Monthly Archives: Aug 2016

Book Report: Fantasy reference books

Summer is one of my busiest seasons at work, second only to the holiday season in late November – December. My writing time is scattered and precious, but I did pick these reference books up and thought they were worth a mention.

The Mythical Creatures Bible: The Definitive Guide to Legendary Beings is a relatively new publication (2009, my teenage son thinks that sounds ANCIENT) by Brenda Rosen, and it’s such fun to flip through for inspiration and resources.

Beyond simply dragons and wyverns, zombies and banshees, it showcases the weird and wonderful from the world over like the Tsuchigumo. Full color illustrations and categorized by type. It’s a small, square book, but thick and heavy.

Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia by Carol Rose is older (1996, so prehistoric, my son says), but just as marvelous. Fewer illustrations, and they are in black and white, but soooo many more creatures are packed into this book. It’s marvelous for world building. Each character is cross referenced with similar or like creatures in an index. There’s a lovely appendix that sorts creatures by area in the world. For example, you can look up India and find a list of creatures steeped in folk lore, religion, and culture there.

Giants, Monsters, and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth is another amazing resource by Carol Rose. Organized in the same way as Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins above, it feels almost like a phone book. Black and white images are scattered throughout, and a helpful index again organizes beings from literature, beings that are associated with an apocolypse, and all kinds of helpful categories. You can still search by region and country as well.

All of these are so inspiring and give me so many ideas! I thought you might enjoy them too.