The ancient Greek myths have been a great source of inspiration in art and literature since antiquity and continue to inspire authors, artists, and filmmakers to the present day. From retellings that top the bestseller lists to scholarly studies, graphic novels, animated series, and podcasts, the Greek myths continue to inspire, entertain, and remind us of the profound influence of ancient Greek culture, art and literature worldwide.
For those unfamiliar with the various characters that populate the myths, it can be confusing to keep track of the many versions of their origin stories and the connections between the characters. Greek Mythology: The Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes Handbook by Liv Albert, illustrated by Sara Richard, presents a who’s who of Greek mythology, from Aphrodite to Zeus. This lighthearted volume is an easy to read guide to the most famous characters and their origins and connections to each other. Featuring fanciful illustrations, the book reached #1 on Amazon’s list of New Releases in Folklore and Mythology Studies shortly after its release on March 30.
Albert has a degree in Classical Civilizations and English Literature from Concordia University in Montreal. She is the creator, host, and producer of the popular Greek and Roman mythology podcast, Let’s Talk About Myths, Baby! where she brings her modern perspective and her education in Classical Civilizations together to explore Greek myths from a casual, humorous perspective. Her podcast is highly rated, ranked in the top 10-50 Apple Podcasts in the U.S., Canada, and the UK, and has found its way onto Spotify curated lists like “Learn Something New,” and “Podcasts That Will Make You Smarter.”
The book’s illustrator, Sara Richard, is an Eisner and Ringo Award–nominated artist from New Hampshire. She has worked in the comic book industry for eight years, mainly as a cover artist. Before that, she was a toy sculptor at Hasbro, specializing in making tiny dinosaurs. Richard’s inspiration comes from Art Deco, Art Nouveau, 1980s fashion, and Victorian-era design. When not making art or writing, she’s watching horror movies, cleaning forgotten gravestones, and collecting possibly haunted curios from the nineteenth century. Her online gallery can be found at SaraRichard.com.
Albert refers to the well-known classical sources but also to modern scholarship and retellings of the myths in contemporary fiction and film to help the reader understand the backstories of the heroes, villains, gods, and goddesses and the ways in which the adaptations diverge from the earliest tellings of the myths.
The entries outline each character’s name, roles, related symbols, and foundational myths, to explain the roots of these personas and offer insights into the stories they inspire today. This character-focused book is a handy reference for fans of Greek mythology and reminds the reader of the enduring power of these ancient stories which captivate the imagination.
The author does not shy away from the violence in many myths, so the book is not geared toward very young readers, but Millennials will definitely appreciate the tone and look. The helpful section on further reading includes several books, ancient sources, the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes, as well as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, more recent fiction based on mythology like Circe by Madeline Miller, and mythography, such as Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton and The Greek Myths by Robert Graves.
Greek Mythology: The Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes Handbook by Liv Albert, illustrated by Sara Richard, is available online and in bookstores.
More information about Liv Albert’s podcast is available online: https://www.mythsbaby.com.