History and Mythology are the two most interesting subjects ever. They are connected yet not the same. My love for mythology is eternal. I primarily started obsessing over the Indian folklores and eventually found my way into the Scandanavian world of Gods and Heroes. You can also read about “Percy Jackson” author Rick Riordan and his link with Norse Mythology.
Norse Mythology is everywhere these days. It’s there if you love movies, we have Marvel’s very own “Thor” (along with Odin, Valkyrie, etc.) character and with the recent “Thor: Love and Thunder” movie too. We also have the “Loki” TV Series on Disney+ OTT. Last but not least, Netlix’s “Vikings” series – a perfect world surrounding this mythology. And many many more.
Best Norse Mythology Books!
It’s there if you love gaming too, the “God of War” game (Available for PS & PC) series recently jumped into the Norse universe and we are so so excited for the “God of War Ragnarök” PlayStation game. And yes, Ubisoft’s recent entry to this Norse world too, we have “Assassin Creed Valhalla” and their “Dawn of Ragnarök” Expansion. All this stuff makes us very excited to know more about Norse Myths.
There is something magically unique about Norse Mythology. It’s natural and supernatural, all at the same time. When you look at it as a branch of literature, it’s one of the most challenging subjects ever. If you are looking to expand your knowledge, here are the best books to read and learn about Norse Mythology. This list contains beginner, intermediate, and advanced level book recommendations. So, there’s something for everyone here!
1. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. I admire his immense knowledge, lucid storytelling skills, and unique temperament. He is one of a kind, and he must be treasured forever. I’ve read a bunch of books by Neil Gaiman, and the one thing that stays constant is the way he manages to ignite curiosity inside his readers. Norse Mythology is one of his best works and is also one of the best books on this subject. This book is a collection of stories. There are 16 chapters in this book that explain the Norse mythology concepts and the founding pillars of the Northern Germanic peoples. You’ll find three primary characters in this book – Odin, Thor, and Loki. I don’t know if Neil Gaiman wrote this book keeping the beginners in mind, but this is excellent if you’re a complete beginner and have no idea about Norse Mythology. It’s a great starting point and a must-read book for all readers. You can get the book here! 📖
2. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
I swear this is not a fan blog dedicated to Neil Gaiman! But I cannot help it. I am recommending this book to you since you’re invested in Norse Mythology already. Now, this is not your typical mythology book. This is a fantasy book with a mix of various cultures and tribes characters. You’ll find Hindu gods in here too! I was pleasantly surprised to read Neil Gaiman’s take on Hindu Gods and how beautifully he weaved them into the story. Coming back to Norse mythology, you’ll find multiple Norse Gods in this book, and each one will take you by surprise. This is neither a retelling nor a dedicated book about Norse Gods or mythology, but in a way, it introduces you to Norse Gods through a fantastical approach. In this book, you’ll understand the character traits, temperament, and overall personalities of some famous Norse gods. You’ll also get an understanding of their relationship with one another. This book is a rollercoaster ride. It has so many twists and turns that you’ll be left speechless. After all, what else can you expect from the master storyteller Neil Gaiman, right? He is brilliant, and so is this book! You can get the book here! 📖
3. The D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
Children love mythology. At least, I did when I was a little kid. The D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths is written for children. It is full of beautiful, vivid illustrations, which makes the book way more interactive and visual. This book is excellent for the reader to get introduced to the Norse legends like Odin the All-father, The Thunder God Thor, The Mischievous God Loki, etc. The book will take you on a ride to the northern landscape through its illustrations and warm you up with the Norse folklore. This book is the perfect book for children, as it will not only entertain them but also inculcate the habit of reading. You can get the book here! 📖
4. The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún by J. R. R. Tolkien
We are all aware of J.R.R. Tolkein’s mastery of storytelling. He was a legend and will always be the greatest of all time. The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun is his interpretation of the two ancient epic poems. Translating ancient poetry with its essence and history kept intact is tricky. But J.R.R. Tolkein managed to capture the magic like no other. The verses are nothing less than profound, and I highly encourage you not to think twice before getting this book. It’s a no-brainer. Every mythology lover should read this. You can get the book here! 📖
5. Gods and Myths of Northern Europe by H.R. Ellis Davidson
Gods and Myths of Northern Europe by H.R. Ellis Davidson is a significant academic book that throws light on Norse Mythology. It’s great for those looking for deeper explanations for some aspects. Primarily students or researchers. I especially loved how Davidson explained the influence of Christianity on Norse Mythology and how the Norse religion influenced Christianity. The comparison between different beliefs also interested me greatly. Overall, if you’re a fan of reading about the culture and ideas founded in ancient Northern Europe, then this book will help you become an expert on the subject. You can get the book here! 📖
6. The Viking Spirit: An Introduction to Norse Mythology and Religion by Daniel McCoy
Daniel McCoy is the creator of the popular website Norse Mythology for Smart People. The website is written for scholarly people who are deeply curious about Norse mythology. His book The Viking Spirit explains the Viking religion and culture in great detail. It’s a comprehensive book that must be read for research, etc. This book will introduce you to the Viking Gods and Goddesses. You will learn about their belief system, their concept of destiny, their thoughts on the afterlife, etc. The Viking Spirit is one of the best books to dive deep into the world of Norse Mythology. You can get the book here! 📖
7. Norse Gods by Johan Egerkrans
