45 books like The Nibelungenlied

By Unknown, A.T. Hatto (translator),

Here are 45 books that The Nibelungenlied fans have personally recommended if you like The Nibelungenlied. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Beowulf

Jake Jackson Author Of Norse Myths

From my list on Norse mythology from a wide range of perspectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about mythology, history, art, music, and cosmology. I also write science fiction. Mythology for me is an expression of a people trying to explain the world around them within the limits of their own knowledge. We are the same. Our search to understand the origins of the universe are limited by our language and mathematics, as were the Scandinavians who discovered countries for the first time, always expanding their horizons and adapting their legends accordingly. The Vikings had a rare vitality that sprang from every mythic tale and I love to explore both the deep origins of their worldview, and their influence in the cultures of today.

Jake's book list on Norse mythology from a wide range of perspectives

Jake Jackson Why did Jake love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of The Odyssey

Sylvia Kelso Author Of Everran's Bane

From my list on journeys in them.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child, I wanted to be either a chook (chicken) farmer or an archaeologist. In high school, my Latin teacher gave me a copy of The Hobbit and changed my passion to travel, which, for Australians, mostly means, Overseas. In second year University, The Lord of the Rings cemented that longing, and I have "travelled" Overseas almost annually ever since. But a long research trip for a historical novel taught me that the best travel is a journey: travel with a purpose. And whether or not I'm on a plane, train, bus, or foot myself, some of my favourite reading has always been books with journeys at their heart. 

Sylvia's book list on journeys in them

Sylvia Kelso Why did Sylvia love this book?

Journeys are most often linear – Here to There – or circular – "There and Back Again." The Odyssey is actually a return leg in the most traumatic and perennial circular journey: going to war, and then, getting back. "Wily" (in modern terms, read, "sneaky," "trickster")  Odysseus left Troy a famous warrior, but takes seven years to get home. The fabulous episodes of that journey, the Cyclops, the Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, Circe, and Calypso, the wreck in Phaeacia that leaves him bereft even of clothes, have grounded the Western imagination. But the concluding little things – the recognition scenes, the dog that dies, and the nurse who doesn't – push that epic past into a close, human Now.

By Homer, T.E. Shaw (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Homer's epic chronicle of the Greek hero Odysseus' journey home from the Trojan War has inspired  writers from Virgil to James Joyce. Odysseus  survives storm and shipwreck, the cave of the Cyclops  and the isle of Circe, the lure of the Sirens' song  and a trip to the Underworld, only to find his  most difficult challenge at home, where treacherous  suitors seek to steal his kingdom and his loyal  wife, Penelope. Favorite of the gods, Odysseus  embodies the energy, intellect, and resourcefulness  that were of highest value to the ancients and that  remain ideals in out time.

In this  new…


Book cover of The Ramayana

Nicholas Jubber Author Of Epic Continent: Adventures in the Great Stories of Europe

From my list on the greatest epics from around the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nicholas Jubber has written for the Guardian, Irish Times and Telegraph, amongst other publications. He has won the Dolman Travel Book Award, for which he has been shortlisted three times, and his books have been picked by National Geographic, Wanderlust and the New York Times, amongst other publications, for their books of the year.

Nicholas' book list on the greatest epics from around the world

Nicholas Jubber Why did Nicholas love this book?

The scale of this ancient Indian epic is off the charts, fusing Hindu iconography with story beats of startling familiarity. Monkeys build a bridge between India and Sri Lanka, an army of demons takes on the vanguard of the gods and the villain is felled by a celestial bow. An influence on storytelling down the ages – notably Star Wars – it’s a tale as exciting as it is charming, with a surprisingly downbeat coda, as Queen Sita discovers that being rescued by her divine husband isn’t enough to survive the prejudices of her age.

Which version to read? Arshia Sattar’s 1996 translation is available in Penguin translation. I can’t testify to its accuracy, but it’s a magnificent read.

