Don’t want to wait for the novel to learn the whole story? Feel you’re behind the rest of the world in your knowledge of Nordic folklore? Just plain want to experience the awesomeness first hand? Here’s a list of some of the books I’ve been using for research that I recommend.
Introduction to Norse Myth
(If you’re new to the world of Asgard, or need a refresher course, or just plain don’t want to work too hard, then start here.)
Myths of the Norsemen by Roger Lancelyn Green
When it comes to mythology retellings Green is the best, hands down. He was one of the Inklings, which speaks for itself, but his narratives are straightforward, accurate, and beautiful all at the same time.
D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths
If you like your mythology to come from the children’s section, have lots of gorgeous pictures, and not be too confusing than this book is for you. It’s every bit as accurate and informative as any “adult” version, but a whole lot easier and more fun to read.
Myths of the Norsemen by Kevin Crossley-Holland
Crossley-Holland is widely accepted as one of the leading authorities on Norse Mythology, and with good reason. His Myths of the Norsemen is more comprehensive than most adaptions, including obscure sagas and poems that many authors prefer to skip over. He also provides an excellent introduction and bibliography for further study.
Introduction to Vikings
So who came up with all this stuff anyway?
Myths and Legends of the Vikings
Filled with awesome pictures of actual viking relics and gives an introduction to viking culture, viking mythology, and the basic plot of one of the sagas. A great place to start and get you appetite whetted for more.
The Vikings, by Jonathan M. Wooden
A fair historical look at who the vikings were, where they came from, where they are today, and why we should care. He especially addresses their dual nature as brutal pirates and respected family men.
Ready for the tough stuff? Yes, yes you are.
Poetic Edda, translated by Usrula Dronke
Poetic Edda, translated by Lee M. Hollander
Poetic Edda, translated by Henry Adam Bellows
Prose Edda, by Snorri Sturluson
Other Norse Sagas
The norsemen didn’t only talk about their gods. They had a lot of kings and heroes and history who were worthy of sagas as well. Here are some of them.
Saga of the Jomsvikings, translated by Lee M. Hollander