Two great guides for history and fantasy fans (and writers)

mythiccreaturesMYTHIC CREATURES: AND THE IMPOSSIBLY REAL ANIMALS WHO INSPIRED THEM by Laurel Kendall & Mark A. Norell, w. Richard Ellis

Adapted from the American Museum of Natural History exhibition Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids, this book explores an array of mythological creatures—and the real animals that inspired them. Lush photos showcase rare objects from around the world as well as models of mythical beasts like krakens and Rocs, along with fossils of actual extinct animals such as the six-foot-tall primate called Gigantopithecus and dinosaurs such as Protoceratops, which may have inspired the griffin. Also included are engravings, paintings, maps, and ephemera from the Middle Ages to modern times, all capturing the origins of legendary animals that continue to thrill, terrify, and enchant us.

salaperaineno-fieldguidetofantasticalbeastsA FIELD GUIDE TO FANTASTICAL BEASTS by Olento Salaperäinen

A beautiful, illustrated guide to the most magical creatures of legend and myth.

Fairies, demons, four-legged fiends, and, of course, zombies: the world is filled with fantastical beings, beautiful and scary. Come meet them in this magnificently illustrated menagerie, which includes many creatures made famous by popular fantasy and sci-fi film franchises. Take a detailed look at everything from goblins, pixies, and gnomes to vampires and dragons, and discover their origins in literature, folklore, and ancient history.

Both of these books are pretty great. Fascinating looks at the fantastical and mythical creatures that have come to populate so much of our fiction, many of which have remained unchanged (or only slightly altered) for hundreds or thousands of years. Continue reading