By Valmiki, Arshia Sattar (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

One of India's greatest epics, the Ramayana pervades the country's moral and cultural consciousness. For generations it has served as a bedtime story for Indian children, while at the same time engaging the interest of philosophers and theologians. Believed to have been composed by Valmiki sometime between the eighth and sixth centuries BC, the Ramayana tells the tragic and magical story of Rama, the prince of Ayodhya, an incarnation of Lord Visnu, born to rid the earth of the terrible demon Ravana. An idealized heroic tale ending with the inevitable triumph of good over evil, the Ramayana is also an…


Book cover of Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings

Nicholas Jubber Author Of Epic Continent: Adventures in the Great Stories of Europe

From my list on the greatest epics from around the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

Nicholas Jubber has written for the Guardian, Irish Times and Telegraph, amongst other publications. He has won the Dolman Travel Book Award, for which he has been shortlisted three times, and his books have been picked by National Geographic, Wanderlust and the New York Times, amongst other publications, for their books of the year.

Nicholas' book list on the greatest epics from around the world

Nicholas Jubber Why did Nicholas love this book?

Thousands of years and fifty reigns are dramatised in this chronicle of sixty thousand verses. Set down in the eleventh century by an engagingly grumpy Persian poet who enjoyed the odd cup of wine and fretted about his finances. In the process, he saved (as some would have it) the Persian language and culture. The resonance of his tales has endured down the centuries: traveling in Iran, I met artists who used the story of a snake-shouldered tyrant who gobbles the brains of young men as a parable for the inter-generational tensions of the mullahcracy and the trauma of the Iran-Iraq War; whilst the romance of a beautiful long-haired princess and her tower-climbing lover is the earliest recorded iteration of ‘Rapunzel’.

Which version to read: The nineteenth-century Warner brothers produced an atmospheric full translation, but for a more modern abridgment, I’d recommend The Epic of the Kings, translated by Reuben…

By Abolqasem Ferdowsi, Reuben Levy (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

....


Book cover of Tales of Ancient Egypt

Angela Cecil Reid Author Of Nile Cat

From my list on deciphering ancient Egypt.

Why am I passionate about this?

For as long as I can remember I have been intrigued by a family mystery. Names such as Howard Carter, Tutankhamun, and Didlington Hall permeated my childhood along with phrases such as ‘a mummy’s curse’ and ‘financial disaster’. Something had happened years before I was born, which no one would discuss. As an adult I decided to search for the truth, and on the way found inspiration to fulfil a long held ambition, which was to write. I discovered that my family had played a vital, but often forgotten, role in Howard Carter's discovery of Tutankhamun. Our story is of wealth lost, extraordinary characters, passion and tragedy, but through it all Egypt winds like a twist of golden thread.

Angela's book list on deciphering ancient Egypt

Angela Cecil Reid Why did Angela love this book?

This was my introduction to ancient Egypt. I was twelve when I was given this book. I was immediately entranced by the beautifully told stories not only of the gods, but also of magic, shipwrecks, princesses, and thieves.

Egypt is an extraordinary country entirely reliant for thousands of years on the annual inundation of the river Nile. If the water levels were too low there was starvation, and too high there were devastating floods. In some places, the fertile area is a little wider than the flight of an arrow. With life so precarious, it is not surprising that the afterlife became so important to all Egyptians and that they spun so many myths to explain the inexplicable, and give structure to their world.

This book is a great introduction to understanding the ancient Egyptians for anyone, but particularly for younger readers of 10+.

By Roger Lancelyn Green,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

These stories include the great myths - of Amen-Ra, who created all the creatures in the world; of Isis, seaching the waters for her dead husband Osiris; of the Bennu Bird and the Book of Thoth. But there are also tales told for pleasure about magic, treasure and adventure - even the first ever Cinderella story.


Book cover of The Moonlight Sculptor: The Birth of A Dark Gamer (Book 1)

Kevin Murphy Author Of First Login

From my list on LitRPG, graphic novels, and light novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

LitRPG is special. It really is. LitRPG provides authors with some of the most powerful tools in storytelling. Computer-simulated worlds make magic fully believable. They enable giant mysteries, actual monsters, forbidden treasures, and incredibly diverse adversaries. LitRPG can be a love story or a tale of revenge. It can bring hope, despair, or just desserts. It’s a perfect vehicle for modern fantasy—a setting where the apocalypse can be at hand, where humans can fight gods, and where the world itself might be sentient. My love for LitRPG drove me to write an epic containing a series of huge, underlying mysteries that would reveal themselves over the course of the story.

