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Mythology and Folklore

Have you ever been interested in mythological creatures or characters? We've compiled a combination list of informative and fictional books that might pique your interest. Check out the following titles at your hometown library!

Gardner book coverSir Gawain and the Green Knight: In a Modern English Version by John Gardner

The adventures and challenges of Sir Gawain, King Arthur's nephew and a knight at the Round Table, including his duel with the mysterious Green Knight, are among the oldest and best known of Arthurian stories. Here the distinguished author and poet John Gardner has captured the humor, elegance, and richness of the original Middle English in flowing modern verse translations of this literary masterpiece. Besides the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, this edition includes two allegorical poems, "Purity" and "Patience"; the beautiful dream allegory "Pearl"; and the miracle story "Saint Erkenwald," all attributed to the same anonymous poet, a contemporary of Chaucer and an artist of the first rank.

Allan book coverThe Mythic Bestiary: The Illustrated Guide to the World's Most Fantastical Creatures by Tony Allan

Dragons and firebirds, fairies and orcs: these are just a few of the residents of The Mythic Bestiary . A whole menagerie of make-believe beings from the earth, water, and air inhabit these stunningly written and eye-catching pages, from Japan's Yukki-onna, a beautiful but deadly spirit who appeared to stranded travelers, to the two-headed venomous snake Amphisbaena, which hailed from the imagination of the Greek poet Nicander. Many are hybrids such as the Quetzalcoatl, the Aztecs' gorgeous combination of serpent and bird; others, more monstrous, tested the mettle of ancient heroes. A few, like the gigantic winged lion, lammasu served as guardian angels, warding against evil spirits. This guide gives not only a taxonomy of size, appearance, habitat, and powers, but also provides vivid descriptions of the cultures that produced them.

Ollhoff book coverGreek Mythology by Jim Ollhoff

Who is Nyx? What is Gaia? Why are myths so important in our lives? Myths are a rich source of history. People use them to make sense of our world. Even before myths were written down, people told and retold the stories of the gods and goddesses of their homeland. Readers of Greek Mythology will learn the history of myths, as well as their deeper meaning. From the powerful Zeus to the beautiful Persephone, this book helps kids understand the myths that shape and direct people's lives.

Odessey book coverThe Odessey by Homer

"Sing to me, Muse . . ." It has been said that a myth is a story about the way things never were but always are. The Odyssey is the original hero's journey, an epic voyage into the unknown, and has inspired other creative work for millennia-from ancient poetry to contemporary fiction and films. With its consummately modern hero, full of guile and wit, always prepared to reinvent himself in order to realize his heart's desire-to return to home and family after ten years of war-the Odyssey now speaks to us again across 2,600 years. In words of great poetic power, Stephen Mitchell's translation brings Odysseus and his adventures vividly to life as never before. Full of imagination and light, beauty and humor, this Odyssey carries you along in a fast stream of action and imagery. One-eyed maneating giants; irresistibly seductive sirens; shipwrecks and narrow escapes; princesses and monsters; ghosts sipping blood at the Underworld's portal, desperate for a chance to speak to the living; and the final destruction of all Odysseus's enemies in the banquet hall-these stories are still spellbinding today. So, too, are the intimate moments of storytelling by the fire, of homecoming and reunion, fidelity and love-all of greater value to Odysseus, and to us, than the promise of immortality.

Iliad book coverThe Iliad by Homer

The centuries old epic about the wrath of Achilles is rendered into modern English verse by a renowned translator and accompanied by an introduction that reassesses the identity of Homer. In Robert Fagles' beautifully rendered text, the Iliad overwhelms us afresh. The huge themes godlike, yet utterly human of savagery and calculation, of destiny defied, of triumph and grief compel our own humanity. Time after time, one pauses and re-reads before continuing. Fagles' voice is always that of a poet and scholar of our own age as he conveys the power of Homer. Robert Fagles and Bernard Knox are to be congratulated and praised on this admirable work.

Jeffrey book coverThe Loch Ness Monster and Other Lake Mysteries by Gary Jeffrey

This engrossing examination of mysterious lakecreatures includes the Loch Ness monster, the Lake Champlain monster, and South Bay Bessie, andassembles all the available information to get to the truths behind the legends. Depicted in beautifulgraphic fashion, the balanced presentation leaves itto the reader to make up his or her own mind about the incidents.

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