Truth Telling Through Myth

If you've watched any films lately, you'll know fairy tales still pervade much of our popular media, and as National Book Award winner Robert Bly points out in More Than True: The Wisdom of Fairy Tales (Holt, $27), our psyche as well. In his introduction, Bly explains that he and his wife, Ruth, share storytelling and reflections as "gifts that help both of us understand the craziness of our lives." His analysis of the six stories in this collection is personal and often attended by pieces of his own or an admired poet's verse. These story characters are reflections of what's inside each of us, and the struggles are often inside as well. In the Frog Prince tale, Bly explains that the princess's deal with the frog--who dives down to retrieve her golden ball if she promises companionship--is symbolic of seeking one's potential through one's instinct, which leads to "sometimes the swampy dark side, the ugly frog side, which could bring the ball back but will insist on something in return." He then draws allusions to Egyptian mythology, Hindu literature and quotes Rilke. Bly's story analysis reflects his adherence to poetics and Jungian self-analysis, so rather than finding vigorous scholarly references, you'll meet personal tales and inspirational verse along the way.

For your own personal mythological meditational journey, turn any two pages in Myth Match: A Fantastical Flipbook of Extraordinary Beasts (Laurence King, $17.99) and see where your cards point you. This sensationally illustrated flipbook by Good Wives and Warriors (Becky Bolton and Louise Chappell) splits a few dozen mythological creatures, from dragons to the hippo-headed Egyptian river goddess, Taweret, so they can be reassembled by chance. Mixing and matching the panels results in hundreds of surprising fantastical creations like the Grif-Guari, a monster with a cycloptic sloth head and the body of a lion that can fly "and is both ferocious and terribly smelly." Make new stories for your new discoveries, truth not required.

--Kristianne Huntsberger, partnership marketing manager at Shelf Awareness
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