John Egerkrans wrote this book in Swedish, which got an incredible response immediately after its release. In this book, you will find short retellings of the great Norse Heroes, Giants, Monsters, Dwarves, etc. The translated language is simple and easy to understand. The accounts are also accurate to the authentic ancient texts from the Medieval Icelandic literary works. But the star value of this book lies in the gorgeous illustrations you’ll find inside it. The images are grand and magnificent. You’ll be transported to a different world when you open this book. It’s not just a book but, in fact, an overall experience that every Norse Mythology fan should experience once in their lifetime! You can get the book here! 📖
8. Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings by Kevin Crossley-Holland
Here’s a confession, I love reading about history, mythology, and other exciting subjects. And I love it when I read the authentic equivalents of the same. However, most of these books are written in a profoundly academic language, making them difficult to read and, to an extent, dull. This is why Norse Myths by Kevin Crossley-Holland is one of my favorite books on this subject. The author has a very upbeat, lively approach which makes the book exciting and easily graspable. However, the author hasn’t kept any stones unturned to deliver the most authentic myths without blandly stuffing footnotes with statements. If you’re a connoisseur of mythology, you must add this book to your reading list. You can get the book here! 📖
9. The Saga of the Icelanders by Jane Smiley
In Iceland, the Saga Age is another name for the Age of the Vikings. This book is a collection of stories and sagas of Icelandic men and women from the 10th century to the 12th century. The book takes you on a journey of the Vikings, from Norway to Iceland to Greenland and then finally exploring the North American lands. The vivid writing will make you gasp in places, as the descriptions are pretty gory and dark. So, overall this book is like your ticket to this unbelievable adventure. You can get the book here! 📖
10. Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the making of the Norse Myths by Nancy Marie Brown
Snorri Sturluson was a 13th-century Icelandic writer, poet, politician, and historian. He spent a considerable period in Norway. Sagas are verbal histories, and Snorri spent his valuable years collecting and recording sagas, helping us explore the history of Norway and Iceland today. His work, the Prose Edda (assumed to be written by him or compiled by him), is the only original manuscript that lays the foundation of all Norse myths. Because of Snorri, we can explore so much about the Vikings and their religion. Famous authors like Tolkein himself took inspiration and knowledge from Snorri’s work. Song of the Vikings is an excellent book if you want to learn more about Snorri. It’s a must-read for every Norse Mythology fan. You can get the book here! 📖
11. The Poetic Edda: Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes by Jackson Crawford
Historically known as The Edda, the 13th-century Old Norse Textbook assumably written or at least compiled by Snorri Sturluson is the account of the origin of the Norse Mythology. For a long time, scholars and mythology connoisseurs have waited for someone to translate the Edda so that it becomes accessible yet stays as genuine and authentic as possible. And Jackson Crawford has managed to do precisely that. Every Norse Mythology scholar must read this book. You can get the book here! 📖
12. Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs by John Lindow
John Lindow has done a fantastic job at showcasing the relationship between Scandanavian myth and its history & culture. The tales in this book range from the very beginning of the Universe to the evolution of human beings and myths. It’s a beautifully scenic book with graphic descriptions of the gorgeous Scandinavian landscape. Once you start reading this book, in no time, you’ll be lost in its mesmerizing narrative. I highly recommend this book to my fellow readers. You can get the book here! 📖
13. The Gospel of Loki by Joanne M. Harris
This is the book for you if you have a thing for the Norse God Loki. The Gospel of Loki is the first-person narrative from Loki’s perspective about the rise and fall of the Norse Gods. Loki, known as the God of Mischief, is sarcastic, hilarious, and fun. I wouldn’t exactly call this a light read, but if you’ve read a bunch of serious books on Norse Mythology, then this book will be like a breath of fresh air. You can get the book here! 📖
14. The Saga of the Volsungs: With the Saga of Ragnar Lothbrok by Jackson Crawford
The Old Norse-Icelandic literature is rich with sagas and tales of ultimate heroes. The Saga of Volsungs is a book about the dragon slayer Sigurd and his family. The book is wonderfully translated by Jackson Crawford, who translated the Edda. This book is significant for scholars and teachers. So, don’t miss out on this book if you are a fan! You can get the book here! 📖
15. Nordic Runes: Understanding, Casting, and Interpreting the Ancient Viking Oracle by Paul Rhys Mountfort
Nordin Runes is a book for those deeply researching Norse Mythology. Throughout this book, the author mentions the Elder Futhark runes, a collection or set of twenty-four symbols. Scandanavia and other Northern European regions used this set of characters for writing. You will learn about the symbolism of the twenty-four runes and their role in the Norse culture. Overall, this book is packed with knowledge about Norse Mythology, making it a must-read. You can get the book here! 📖
16. The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson
The Prose Edda is the treasure trove of Norse Mythology. The 13th-century Icelandic writer, poet, politician, and historian Snorri Sturluson recorded verbal histories, also known as sagas, and compiled them into the historically known Edda. All our knowledge and wisdom of the Norse religion comes from his works. So, if you want to reach the source directly, this is the book you should be reading. You can get the book here! 📖
When you realize that Norse Mythology doesn’t just mean Odin and Thor is the moment when you understand the magnitude of the historical significance of this subject. So many scholars, academics, and researchers have spent years discovering more and more information about the Norse Gods and Goddesses. Today, these Best Norse Mythology books make it easy for us to learn about all their literature. The above list of books is enough for any Norse mythology connoisseur. So, go ahead and add these to your bucket list.
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