The Greeks are one of humanity’s earliest civilizations. Woven into every aspect of their culture were a variety of myths that share what they believed was the origin and state of the world they lived in. Their tales of war heroes, deities, and creatures from another realm have enchanted humanity for centuries. We can even find the pillars of our civilization, such as Democracy, built originally by these influential people. In this article, Pennbook‘s compiled the Best Greek Mythology Books just for you.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top Rated Best Greek Mythology Books To Read
- 1.1 Mini Myths: Make A Wish, Midas! by Joan Holub
- 1.2 Goddess Girls Series by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
- 1.3 Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan
- 1.4 The Olympians Series by George O’Connor
- 1.5 The Mythic Misadventures Series by Carolyn Hennesy
- 1.6 Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog by Ralph Hardy
- 1.7 Pegasus by Marianna Mayer
- 1.8 Treasure Of Greek Mythology by Christina Balit
- 1.9 What a Beast! A Look-It-Up Guide to the Monsters and Mutants of Mythology (Mytholpedia) by Sophia Kelly
- 1.10 D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths
- 1.11 Mythology by Edith Hamilton
- 1.12 Circe by Madeline Miller
- 1.13 Heroes, Gods, and Monsters of the Greek Myths
- 1.14 Classical Myth 8th Edition by Barry B Powell
- 1.15 Metamorphoses by Ovid
- 1.16 Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton
- 1.17 The Iliad by Homer by Iliad
- 1.18 The Odyssey by Homer by Odyssey
- 1.19 The Library of Greek Mythology by Apollodorus
- 1.20 Myth and Philosophy: A Contest of Truths by Lawrence J. Hatab
- 1.21 A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
- 1.22 Alcestis by Katharine Beutner
- 1.23 Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith
- 1.24 Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
- 1.25 Helen Of Troy by Margaret George
- 1.26 Hot As Hades by Alisha
- 1.27 The War That Killed Achilles by Caroline Alexander
- 1.28 Why Homer Matters by Adam Nicolson
- 1.29 The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
- 1.30 Love In The Time Of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block
- 1.31 Orpheus Girls by Brynne Rebele-Henry
- 1.32 Promise Of Shadow by Justina Ireland
- 1.33 Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Top Rated Best Greek Mythology Books To Read
Mini Myths: Make A Wish, Midas! by Joan Holub
Midas wants everything to be his favorite color – yellow! He chooses yellow clothes, eats yellow foods, and uses only the yellow paint at his easel. But when he impulsively paints his beloved green Dinoboo, Midas discovers that too much of a good thing is a big mess!
Joan Holub’s carefully crafted text is brought to life by Leslie Patricelli’s famously humorous illustrations. It includes a summary of the original Midas’s Wish myth at the end.
Goddess Girls Series by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
Mount Olympus Academy teaches the most talented girls and boys like Pandora, Hestia, Artemis, and Persephone. Each of these playful chapter books tells the story of a Goddess Girl as she navigates the challenges of school, friendship, and growing up.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan
Action-packed from the first page, this is the adventure of an ADHD, dyslexic boy named Percy, who learns that monsters are trying to kill him because his dad was … a Greek god?! He’ll only be safe if he can get to Camp Half-Blood. And even then, when the Titans want to destroy the Olympians, no one is safe, and it’s up to Percy and his friends to stop their world-ending destruction.
The Olympians Series by George O’Connor
Starting with Zeus and continuing to Athena, Hades, Ares, and others, these are fascinating, artfully illustrated graphic novels about the Greek gods and their adventures.
The Mythic Misadventures Series by Carolyn Hennesy
Thirteen-year-old Pandy borrows and opens a mysterious box belonging to her father, Prometheus, which unleashes all the evils. Zeus orders her to fix her mistake and put those evils back where they came from. Each book recounts the adventures of finding and putting one sin back into the box.
Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog by Ralph Hardy
From home, Odysseus’s loyal dog, Argos, investigates his master’s travels using the stories of the birds and other creatures, then recounts them to us in this unique version of The Odyssey.
Pegasus by Marianna Mayer
Condemned by a jealous king, Bellerophon must win the trust of the legendary winged horse Pegasus or face certain death. From the poignant meeting, the growing bond of friendship between horse and man to the dramatic slaying of the fearsome fire-breathing Chimera is an unforgettable adventure that will stir the imagination of young and old alike. Featuring glorious paintings that readers will want to savor again and again is a magnificent edition of a timeless Greek classic.
Treasure Of Greek Mythology by Christina Balit
The new National Geographic Treasury of Greek Mythology offers timeless stories of Greek myths in a beautiful new volume.
They are brought to life with lyrical text by award-winning author Donna Jo Napoli and stunning artwork by award-winning illustrator Christina Balit. The tales of gods and goddesses such as Zeus, Aphrodite, Apollo, Athena, heroes, and monsters such as Helen of Troy, Perseus, and Medusa will fascinate and engage children’s imaginations.
What a Beast! A Look-It-Up Guide to the Monsters and Mutants of Mythology (Mytholpedia) by Sophia Kelly
Who doesn’t love a great mythological monster? This engaging, illustrated tome gives you the inside scoop on all your favorite beasts: chimera, harpies, hydra, pegasus, and many others.
D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths
Daulaires’ book of Greek Myths is a children’s book with beautiful, hand-drawn illustrations, excellent for kids who need a little more than words to hold their attention, and great for adults who appreciate art or who aren’t vapid readers. Yet. Everyone should read these books in their lifetime.
The Illustrations are the hook for Daulaires’ book on Greek Mythology. They’re beautiful. The book, though, isn’t a difficult read or rich with detail. Most adults will find prose without substance.
Mythology by Edith Hamilton
Probably the most famous of all mythology books, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology introduces readers to the Greek, Roman, and Norse myths that are the keystone of Western culture, and the stories of gods and heroes that have inspired human creativity throughout history. Hachette Book Group has been publishing Hamilton’s classic since its release in 1942. It has sold millions of copies worldwide in the seven decades since it was introduced to the world. This is a beautifully illustrated special anniversary edition that makes a great gift for fans of mythology or readers looking to learn more about the stories.
Circe by Madeline Miller
Madeline Miller’s instant-classic novel tells the story of an overlooked minor character from The Odyssey: Circe. A daughter of Helios, god of the sun, Circe is banished to an island by Zeus because she possesses the ability to perform witchcraft. It is there on the island that Circe has encounters with many famous characters from mythology, including the Minotaur, Icarus, Medea, and Odysseus.
Heroes, Gods, and Monsters of the Greek Myths
Heroes, Gods, and Monsters of the Greek Myths is the best-selling book from this list; unless you count the Iliad, but that book is ancient. HGMGM (Heroes Gods Monsters Greek Myths) has sold many copies because the book-format is easy for anyone to understand.
Greek Mythology is convoluted and confusing to understand. Bernard Evslin retells classic stories with simple words, written for a younger audience but still relevant to any age. HGMGM was, and still is, a resource for grade-school education on the subject of Greek Mythology.
Classical Myth 8th Edition by Barry B Powell
Classical Myth is a Mythology textbook containing illustrations, original texts from Myths, translations, and examples of the impact of Greek Mythology & drama on the arts of modern society, film-making, dance, literature.
Barry B. Powell is a master of Greek Mythology and wrote many books on the subject, both fiction and non-fiction. His books are often used in the college classroom, and he’s translating Homer’s Odyssey himself, one of the oldest books in the world, featured below in the books from the past.
Classical Myth is an excellent textbook choice because of Barry B. Is an expert and writes with passionate prose only a true savant of Mythology can.
Metamorphoses by Ovid
Ovid’s Metamorphoses is a 15-book epic, similar to the story written by Homer containing the Iliad and the Odyssey. Each book has a different theme, and each item is its own, self-contained world influencing many great artists over thousands of years – Shakespeare included.