Kevin's book list on LitRPG, graphic novels, and light novels

Kevin Murphy Why did Kevin love this book?

Did you know that LitRPG was originally forged in the east? The Moonlight Sculptor (or Legendary Moonlight Sculptor, LMS, as most know it) was so popular that its ravenous fans spread it to the rest of the world. The series sets up a number of important tropes for the genre going forward. Many consider LMS to be required reading, but you should know going in that it has a very spotty translation. It’s a massive body of work, too, spanning 57 published volumes.

In it, a hardworking miser pseudonymously known as Weed overprepares and over-delivers time and time again. Watching Weed grow and affect his world is exciting and addictive. LMS is really engaging. It’s an excellent, albeit silly read. If you only read one Korean LitRPG, read this one.

By Heesung Nam,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Imagining England's Past: Inspiration, Enchantment, Obsession

Charlotte Mullins Author Of A Little History of Art

From my list on the British landscape.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Yorkshire and spent many happy hours as a teenager wandering about the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, looking at giant Henry Moores in the rolling landscape. I subsequently trained as an art historian and have spent the last thirty years writing about art, from the YBAs to our prehistoric roots. A Little History of Art was borne out of this journey. Increasingly I have been drawn to researching what art can tell us about British history. My bookshelves groan with monographs but these five volumes have helped me think more deeply about Britain’s landscapes and its past. I hope they will do the same for you.

Charlotte's book list on the British landscape

Charlotte Mullins Why did Charlotte love this book?

I read an early proof of this book (it is published on 13 April 2023) and was hooked from the first page.

Owens opens with footfall on medieval castle stairs and the tread of time – only the stairs she walks on are seventeenth-century copies and are part of the ongoing mythologising of England’s past.

She covers King Arthur and the Crusades, Beowulf and Tennyson, Shell tourist guides, and the rebuilding of Coventry Cathedral. Her excellent earlier book Spirit of Place (Thames & Hudson) is focused more squarely on the British landscape but this new book connects to the myth of England, how it has been and still is constructed in all our minds.

Eye-opening and beautifully written.

By Susan Owens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Imagining England's Past as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Imagining England's Past takes a long look at the country's invented histories, from the glamorous to the disturbing, from the eighth century to the present day.

England has long built its sense of self on visions of its past. What does it mean for medieval writers to summon King Arthur from the post-Roman fog; for William Morris to resurrect the skills of the medieval workshop and Julia Margaret Cameron to portray the Arthurian court with her Victorian camera; or for Yinka Shonibare in the final years of the twentieth century to visualize a Black Victorian dandy?

By exploring the imaginations…


Book cover of Lavinia

Skye McDonald Author Of The Not So Nice Girl

From my list on making you laugh, cry, and swoon.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a woman. Laughing, crying, and swooning are all things I know intimately—sometimes heart-achingly. I’m living my life with my heart open, learning to be unashamedly me. That means I love, sometimes recklessly. That meant I hurt, sometimes more than anyone could know. And that means I swoon, not only for romance but also for the beauty of this “wild and precious life.” My recommended novels take you through all the feels. My own novels use my roots in Nashville, TN. Family and music are key. But more than that, my books are about learning to love yourself. I’ve learned personally that that’s the true happily ever after.

Skye's book list on making you laugh, cry, and swoon

Skye McDonald Why did Skye love this book?

Romance isn't the only genre I read, of course. Lavinia is written by one of my favorite authors, Ursula K LeGuin. This historical fiction novel takes a character from the ancient Aeneid and brings her to life.

In the Aeneid, Lavinia is the prize for Aeneas. But, she never speaks. Not even one word. LeGuin decided to fix that. She gives Lavinia her own story and journey. In doing so, she creates a rich protagonist who takes destiny into her own hands. 

LeGuin traditionally writes science fiction. I love how this female writer in a male-dominated genre broke out of sci-fi to bring a historical female character to proper life. This is female empowerment, and I am so here for it! Lavinia is enthralling, exciting, and impassioned. Definitely a favorite!

