Friday, May 25, 2012

Percy Jackson and more...

It seems most American school kids of the 70s and 80s (like me) learned about Greek and Roman mythology sometime between third and sixth grade. I'm not sure it's still a regular part of the curriculum, but Rick Riordan has filled the void! He is the creator of the Percy Jackson series of books. My kids (and my husband) devoured them -- along with millions of other young readers. I've been able to glean that Percy Jackson is half-human and half-god and goes on quests based on classic Greek mythology set in modern time. How fun is that? Riordan continued his success with the Kane Chronicles, using the same basic formula but with Egyptian mythology.

Look! The Kane Chronicles are stacked up on the shelf in our office (joined by the Harry Potter series in the back and other treasures).

I think it's going to be a stretch for me to find inspiration that is truly grounded in mythology of some kind. Stretch is good, right? Luckily, mythology is so broad -- as evidenced by Greek, Roman and Egyptian in the Riordan books alone.

So, I've begun digging and I'm starting with Egyptian imagery. Check out these great lines and patterns!

What are your favorite books incorporating mythology?


Kristin L said...

I've mentioned here and on my blog that Joseph Campbell's opus, Hero With a Thousand Faces was, and still is, a major influence on me. He compares themes throughout myths of many cultures. I went through a Greek mythology phase in middle school and have always been partial to Medusa (BTW, is anyone familiar with the book Voyage of the Basset? Great illustrations!!). Does Arthurian legend count? I love me some King Arthur and crew. The Mists of Avalon is my favorite interpretation.

Brenda Gael Smith said...

I am not sure if this is a typical Generation X kiwi experience but, as far as I recall, I passed through primary, secondary and tertiary education systems without studying Greek or Roman civilisation or mythology (the Socratic method in law school doesn't count). I can rattle off a few gods and goddesses here and there but I'm hazy on the stories. I am much better on Maori legends

I devoured the Tales of Narnia and have a treasured copy of the Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles. And like any good redhead I readth Anne of Green Gables books over and over, most recently on my ipad at Christmas.

In researching this theme, it is clear to me that mythology is a HUGE subject.

Gerrie said...

Mia and Miles have studied Greek mythology. When one of my friends pronounced me to be dionysian as opposed to Appolonian, Mia knew exactly what that meant. Hmm - the god of wine and joy - I could run with that!

Terry said...

I remember studying Greek and Roman myths--I am thinking it was in Jr. High. Our text was the Edith Hamilton book, which seemed to be quite universal among folks of my age. We all had a tattered paperback copy of the book that kicked around for years. Mine disappeared somewhere along the line.

I did not connect to mythology at that point. The gods and goddesses seemed so vengeful and rigid and, frankly, so unreasonable! I do, however, think from time to time about the story of Narcissus. This is one myth that seems to resonate when I try to understand the behavior I see in some people. (snort!)

I connect more with creation myths and stories of indigenous peoples, like Native Americans and the Aztecs and Maori, as well as world religions. My idea for this theme involves a certain commonality among many of those native mythologies, but I feel rather poorly educated about mythology on the whole. I think I have some reading to do.

RainbowCatcher said...

My favourite mythology is a fictional one: Tolkien's Middle-earth. I dearly love "The Lord of the Rings" and his other works! His fascinating creation myth (as told in "The Silmarillion") involves music!