Metamorphoses don’t fit into one genre because each book is so different in meaning and story arc. Metamorphoses are reserved for individuals who are patient enough to take the time needed to comprehend each sentence, translated through multiple languages and evolutions of the English language.
Metamorphoses is a worthwhile read but requires time and patience for full-effect.
Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton
Ever since its original publication in 1942, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology has been widely seen as the quintessential introduction to Greek mythology for adults, even as countless other submissions to the topic have come and gone. Yes, it’s stood the test of time that well.
Hamilton masterfully retells all of the major myths of the Greeks and gives overviews of all of their principal deities and heroes. Her prose is clear and lucid, poetic and evocative – an ideal style for both the head and the heart. The book assumes no prior knowledge of the topic whatsoever, making it suitable for the total beginner.
As a bonus, Mythology includes a brief treatment of Norse mythology at the end.
The Iliad by Homer by Iliad
Who could consider themselves knowledgeable about Greek mythology without a familiarity with Homer’s masterpieces, the Iliad and the Odyssey? Even if you’ve read the summaries in original works on the topic, there’s no substitute for reading the original epic poems (in English translation, of course, unless you can read Homeric Greek).
The experience of reading Homer’s works is just as valuable as the knowledge of Greek mythology you’ll glean from. Homer is regarded as one of the greatest poets of all time for good reasons; his verse is poignantly beautiful without being flowery or effusive, his signature rapid pacing makes for an action-packed read, and the stories he tells feature many of the most paradigmatic characters and scenes in all of world literature.
The Iliad tells the story of Troy’s conquest by a Greek army led by the likes of Achilles, Agamemnon, and Odysseus. The fight is ultimately over Helen, a daughter of Zeus and one of the most beautiful women ever to walk the earth, abducted by one of the Trojans. The plot is tugged one way and then another by the characters’ complex psyches, twists of fate, and divine interventions.
The Odyssey by Homer by Odyssey
Homer’s second major epic poem, the Odyssey, picks up where the plot of the Iliad leaves off. Troy has been conquered, but for Odysseus, one of the heroes of the victorious army, many battles still loom ahead before he can return home to the arms of his wife, Penelope, and their son, Telemachus. Over twenty years, Odysseus must undergo captivity at the hands of a nymph, the curse of the god Poseidon, a fight with a cyclops, malevolent drugs, and spells. Now, Scylla and Charybdis, and many other trials and tribulations before he can look at last set foot again in Ithaca’s home city.
Meanwhile, Penelope and Telemachus must fend off many dozen suitors, who want to gain Penelope’s hand and, with it, access to Odysseus’s vast wealth.
The Library of Greek Mythology by Apollodorus
The Library of Greek Mythology (a.k.a. the Bibliotheca) is the only work that survives from classical antiquity that attempts to provide a comprehensive account of all – or at least large parts – of Greek mythology. As such, it’s long been one of the ancient primary sources that scholars have used to piece together Greek mythology.
The material in The Library of Greek Mythology covers the birth of the gods and the creation of the world, the later exploits of the gods, and the mighty deeds of heroes like Hercules, Jason, Perseus, Theseus, and the men and women of the Trojan War.
Myth and Philosophy: A Contest of Truths by Lawrence J. Hatab
Those of you who have particular intellectual interests will likely find Lawrence Hatab’s Myth and Philosophy exciting and illuminating, just as I have.
Hatab first offers an overview of early Greek myth and religion from a philosophical standpoint – including what legend is, what its underlying or implicit theory of knowledge is, its relationship with the political system, and view of the self that prevailed in early Greece, and other such themes. The philosophies of Nietzsche and Heidegger often help to frame these discussions.
