really all the options? Sigh why didn't more people write about vampires?"

It wasn't a fad at that time. Only started to become a literal device after supposed vampire massacres hit the news of the time. Mostly villages where the plague/illness caused people to die and then recently deceased people where examined and found to be "vampires".

message 49: by Lu (new)

Lu | 12659 comments Mod
I'm open to make the min pages for this one task 100. Is that ok? If everyone thinks so, make it so :)

(Gonna be offline for 2-3 days, Good luck with your flights and everything Lauren if I don't speak to you before then!)

message 50: by Crusader (new)

Crusader (crusaderza) | 2453 comments Mod
Aye, aye captain... *in bad Russian accent!*

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