A good mythology book?

Looking for a mythology book that holds all the world’s mythological tales and such. Something to read when I’m bored. Any of you have any suggestions? :slight_smile:

Bulfinch’s Mythology.

Hmm… I remember reading a very good book a few years back, but I can’t remember the name. :confused:

Of course, you could just do what I did:
Go to your local library and raid their mythology shelves and just grab anything that seems interesting. Chances are pretty good that some of it is.

If there was a book that held all the world’s mythological tales (probably depends on your definition of mythological and the time limits you set), it’d break your back :wink: I prefer to read the source texts when possible, but I’d recommend mythology books focused on a certain culture (Egyptian, Greek/Roman, Norse, Chinese, whatever) over a “world mythology” one.

Look here for a first taste of what might interest you. If you decide to give (translated) source texts a try, the Tain is great. Here’s a review with some good points about Greek/Roman myths if you’re interested.

I know of a book entitled Myths and Legends (I think since I haven’t seen it in years) that covers a few of the common legends like the Minotaur, Gwain and the Green Knight, the Sword in the Stone, and several other that I can’t think of at the moment (again thanks to not seeing it in years). However it’s by no means a complete compendium of world mythology, and even the ones it has are pretty much synopses of other versions. (Btw, any one book that would contain more than one author’s or culture’s (by which I mean tales from more than one culture) tale will probably present them in synopsis form. Just so you know what you’d be getting.)

The only other compendium of world mythology that I know of is called Wikipedia.

Unfortunately, Wikipedia gives more of summaries of the myths. Other collections tend to put literary spin on them. They read more like stories than, well, encyclopedia entries.

I second the Bulfinch suggestion. It’s a must.

I second avoiding catch-all world myth books. Try to narrow your search down to regions and cultures (East, West, Europe, Americas etc). It’ll be a lot easier to find quality material that way.

Bulfinch was the first thought in my mind when I read the question, so I third. It’s classic.

I’ll make it four. It’s also the first one that popped in my mind as well.

The Bible is a pretty popular one.

That’s it. Game over. Charle wins. :mwahaha:

You’re absolutely right. This is why I’m recommending “The Norse Myths” by Kevin-Crossley Holland. The same publisher, Pantheon books, has a lot of great mythology and folklore books. The Irish and Japanese ones are quite interesting, as well.

Mythology by Edith Hamilton.

Also, if you have quite a bit of spare time (roughly six hours?) check out the video series done by Joseph Campbell titled “The Power of Myth”. He does a great job at analyzing myths across the world and linking them together with basica human fundamentals. He has interesting ideas that show you how similar everyone on Earth actually is.

Myths of the Norsemen,

How well written is Bulfinch?


Google ftw. >_>

You want a text that holds all of the world’s myths? That would be a humongous book. I would recommend instead, if possible, purchasing a text on each regions mythology (Greek, Egyptian, Nordic, Gaelic, Incan). I’ve found that you can usually find a slightly ambiguous author that is an expert on any given section of myth be perusing Barnes & Nobles, Borders, etc.

Sorry, can’t think of any specifics at present. I will get back to you if I find any of my copies.

Try the collected works of William Blake, Tanakh, The Book of Mormon and other writings of J Smith, Dianetics, Shakespeare, Keats.