The book then considers the historical transformation from myth to philosophy in ancient Greece and the roles that the above themes and others played in that transformation. Along the way, Hatab points out ways in which earlier Greek myth and religion provided fresh concepts that would take up and transform and methods in which elements of tale remained in Greek philosophy (such as Plato’s view that an inner, intuitive “spark” was the root of all reason).
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
In the middle of the night, Creusa wakes to find her beloved Troy engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of brutal conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over, and the Greeks are victorious. Over the next few hours, the only life she has ever known will turn to ash.
The devastating consequences of the fall of Troy stretch from Mount Olympus to Mount Ida, from the citadel of Troy to the distant Greek islands, and across oceans and sky in between. These are the stories of the women embroiled in that legendary war and its terrible aftermath, the feud, and the fatal decisions that started it all.
Powerfully told from an all-female perspective, A Thousand Ships gives voices to the women, girls, and goddesses who have been silent for so long.
Alcestis by Katharine Beutner
In Greek myth, Alcestis is known as the ideal wife; she loved her husband so much that she died and went to the underworld in his place.
In this vividly-imagined debut, Katharine Beutner gives voice to the woman behind the ideal and reveals the part of the story that’s never been told: What happened to Alcestis in the three days she spent in the underworld?
Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith
It’s a story as old as time. But in Whitbread winner, Ali Smith’s lyrical, funny, mash-up of Ovid’s most joyful gender-bending metamorphosis story, girl meets boy in so many more ways than one.
Imogen and Anthea, sisters that are opposites, work together at Pure, a creative agency attempting to “bottle imagination, politics, and nature” in the form of a new Scottish bottled-water business with global aspirations. Anthea, somewhat flighty and bored with the office environment, becomes enamored of an “interventionist protest artist” nicknamed Iphisol. Their billboard-size corporate slurs around town are the bane of Pure’s existence. And when Anthea and Iphisol meet, it’s a match made in heaven.
Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
Being a Greek god is not all it once was. Yes, the twelve gods of Olympus are alive and well in the twenty-first century, but they are crammed together in a London townhouse-and none too happy about it. And they’ve had to get day jobs: Artemis as a dog-walker, Apollo as a TV psychic, Aphrodite as a phone sex operator, Dionysus as a DJ.
Even more disturbingly, their powers are waning, and also turning mortals into trees – a favorite pastime of Apollo’s – is sapping their vital reserves of strength.
Soon, what begins as a minor squabble between Aphrodite and Apollo escalates into an epic battle of wills. Two perplexed humans, Alice and Neil, who are caught in the crossfire, must fear not only for their own lives but for the survival of humankind. Nothing less than a real act of heroism is needed, can these two decidedly ordinary people replicate the mythical heroes’ feats and save the world?
Helen Of Troy by Margaret George
The Trojan War, fought nearly twelve hundred years before the birth of Christ, and recounted in Homer’s Iliad, continues to haunt us because of its origins: one woman’s beauty, a visiting prince’s passion, and love that ended in tragedy.
Laden with doom, yet surprising in its moments of innocence and beauty, Helen of Troy is an exquisite page-turner with a cast of compelling, legendary characters – Odysseus, Hector, Achilles, Menelaus, Priam, Clytemnestra, Agamemnon, as well as Helen and Paris themselves. A wealth of material reproduces the Age of Bronze in all its glory, which brings to life a war we have learned about but never experienced.
Hot As Hades by Alisha
It’s not easy being Hades, and always guarding his world against another meddling, and ambitious deities are stressful work. So when a naked goddess falls directly into his lap, along with the news that he has to shelter her for the indefinite future, he is less than thrilled, particularly since he can’t help but lust after the beautiful female.
The Underworld isn’t the first place Persephone would pick for a vacation – who in their right mind would choose a dark palace over sunshine and flowers? Yet from Hades’s first touch, the wicked, sexy ruler fascinates her and has her thinking a fling might be just the thing to while away from her confinement.
But trust each other? Not a chance. Until the day comes that Persephone must leave, and they realize that trusting each other is the only way they’ll ever meet again.
