Thursday, February 22, 2018

When did you learn to love mythology?

I had just started high school. We had to borrow books from the school library, but there were rules. We had to borrow one fiction and one non-fiction book every week. And we were meant to read them.

Anyone who knows me knows I love to read. I read quickly, and I'd happily have borrowed way more than two books. But... one non-fiction book! Every week! No way! The trouble was, I really didn't enjoy reading non-fiction. Then I discovered the "mythology" shelf. I couldn't believe my good fortune. Here were all these wonderful short stories and novels, all those amazing fantastical words, all these great characters, and they weren't fiction!

I was hooked. I've loved mythology ever since. And so I couldn't possibly resist when someone suggested I try reading a middle-grade novel called Minotaur, by Phillip Simpson. It's a wonderful reimagining of the familiar story, with mostly human heroes and monsters, beautifully researched history, and fascinating characters. Highly recommended, it's one to read with some richly elegant four-star coffee (and a cup of the darker brew for some dark scenes).

Escape from Witchwood Hollow by Jordan Elizabeth doesn't reach so far back into history, but it's built on a nice blend of teen angst and the myths and legends that people America's youthful European shores. Just complex enough, just far enough out of the normal, it's a pleasing adventure for teens and young adults. Enjoy with some well-balanced, full-flavored three-star coffee.

Monsters of Venus by Martin Berman Gorvine has the curious attraction of being set simultaneously in future, past and present. Crossing 50s style science fiction with the diary of Anne Frank perhaps, it should be impossible, but it works. It's enticing, zany, captivating and fun; fast action, fascinating thoughts to ponder, fiercely intriguing protagonists... what more could you want. Enjoy with some full-flavored, well-balanced and curiously wonderful three-star coffee.

And finally, taking readers back into mythology and applying the results in the present-day world, A Life of Death: the Golden Bulls by Weston Kincade is the second book in a cool paranormal series. The protagonist has grown up from struggling teen to wise detective now, but young men are being murdered in his small town and one of them was a kid he once knew. The murders may have links to Egyptian mythology, and the detective may have links to some curious paranormal skills. But the novel's firmly anchored in the real world of Virginia and DC. Enjoy this elegantly plotted tale with some elegant four-star coffee (and again, keep a darker brew around for the darker scenes).

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