Myth Monday: Book Recs

Last week on Myth Monday: Atrahasis and the Mesopotamian creation and flood myths

This week I have a couple of mythology collections to recommend to you, outside of my usual Greco-Roman fare.

Ananse the Spider: Tales From an Ashanti Village by Peggy Appiah and illustrated by Peggy Wilson

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From Ananse The Spider

The Trickster is one of my favorite mythological archetypes, and Ananse is one of the best. Tricksters like Ananse tend to cause a lot of chaos while they break the rules and act out, but every story needs some conflict, and tricksters are great at producing conflict.

There are thirteen stories in Ananse the Spider, usually featuring Ananse outsmarting someone, but sometimes the opposite happens. If you’re unfamiliar with the stories of Ananse, which originated in Ghana, West Africa, this collection is a good place to start. The stories are entertaining and straightforward, and the illustrations are excellent. If you’ve studied Ananse before, this is still a nice place to go for a few good tales of your favorite tricksy spider-god.

The Water of Kane and Other Legends of the Hawaiian Islands compiled by Mary Kawena Puku’i and Caroline Curtis, illustrated by Oliver C. Kinney

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Honu and the rainbow, from The Water of Kane

This book contains legends from the island of Hawaii, as well as its surrounding islands, and is a very interesting read. There are a few formulaic love stories, but otherwise there is a lot of diversity in the kinds of stories being told and in the kinds of heroes/heroines that feature in them. I especially liked “The Mischievous Boy of Maui,” a coming-of-age story about a kid who is too clever for his own good and has to out-trick the spirits to prove himself. The stories in this collection can be very complex, and many of the quests are fascinating and very different from the western ones I, at least, am used to.

Coming up on Myth Monday:: further Mesopotamian shenanigans, Percy Jackson, and more book reviews

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