10 Interesting Books To Get Into World Mythology

Greek Mythology tends to get all the focus in pop culture. Take a break with these ten books about mythologies around the world.

Of the various mythologies in the world, it seems like Greek Mythology is the one that gets all attention. From Percy Jackson to God of War, many pop culture franchises have their origins in Greek Mythology. Beyond that, many familiar words and terms have their origins in Greek Mythology.

Sadly, Greek Mythology getting so much focus has overshadowed a ton of interesting mythologies. Thankfully, there is a ton of intriguing books about non-Greek Mythology. These books either focus entirely on other Mythologies or treat it as just one of many Mythologies in the world. 

Here is the list of 10 interesting books to get into world mythology:

1. The Illustrated Book of Myths: Tales & Legends of the World

The Illustrated Book of Myths: Tales & Legends of the World
Source: amazon

A personal favorite of mine, DK Publishing's The Illustrated Book of Myths is a great collection of illustrated myths. With tales ranging from the Labors of Hercules to the Ainu creation myth, nearly every region of the world has representation in this book.

Beyond the book featuring some more obscure myths, what sets it apart from many other books on the topic is its art. Every tale has at least one lavish illustration that does a great job of depicting a myth in an art style that looks nice and homages its cultural origins.    

2. Mythology of the World

Mythology of the World
Source: macmillan

Speaking of books that highlight obscure mythologies, Mythology of the World takes a different approach. Instead of retelling various myths, this book is more interesting in exploring how Myths interact with the culture that created them. 

This approach makes even its brief look at Greek mythology unique compares to other books on world Mythology. Beyond that, the book does a great job examining lesser-known mythologies from the Himalayas and South America. For example, it one of the few books that discuss syncretic folk religion in Mexico. 

3. Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology 

Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology 

While thanks to Marvel, many people are familiar with some of the deities of Norse Mythology. However, many people are still not familiar with the myths that spawned characters like Thor and Loki. A great introduction to Norse Mythology is in the book of the same name by Neil Gaiman. 

While the book's goal is to retell the Norse myths, The retelling features the prose and style of one of the great writers of the 21st century. That fact alone is worth the price of admission. 

4. Creation Myths of the World: An Encyclopedia 

Creation Myths of the World: An Encyclopedia 
Source: amazon

For those looking for a more kitchen-sink approach for their mythology, you can't go wrong with Creation Myths of the World. A two-volume Encyclopedia, Creation Myths of the World, covers over 200 different mythologies' creation stories. 

This book not only collects various creation myths, but it also includes several essays that discuss these myths' theme. Another praiseworthy element within this book is that it features several myths retold by people from its original culture.   

5. Kalevala

Source: amazon

The Kalevala stands out for attempting to reconstruct a people's lost myths. Based on Elias Lönnrot's collection of Finnish and Estonia legends and folktales, Kalevala is viewed as the national epic of the Finnish people. 

The Kalevala is a collection of 50 poems that focus on the lives of Väinämöinen and his companion. These poems are worth a read not just out of interest in lesser-known mythologies but also that these poems were a significant influence on J.R.R Tolkein and his Legendarium.  

6. The Hero with a Thousand Faces

The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Source: amazon

Speaking of books on mythology that had a huge cultural impact, the definitive example would be Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces. The book examines a shared structure seen in myths around the world called the universal monomyth or Hero's Journey. 

The book gives some unique focus to Australian and Asian mythology and features a good deal of retelling the myths that Campbell used to shape his argument about the monomyth. Beyond that, this book's idea of the monomyth influenced a great deal of work 20th century works like the original Star Wars trilogy.   

7. Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology

Gods and Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology
Source: amazon

Speaking of mythology and science fiction, Gods and Robots examine various mythologies for the theme of advanced technology. Primarily the book examines how ancient people's myths reflect their views toward technology and its potential advancement.    

While the book spends its first part focus on Greek mythology, its second half focuses on Chinese and Indian mythology. Particularly of interest is the book retelling of an Indian myth that depicts Rome as a technologically advanced city that protects its technology through robot-like assassins.     

8. Comparative Mythology 

Comparative Mythology
Source: amazon

While The Hero with a Thousand Faces explains myth comparatively to find thematic connections, this book seeks to do it from a cultural perspective. This book examines common themes and archetypes of the mythologies of the Indo-European people.  

While Jaan Puvhel deals with familiar myths and gods from Greek and Norse Mythology, he also discusses more obscure Slavic and Baltic myths. He even attempts to use these myths' common themes to reconstruct a prehistoric Proto-Indo European Mythology. 

9. The Masks of God 

The Masks of God
Source: amazon

An expansion of Joseph Campbell's monomyth theory, The Masks of God, examines how different cultural contexts led the monomyth to evolve into distinct mythologies. The book is a bit long, published originally as four books, but provides an in-depth examination of how culture shapes mythology. 

Throughout The Masks of God, Campbell examines a wide range of mythology from various tribal mythologies to ones created by contemporary fiction. The book provides myths from a variety of cultures and challenges our definition of the term.   

10. The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World

The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World
Source: amazon

From the author of Gods and Robots, The Amazons examine the recurring mythical theme of the female warrior tribe. Starting with the well-known Greek myth of the Amazons, Mayor examines various legends around the world about warrior women to determine their historical origin.

What makes this book noteworthy is its examination of the thin line between myth and ancient history by examining the overlap seen in how the Amazons reflected encounters between the Greek and the nomadic people of Central Asia. The book also includes a comparative examination of how Central Asian mythology depicts warrior women.


These ten books represent a small part of the works that discuss mythology beyond just Greek Mythology, representing a great gateway to understanding the variety of mythologies from around the world. These books range from in-depth scholarly text to illustrated young-adult fiction, which shows they're books on mythology for everyone. 

It should how Greek Mythology has unfairly overshadowed other mythologies. 

History Major that loves to write about entertainment and history.

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