The best books that bring the mythic realm into our modern world

Kim Antieau Author Of Church Of The Old Mermaids
By Kim Antieau

Who am I?

I grew up in Michigan where I was outdoors in the woods most of the time, running around with my imaginary friends. I built an entire world in my imagination where girls and women were powerful and ruled the world. I wrote stories about that world, and I’ve never stopped writing or reading myths, folklore, and fairy tales. Stories are the best way to bring the mythic and hidden realms of our existence out into the open. When I catch a glimpse of other worlds through storytelling, it always feels healing. It gives me hope that there is more to our existence than what we ordinarily see.


I wrote...

Church Of The Old Mermaids

By Kim Antieau,

Book cover of Church Of The Old Mermaids

What is my book about?

When the Old Sea dried up, the Old Mermaids were cast onto the New Desert in Arizona where they exchanged their finware for skinware and had to find a new way to live. Myla Alvarez tells their stories at the Church of the Old Mermaids in downtown Tucson to raise money to support the migrants she shelters on the land she caretakes. The border lands can be both wondrous and dangerous, and Myla works hard to build a safe place for the people she has pledged to protect. The Old Mermaids, based on ancient goddesses, embody the ultimate truth: there is more to our world than we know.

The books I picked & why

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The Coma Monologues

By Mario Milosevic,

Book cover of The Coma Monologues

Why this book?

In The Thousand and One Nights, Scheherazade famously told stories to keep herself alive. In this novel the wife of a man in a coma uses stories to coax him back to life. The storytellers she brings to his hospital bedside include a raven, a ghost, a centaur, and Scheherazade herself. Even a house gets a monologue here. I love how this book brings the mythic aspects of life into every day for the purpose of healing. The underneath here is the man’s subconscious. The entities speaking to him exist in the every day; we just don’t normally see them. This book brings them all to life. A beautiful story beautifully told.  

The Coma Monologues

By Mario Milosevic,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Coma Monologues as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do stories have the power to heal? For Gary Hawken, life in a coma offers few perks. Nurses care for him and people sit by his bed and tell him stories, but the glorious mess of life passes him by. In a world where survival depends on his ability to understand his stories, Gary must recognize the value of his own soul. A hypnotic tale of one man’s struggle to find the truth in his own epic life.


Like Water for Chocolate

By Laura Esquivel,

Book cover of Like Water for Chocolate

Why this book?

In Like Water for Chocolate, how people feel when they are cooking affects what they are creating, and the people eating that food feel what the cook was feeling. I love that. It shows how truly magical, healing, and transformative cooking can be even though it is an ordinary everyday task that most of us perform. Each chapter has a recipe, and each recipe is tinged with magic. As a bonus, the book taught me to pay attention to how I feel when I cook—I try not to cry or be angry when preparing dishes. Just in case.

Like Water for Chocolate

By Laura Esquivel,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Like Water for Chocolate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INTOXICATING INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER ABOUT LOVE, COOKING AND MAGIC. PERFECT FOR FANS OF JOANNE HARRIS AND ISABEL ALLENDE.

'This magical, mythical, moving story of love, sacrifice and summering sensuality is something I will savour for a long time' MAUREEN LIPMAN

Like Water For Chocolate tells the captivating story of the De la Garza family. As the youngest daughter, Tita is forbidden by Mexican tradition to marry. Instead, she pours all of her emotions into her delicious recipes, which she shares with readers along the way.When Tita falls in love with Pedro, he is seduced by the magical food she cooks.…


Journey of the Pink Dolphins

By Sy Montgomery,

Book cover of Journey of the Pink Dolphins

Why this book?

The author went on a journey to discover all she could about the pink dolphins (the botos) of Brazil, but she soon found herself immersed in the folklore and myth of this very real animal. She learns that people who live with the botos believe the dolphins are shapeshifters who live human-like lives in an amazing underwater world—the Encante—where everything in life is better. Even so, they come out of the water as human beings to visit our world and interact with the locals. They can only be recognized by the hats they wear to cover the blowholes in the tops of their heads. I love the feeling this book gives that we are constantly walking with the enchanted.  

Journey of the Pink Dolphins

By Sy Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Journey of the Pink Dolphins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

By the acclaimed author of The Soul of an Octopus and the bestselling memoir The Good Good Pig.

When Sy Montgomery ventured into the Amazon to unlock the mysteries of the littleknown pink dolphins, she found ancient whales that plied the Amazon River at dawn and dusk, swam through treetops in flooded forests, and performed underwater ballets with their flexible bodies. But she soon found out that to know the botos, as the dolphins are locally called, you must also know the people who live among them.

And so in Journey of the Pink Dolphins, Montgomery-part naturalist, part poet, part…


Grandmothers of The Light: A Medicine Woman's Sourcebook

By Paula Gunn Allen,

Book cover of Grandmothers of The Light: A Medicine Woman's Sourcebook

Why this book?

This is Paula Gunn Allen’s modern-day retelling of many Native American tales. They feature talking animals, shape-shifting bears, and creation stories. Here, we see how the underneath comes to the surface in wondrous and awe-inspiring ways. The ordinary walks with the extraordinary. In fact, the ordinary is extraordinary. Allen sees power in these tales for women, and that’s what I loved about this book. These stories are part of a female shamanic tradition; they are in many ways medicinal. 

Grandmothers of The Light: A Medicine Woman's Sourcebook

By Paula Gunn Allen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Grandmothers of The Light as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This extraordinary collection of goddess stories from Native American civilizations across the continent, Paula Gunn Allen shares myths that have guided female shamans toward an understanding of the sacred for centuries.


Jack the Giant-Killer

By Charles de Lint,

Book cover of Jack the Giant-Killer

Why this book?

Once again, the ordinary and the extraordinary are nearly one and the same. In this book, as in all of Charles’s books, the Otherworld—in this case the faery world—is with us now. Charles is a pioneer of urban fantasy and always writes entertaining and amazing books. I love his characters. They are alive and fascinating. He plays with names and gender: for example, Jack is a woman. He invites us to pay attention to the Otherworld. He also shows us that giving the faery realm its due is not running away from reality. In this novel, stories help us to heal and live in the here and now with joy and vigor.

Jack the Giant-Killer

By Charles de Lint,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jack the Giant-Killer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

De Lint at his best. When Jacky's boyfriend walks out, her life changes more than she could ever imagine. In a fit of angst she chops off her long blond hair then goes out to wander the streets of Ottawa. She's startled out of her reverie by a faceless gang of bikers attacking a small man whose body disappears, leaving behind only a red cap. The cap shows Jacky an unimaginable side of Ottawa and sets her on an impossible quest to save the good fairies from their evil counterparts.

Luck, magic, and love bring to life a perilous, rollicking…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in dolphins, Mexico, and Native Americans?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about dolphins, Mexico, and Native Americans.

Dolphins Explore 15 books about dolphins
Mexico Explore 137 books about Mexico
Native Americans Explore 161 books about Native Americans

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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