Our library theme for 2020 is Your Library Card, Your Ticket to the World–because with the library, you truly can travel around the world without ever leaving the comfort of your own home. Every month in 2020, we’ll be landing at a new place on the globe. In June, we’re in London, but that’s mainly just a Harry Potter tie-in, so in honor of the Imagine Your Story summer reading theme, I’ll be highlighting books that evoke or engage with myths and fairy tales from around the world.
If you prefer some literary fiction with your mythology:
Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls (2019)*
I’ve been a Pat Barker fan since reading her novel Regeneration for a class I took in college on British novels. Her most recent book is a retelling of The Iliad. However, rather than focusing on the martial adventures like Homer did, Pat Barker’s protagonist is Briseis, the Trojan woman captured by Achilles, and the many other women who find themselves captive.
Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Joyce Carol Oates.
*Ebook on Libby
Kawai Washburn’s Sharks in the Time of Saviors (2020)
If classic mythology isn’t your thing–or you just want something a bit less well-worn than Greek mythology, how about Hawaiian mythology? Back in the 90s, a child named Nainoa falls into the ocean while on vacation in Hawaii. He is miraculously saved by sharks, which his traditional family takes as a sign of favor from the gods. But as he finds his powers growing, what price will it cost his family?
Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Celeste Ng and Jeffrey Eugenides.
If you want some YA with your mythology:
Julie Berry’s Lovely War (2019)**
This particular book weaves in classic mythology and elements of A Thousand and One Nights, alongside historical fiction. Told from the perspective of the Greek goddess Aphrodite–who is trying to spin a tale to get herself out of a jam–Lovely War follows two couples as they meet and fall in love under the shadow of World War I.
Recommended for those who enjoyed Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief.
**Ebook and audiobook on Libby
Mackenzi Lee’s Loki: Where Mischief Lies (2019)
Who says classical Greek mythology gets to have all the fun? Certainly not the Norse trickster god Loki. In this origin story–and the first in a planned trilogy–Loki is sent to 19th century London to investigate some alarming murders that show the hallmarks of the magic practiced by his banished friend Amora. Complications ensue.
Recommended for Marvel fans.
Gena Showalter’s The Evil Queen (2017)***
If you’re less interested in mythology and more into fairy tales, this might be the book for you. This time our hero is the villain of the story of Snow White–the Evil Queen. Except at this point she is just a young woman and not quite so evil yet. In this world, though, fairy tales are prophecies, and her life changes when she realizes who she is supposed to grow up to be. This is the first book in a series, with the sequel expected this September.
***Ebook on Libby
Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Cherry Adair and Jenna Black.
If you’d rather read some original mythology (with a dab of Scottish folk tales):
Joanne Harris’s The Blue Salt Road (2018)
Harris has used Scottish folk tales as a jumping-off point for a few of her standalone novellas to craft her own modern but original fairy tales. In this gorgeously illustrated story, the focus is on selkies (seal folk)–as seen through the eyes of a young man who was drawn into this world and then tricked into staying.
Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Margaret Atwood, Audrey Niffenegger, Isabel Allende, and Alice Hoffman.
If you want even more mythology-inspired fiction, you can also check out past posts where I previewed Madeline Miller’s Circe (which focuses on Circe from The Odyssey) and Katherine Arden’s Slavic mythology YA series.
What’s your favorite fairy tale? Are you a mythology fan? Have you read any of these books? Tell us in the comments! As always, please follow this link to our online library catalog for more information on any of these items or to place them on hold.