10 Books as Monsterific as Pokémon GO
- July 29, 2016
A rundown of the best stories about made-up creatures.
Pokémon — Japanese for “each sold separately” — may have taken over, but corralling the invisible critters is hardly the only creature-filled game in town. Get your monster-loving fix with these 10 titles, all of which feature some sort of beast or brute.
- D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Eduard D'Aulaire. With its fanciful, colorful images and rich retelling, this book will inspire a lifelong fascination with Greek mythology in any child lucky enough to own it. And not just children — I gave my copy away during a move several years ago, thinking I'd outgrown it, but recently reordered it to bask in its warmth and recover my sense of wonder about the world. ~Tara Campbell
- The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. Featuring the titular creatures as immigrants to turn-of-the-century New York, along with an evil sorcerer, this gem of a book combines different mythologies and genres to create a thoroughly enchanting read. Best bookstore staff recommendation I've ever gotten! ~Emily Harburg
- The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle. Humans hunting magical creatures is exciting, but when a unicorn hunts a mythical Red Bull so she can save her own kind, that's a whole new level of fantastical. ~Carrie Callaghan
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Max is sent to bed without supper, is subsequently crowned king of the Wild Things, then wakes to dinner in his room. The end. ~Jenny Yacovissi
- The Complete Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft by H.P. Lovecraft. Truly brave monster hunters know the most terrible creatures lie in these classic stories, including the original creature not to be named: the evil Cthulhu. ~Carrie Callaghan
- Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. Sadly, I can't remember the plot. [Editor’s note: It was mostly about an interview. With a vampire.] ~Dorothy Reno
- The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. When an elderly couple suspects a fog is eating away at their memories and, in turn, their love, they set off to find…well, it might be their son, or the titular giant, or a dragon, or something more terrible. The only certain thing is the search makes for a beautiful story. ~Carrie Callaghan
- The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories by Angela Carter. These stories aren't exclusively about mythical creatures, but in building on fairy tales and other well-known traditional stories (like “Puss in Boots,” “Snow White,” and “Little Red Riding Hood”), Carter sometimes dabbles in the fantastic. Particularly noteworthy is “The Courtship of Mr. Lyon,” based on “Beauty and the Beast.” ~Art Taylor
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik. When her village's dragon picks her as his once-in-a-decade tribute, a peasant girl finds more magical creatures — malevolent wolves, walking stick men, and worse — than she could have imagined in this page-turning fantasy. ~Carrie Callaghan
- Grendel by John Gardner. Gardner, who accidentally killed his brother with a tractor when he was a youth, identifies with the ravenous, murdering monster in Beowulf. He offers a sympathetic perspective on that which we all fear, that the darkness within and around us is all there is. ~Y.S. Fing