10 books like Norse Mythology

By Neil Gaiman,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Norse Mythology. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Beowulf

By Seamus Heaney,

Book cover of Beowulf

Beowulf is fascinating because it was written in Angle-land, probably Suffolk, probably in the 900s AD, when the Angles (Southern Scandinavians) held sway, with the Danes in Northumbria and Mercia, before the Anglo Saxons began to create the first truly English dynasty in Alfred the Great. It tells of a hero from Geats (in modern Sweden, possibly in the 600s AD) who rids the king of the Danes of the monster Grendel. Of all the translations Seamus Heany is the most vigorous and beautiful, and I often return to it as a reference.

Beowulf

By Seamus Heaney,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Beowulf as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Composed towards the end of the first millennium, the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf is one of the great Northern epics and a classic of European literature. In his new translation, Seamus Heaney has produced a work which is both true, line by line, to the original poem, and an expression, in its language and music, of something fundamental to his own creative gift.

The poem is about encountering the monstrous, defeating it, and then having to live on, physically and psychically exposed, in that exhausted aftermath. It is not hard to draw parallels between this story and the history of the…


Norse Mythology

By John Lindow,

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

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.

Norse Mythology

By John Lindow,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Norse Mythology as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Norse Mythology explores the magical myths and legends of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Viking-Age Greenland-outlining along the way the prehistoric tales and beliefs from these regions that have remained embedded in the imagination of the world.

The book begins with an Introduction that helps put Scandinavian mythology in place in history, followed by a chapter that explains the meaning of mythic time, and a third section that presents in-depth explanations of each mythological term. These fascinating entries identify particular deities and giants, as well as the places where they dwell and the varied and wily means by which they…


Norse Myths

By Carolyne Larrington,

Book cover of Norse Myths: A Guide to the Gods and Heroes

There are many books that aim to provide a succinct, coherent introduction to the subject of Norse mythology. Few, however, manage to so with the clarity and authority of Professor Carolyne Larrington’s The Norse Myths: A Guide to the Gods and Heroes. This book deals with all of the critical aspects of the mythos: from Ginnungagap (‘the howling void’) to Ragnarök (‘the doom of the gods’) by way of Yggdrasil the world-tree, the divine families (the Æsir and the Vanir) and the giants who opposed them, as well as the doings of human heroes like Sigurd the Volsung. This is an excellent introduction to the subject that includes retellings of many of the most important myths alongside illustrations and vital historical and literary context. If you are just beginning your journey into this realm of monsters and gods, there are few better places to start.

Norse Myths

By Carolyne Larrington,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Norse Myths as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Who were the Norse gods - the mighty AEsyr, led by Odinn, and the mysterious Vanir? In The Norse Myths we meet this passionate and squabbling pantheon, and learn of the mythological cosmos they inhabit. Passages translated from the Old Norse bring this legendary world to life, from the myths of creation to ragnaroek, the prophesied end of the world at the hands of Loki's army of monsters and giants, and everything that comes in between: the problematic relationship between the gods and the giants, in which enmity and trickery are punctuated by marriages and seductions; the (mis) adventures of…


Norse Myths

By Kevin Crossley-Holland,

Book cover of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings

The way these stories are phrased here makes this my favourite set of retellings. Crossley-Holland’s choice of words evokes the original Norse. He uses alliteration, mainly when describing land and sea, and he is very careful to use words that come from Old English, a sister language to Old Norse, in preference to words from Latin, Greek, and post-Latin languages. There are plenty of other retellings that cover similar ground, but none with quite this joy in the energy of the original.

Norse Myths

By Kevin Crossley-Holland,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Norse Myths as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

With colour artwork by Gillian McClure, a collection of Norse myths.


Norse Mythology for Kids

By Mathias Nordvig,

Book cover of Norse Mythology for Kids: Tales of Gods, Creatures, and Quests

Kevin Crossley-Holland published excerpts from his Norse Myths as a book for children. But as a child’s first introduction to the tales, it might be too poetic. I’d recommend, instead, Norse Mythology for Kids by Mathias Nordvig.

Nordvig retells the myths as your wise uncle might—if he happened to be Loki, the trickster god. For Nordvig not only blends different versions of a tale, but he also adds bits he thinks our original sources shouldn’t have left out.

Into that “mist world” at time’s beginning, for instance, Nordvig inserts a loon who helps the goddess Jord build the Earth. It’s a tale I’m familiar with from Native American mythology, but as Nordvig asserts, the Norse stories “are still alive.” And to keep them that way, we need to make them our own.

Norse Mythology for Kids

By Mathias Nordvig,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Norse Mythology for Kids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Awaken a sense of adventure (and maybe a Kraken) with a collection of Norse mythology for kids 8 to 12

What is more awesome than the hammer-wielding thunder-god, Thor; the Queen of Asgard and all-knowing goddess, Frigg; or the gigantic sea serpent, Jormungand? Norse Mythology for Kids transports you into the Nordic lands where extraordinary creatures like giants, dwarfs, elves, and monsters walked among fearless gods and goddesses.