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Lavinia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

An exceptional combination of history and mythology - 'an intriguing, luxuriously realised novel' FINANCIAL TIMES

'Subtly moving, playful...a novel that brought me to tears more than once. Lavinia is a delightful heroine' GUARDIAN

'Like Spartan Helen, I caused a war. She caused hers by letting men who wanted her take her. I caused mine because I wouldn't be given, wouldn't be taken, but chose my man and my fate. The man was famous, the fate obscure; not a bad balance.'

Lavinia is the daughter of the King of Latium, a victorious warrior who loves peace; she is her father's closest…


Book cover of Hawaiian Mythology

Patrick Nunn Author Of The Edge of Memory: Ancient Stories, Oral Tradition and the Post-Glacial World

From my list on ancient oral traditions.

Why am I passionate about this?

Becoming immersed in oral cultures was a massive wake-up call for me! Taught to privilege the written over the spoken word, as most literate people are, it took me years of living in the Pacific Islands, travelling regularly to their remoter parts, to appreciate that people who could neither read nor write could retain huge amounts of information in their heads – and explain it effortlessly. We undervalue orality because we are literate, but that is an irrational prejudice. And as I have discovered from encounters with oral traditions throughout Australia and the Pacific, India, and northwest Europe, not only are oral traditions extensive but may be thousands of years old.

Patrick's book list on ancient oral traditions

Patrick Nunn Why did Patrick love this book?

First published in 1940, Hawaiian Mythology is an astonishingly comprehensive compilation of native Hawaiian stories and beliefs that, had it not been for the systematic – even dogged – efforts of people like Martha Beckwith may have never survived to today. This is a book to dip into, especially if you find yourself in Polynesia. The stories are factual, often unembellished, which allows you a glimpse into the soul of Pacific peoples. This book also explores the connections between (remote) Hawaii and other island groups in the western Pacific whence its people came, bearing oral memories that seeded the geography of Hawaii and directed the nature of its human occupation, probably hundreds of years before Europeans even knew the Pacific Ocean existed.

By Martha Warren Beckwith,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ku and Hina―man and woman―were the great ancestral gods of heaven and earth for the ancient Hawaiians. They were life's fruitfulness and all the generations of mankind, both those who are to come and those already born.

The Hawaiian gods were like great chiefs from far lands who visited among the people, entering their daily lives sometimes as humans or animals, sometimes taking residence in a stone or wooden idol. As years passed, the families of gods grew and included the trickster Maui, who snared the sun, and fiery Pele of the volcano.

Ancient Hawaiians lived by the animistic philosophy…


Book cover of Over Nine Waves: A Book of Irish Legends

Kieran Fanning Author Of Irish Fairy Tales, Myths and Legends

From my list on Irish fairytales, myths, and legends.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Ireland, where I was surrounded by stories, modern and ancient. Irish myths and legends formed the basis of the history curriculum for most children beginning the subject. Irish children are incredibly familiar with "The Children of Lir" and legendary heroes like Cúchulainn – we even have a rollercoaster named after him in our only proper theme park! As a teacher, I continued to retell these stories to my young, receptive audiences. When I was given the opportunity to write my own book of fairy tales, myths, and legends, I jumped at the chance. The research, including the reading of the books on this page, was almost as much fun as writing my book! 

Kieran's book list on Irish fairytales, myths, and legends

Kieran Fanning Why did Kieran love this book?

This is possibly the best collection of Irish myths and legends that I’ve read. It’s as comprehensive as Lady Gregory’s book but much more palatable. It charts the mythology of Ireland from the arrival of the Tuatha Dé Danann, right up to the arrival of Christianity. Written in clear, no-nonsense prose, this was one of my prime reference texts when writing my own book.

By Marie Heaney,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'These legends are the action-packed stories - of ancient heroes, huge battles, attempted invasions, prophecies and spells, clashes between the underworld and the real world, abductions, love affairs and feasts - which have fascinated the Irish mind for more than 2,000 years . . . Most of them have an extraordinary, stark narrative sweep, with a marvellous sense of detail . . . Heaney writes directly and fluently . . . with great tact and skill.' Sunday Times


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in legends, folklore, and Rome?

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