The War That Killed Achilles by Caroline Alexander
Written with the authority of a scholar and the vigor of a bestselling narrative historian, The War That Killed Achilles is a superb and utterly timely presentation of one of the timeless stories of Western civilization. As she did in The Endurance and The Bounty, New York Times bestselling author Caroline Alexander has taken apart a narrative we think we know and put it back together to see its real power.
In the process, she reveals the intended theme of Homer’s masterwork-the painful lessons of war and its enduring devastation.
Why Homer Matters by Adam Nicolson
Why Homer Matters is a magical journey of discovery across vast stretches of the past. It is sewn together by the Iliad and the Odyssey and their metaphors of life and trouble. Homer’s poems-transmitted orally across the generations, shaped and reshaped in a living, self-renewing tradition-occupy, as Adam Nicolson writes “a third space” in the way we relate to the past: not as a memory, which lasts no more than three generations, nor as to the objective accounts of history, but as epic, invented after mind but before history, poetry which aims “to bind the wounds that time inflicts.”
The poems that ask the eternal questions about the individual and the community, honor and service, love and war, tell us how we became who we are.
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Every girl who has taken the test has died. Now it’s Kate Winters’s turn.
It’s always been just Kate and her mom- and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family, and the fear that her mother won’t live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, the god of the Underworld -and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he’s crazy -until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride and a goddess. But if she doesn’t.
Love In The Time Of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block
Seventeen-year-old Penelope (Pen) has lost everything – her home, her parents, and her ten-year-old brother. Like a female Odysseus in search of the house, she navigates a dark world full of strange creatures, gathers companions, loses them, finds love, loses it, and faces her mortal enemy.
In her signature style, Francesca Lia Block has created a beautiful world in its destruction and as frightening as it is lovely. At the helm of Love in the Time of Global Warming is Pen, a strong heroine who holds hope and love in her hands and refuses to be defeated.
Orpheus Girls by Brynne Rebele-Henry
Abandoned by a single mother she never knew, 16-year-old Raya – obsessed with ancient myths – lives with her grandmother in a small conservative Texas town. For years Raya has been forced to hide her feelings for her best friend and true love, Sarah. When the two are outed, they are sent to Friendly Saviors: a re-education camp meant to “fix” them and make them heterosexual.
Upon arrival, Raya vows to assume the mythic role of Orpheus to escape Friendly Saviors and return to the world of the living with her love. Only becoming more determined after she, Sarah, and Friendly Saviors’ other teen residents are subjected to abusive “treatments” by the staff.
In a haunting voice reminiscent of Sylvia Plath, with the contemporary lyricism of David Levithan, Brynne Rebele-Henry weaves a compelling inversion of the Orpheus myth informed by the real-world truths of conversion therapy. Orpheus Girl is a mythic story of dysfunctional families, trauma, first love, heartbreak, and, ultimately, the fierce adolescent resilience that has the power to triumph over darkness and ignorance.
Promise Of Shadow by Justina Ireland
Zephyr Mourning has never been very good at being a Harpy. She’d rather watch reality TV than learn forty-seven ways to kill a man, and she pretty much sucks at wielding magic. Zephyr was ready for a future pretending to be an ordinary human instead of a half-god assassin. But all that changed when her sister was murdered -and Zephyr used a forbidden dark power to save herself from the same fate.
On the run from a punishment worse than death, an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend upends Zephyr’s world – and not only because her old friend has grown surprisingly, extremely hot. It seems that Zephyr might just be the Nyx, a dark goddess that is prophesied to shift the power balance: for hundreds of years, the half-gods have lived in fear, and Zephyr is supposed to change that.
But how is she supposed to save everyone else when she can barely take care of herself?
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini
Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is – no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it’s getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school, she’s haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood. When Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they’re destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.
As Helen unlocks her ancestry’s secrets, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are drawing her and Lucas together – and trying to tear them apart.
Last update on 2020-11-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API