Carolyne Larrington, The Norse Myths (London: Thames and Hudson, 2017), ISBN 9780500251966. Hardback.
Are you not familiar with Norse mythology, or are you reading Neil Gaiman for the first time? Either way, make sure you have this little book on the side.
This is your basic guide to the events and personalities in Norse mythology. The table of contents seems short with vague chapter titles. Don’t let that deter you. The sublevels are pretty straightforward and the pages come alive with many images and text boxes that highlight anything relevant. For example, by summing up the characteristics of a god, referring to a recent Young Adult book, or explaining the Oseberg ship burial. The language is very accessible, and the index works well, too. And can I just say that I love the smaller size and beautiful finish of this small hardback with dust jacket?
A few online sources also offer introductory articles. The reason too choose the book over the web is that the book stands out for providing context. It’s not just a Who’s Who in Norse mythology, it explains who and how and why and at which event. And moreover, Larrington’s insights and literary analysis are among the very best out there.
If you want to dig deeper, learn more about the events or a particular god, this book is a starting point with references to lead you to in-depth studies.
My verdict: your go-to reference guide on Norse mythology.