The best books on Norse mythology

The Books I Picked & Why

Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs

By John Lindow

Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs

Why this book?

If you’re looking for a comprehensive reference book on the Norse deities, this is the title to get. In addition to describing the historical context and importance of Scandinavian mythology, the book alphabetically lists, describes, and explains the gods, the goddesses, as well as important mythological artifacts and creatures. It also has a section for additional resources and an excellent index. This is the book I find myself referring back to over and over again to make sure I’ve got my details right in my own writing.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Roles of the Northern Goddess

By Hilda Ellis Davidson

Roles of the Northern Goddess

Why this book?

Dr. Davidson has written extensively about Norse mythology, both books and articles. Her scholarship is terrific, and I have three of her books in my research library. What makes this book so unique, though, is that she concentrates on the goddesses of the Norse pantheon and women’s roles in the Viking world in general, of which not much is written. Reading this book is like taking a master class in Norse women’s studies, and I had to replace my print copy because I’d scribbled so many notes in it that it became impossible to read.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths

By Nancy Marie Brown

Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths

Why this book?

The very fact that we have written records of the Viking myths, other than Runestones, is thanks to Icelandic historian, poet, and politician Snorri Sturluson. His Icelandic Sagas inspired many writers, including Tolkien and Lewis. In her biography of this influential medieval writer, Ms. Brown not only tells us about Sturluson’s life but also summarizes much of his writing and puts it into context with Norse fables. If you’ve ever wondered how much of the Viking stories were historical facts and how much of it is Sturluson’s imagination, this is a great book to read.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The World Of The Viking Gods

By Njörður P. Njarðvík, Freydís Kristjánsdóttir, John Porter

The World Of The Viking Gods

Why this book?

I found this slim volume of mythology tales at a museum in Reykjavík, Iceland. It’s a quick read, but what sets it apart from other books are the beautiful black and white illustrations (by Freydís Kristjánsdóttir), the concise, yet extensive, description of how the Vikings believed the world was created, and the summary of the gods, their lineage, and their roles in Norse mythology. If you want to quickly read up on Viking deities and sound wise about them at dinner parties, this is the book to get. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Norse Myths: Viking Legends of Heroes and Gods

By Martin J. Dougherty

Norse Myths: Viking Legends of Heroes and Gods

Why this book?

This book I love purely for the photographs of archeological treasures and historical paintings. It’s in the format often referred to as a “coffee table book.” However, even though you may be tempted to page through it only to look at its impressive graphics and illustrations, the content is very much researched and informative. I especially like the sections on magical creatures and how Norse mythology has influenced our modern world and more current fiction.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Closely Related Book Lists

Distantly Related Book Lists

Random Book Lists