Featuring timeless stories from such countries as Iceland, Norway, and Denmark, this is your entryway into the magical world of Scandinavian folklore. With vividly detailed illustrations that pair with each myth, you’ll…


D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths

By Ingri D'Aulaire, Edgar Parin D'Aulaire,

Book cover of D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths

The D'Aulaire's book is a visual feast of stories from the land of ice, fire and Viking culture. The tales are well-told and exciting. It comes with lively illustrations which offer children who haven't encountered Thor, Odin, Freya or Loki before, a panorama of this marvelous world and the many adventures of the Norse Gods.

D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths

By Ingri D'Aulaire, Edgar Parin D'Aulaire,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Caldecott medal-winning d'Aulaires once again captivate their young audience with this beautifully illustrated introduction to Norse legends, telling stories of Odin the All-father, Thor the Thunder-god and the theft of his hammer, Loki the mischievous god of the Jotun Race, and Ragnarokk, the destiny of the gods. Children meet Bragi, the god of poetry, and the famous Valkyrie maidens, among other gods, goddesses, heroes, and giants. Illustrations throughout depict the wondrous other world of Norse folklore and its fantastical Northern landscape.


Thor

By Jack Kirby, Stan Lee,

Book cover of Thor: Tales Of Asgard

This series of short back-up strips in the 1960s Thor comic from Marvel retold and embellished on the myths in characteristically bombastic Lee/Kirby fashion. While Thor himself, in the main feature, battled costumed supervillains in contemporary New York, the supporting feature dealt with his youth, his allies and enemies in Asgard itself and the rest of the Nine Realms, and a whole host of sorcerers, witches, and grotesque monsters. Kirby in particular seemed enthused by the project and it shows in his artwork.

Thor

By Jack Kirby, Stan Lee,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Never has Thor been more sensational than during these early tales, crafted by Marvel's greatest, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Re-live Stan and Jack's stories of the Norse Gods and Thor before he came to Earth as Don Blake. Witness as these masters breathe life into the thunder god. Read these stories as never before with all-new, modern coloring and six interlocking covers by Olivier Coipel.

Collecting:

Thor: Tales of Asgard by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby #1-6


The Prose Edda

By Snorri Sturluson, Jesse L. Byock (translator),

Book cover of The Prose Edda

For serious readers of Norse mythology, its origins in literature and early culture the Byock translation of the 13th-century text by Snorri Sturluson presents the Viking equivalent of Heroditus’ Histories of the Ancient Greeks and the religious texts of the Abrahamic religions. It’s a thrilling read and forms the basis of all modern versions of Viking legend. I still refer to this, years after first reading it.

The Prose Edda

By Snorri Sturluson, Jesse L. Byock (translator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Prose Edda as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The most renowned of all works of Scandinavian literature and our most extensive source of Norse mythology

Written in Iceland a century after the close of the Viking Age, The Prose Edda tells ancient stories of the Norse creation epic and recounts the battles that follow as gods, giants, dwarves and elves struggle for survival. In prose interspersed with powerful verse, the Edda shows the gods' tragic realization that the future holds one final cataclysmic battle, Ragnarok, when the world will be destroyed. These tales have proved to be among the most influential of all myths and legends, inspiring works…


Gods and Myths of Northern Europe

By H.R. Ellis Davidson,

Book cover of Gods and Myths of Northern Europe

This is less about the myths themselves and more about the culture that spawned them. Ellis Davidson’s analysis of Nordic pre-Christian religion is sober but accessible, and comparisons are made with other contemporary belief systems such as the Celts’ and the ancient Britons’. The book nicely ties together the disparate tales much as the world tree, Yggdrasil, is said to have tied together the Nine Realms.

Gods and Myths of Northern Europe

By H.R. Ellis Davidson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gods and Myths of Northern Europe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Surveys the pre-Christian beliefs of the Scandinavian and Germanic peoples. Provides an introduction to this subject, giving basic outlines to the sagas and stories, and helps identify the charachter traits of not only the well known but also the lesser gods of the age.


The Wanderer's Havamal

By Unknown, Jackson Crawford (translator),

Book cover of The Wanderer's Havamal

This Old Norse poem was part of the collection of works included in the Poetic Edda, written around 1300 CE and collected by Snorri Sturlusson. It centers around the god Odin and includes advice for life and love, the story of Odin’s self-sacrifice on the World Tree of Yggdrasil, and eighteen spells Odin claims to know. The book provides revealing details about life in Viking times, but my favorite part is the section on spells, which include healing, manipulating metal so weapons do less damage, escape artistry, redirecting curses, calming winds, and even resurrection. Hávamál isn’t as popular as some of the other poems, but it’s worth a read for the insights into the god Odin and what makes him tick.

The Wanderer's Havamal

By Unknown, Jackson Crawford (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Wanderer's Havamal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Wanderer's Havamal features Jackson Crawford's complete, carefully revised English translation of the Old Norse poem Havamal , newly annotated for this volume, together with facing original Old Norse text sourced directly from the Codex Regius manuscript. Rounding out the volume are Crawford's classic Cowboy Havamal and translations of other related texts central to understanding the character, wisdom, and mysteries of odinn (Odin). Portable and reader-friendly, it makes an ideal companion for both lovers of Old Norse mythology and those new to the wisdom of this central Eddic poem wherever they may find themselves.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Norse mythology, mythology, and Old Norse?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Norse mythology, mythology, and Old Norse.

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