A book inspired by mythology, legend, or folklore

MYTHOS: The Greek Myths Retold

By Stephen Fry

I think the title of this book and the name of the author tell you a lot about this book right from the start. It’s Stephen Fry telling you the Greek myths. And it does feel like he’s telling them to you. His tone is very Stephen-Fry-y and his style is direct, dryly witty, and interested. His love of alliteration does show up.

Her lines were sweepingly, swoopingly, swooningly smooth, supple, and sensuous.
— Galatea and Pygmalion

If you’re very familiar with Greek Mythology, If you’re only passingly aware, or it’s been a long time since you delved into the stories, this book is for you. It’s easy enough for newbies and detailed enough that (unless you have some sort of degree in Greek Mythology) those familiar with the stories will find new things.

Each myth is about two pages long, so reading is fast and there’s always a good place to put the book down if you need to.

Fry makes the whole family tree of the gods/titans/mortals/etc fairly easy to follow (there’s a lot of incest, rumors, and speculations in a lot of cases - not to mention people being born out of thighs, foreheads, and semen that falls on the ground). He’s careful to point out when several people in the myths have the same names. He maps the Greek names to the Roman ones, and uses footnotes (effectively) to point out other authors who’ve used the stories as inspiration, real locations and contemporary names for places in the stories, and to explain why he chose to follow one interpretation of a story when other authors may have gone another way.

It’s hard to find in the US. Mine was a Christmas gift and turned out to be an import from the UK. Amazon does have some used listings that might be cheaper and easier on the shipping.

If you’re like me and have the ability to “hear” someone when you’re reading, it greatly improves the storytelling. If you’re not that fortunate, an audio version is available on CD. It’s not on Audible (at least not in the US) at this time.

This book could actually count for several of the Popsugar 2019 Reading Challenge topics, but I’m limiting it to just this one.