Go for the Gold! Reimaginings of Greek Mythology

On your mark, get set, GO! People all over the world are tuning in to watch 10,000+ athletes compete in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France. The original Olympic Games were held every four years in Olympia, Greece starting in the 8th century BC and included a series of athletic competitions between male representatives from each city-state.

The 2024 Summer Olympics will include over 300 events encompassing 34 sports from 206 countries, a far cry from the ancient Olympic Games. The 2024 Olympics will pay homage to the original Olympic Games in several ways, from the opening and closing ceremonies to the medals imprinted with an image of the Greek goddess Nike, the goddess of victory. The following list of books pays homage to the Greeks as well. They are all reimagining’s of Greek mythology. If you can’t get enough of the Greeks, check out one of the titles below.

Eros (aka Cupid) is often seen as a pesky side-character, upending people’s lives with his arrows of desire. In Psyche and Eros, we finally learn his story. Eros accidentally pricks himself with a cursed arrow and finds himself desperately in love with a human girl named Psyche. The catch? If Psyche so much as looks at him, they’ll forever be torn apart. It is a fun and epic love story, with a substantial background on Greek mythology – a great jumping-off point.

What happens when you combine ancient Greece with a small Texan town? You get Olympus, Texas! The lives of the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece were full of drama, drama, drama, and the lives of the wealthy Briscoe family in Olympus, Texas are no different. There’s infidelity, death, broken alliances… and that’s just within a few days! Olympus, Texas is Greek mythology reimagined as a small-town family saga.

Fruit of the Dead is a contemporary reimagining of the taking of Persephone (and a recent CPL staff pick). Cory is freshly 18 and wondering what she’s going to do with her life now that her job as a camp counselor is over. When the father of one of her campers offers her a job as a live-in nanny at his private island off the New England coast, with the caveat that she tell no one, she figures she’s got nothing to lose. Rolo is enigmatic, enamored of Cory, and plying her with the opiates his pharmaceutical company manufacturers. Cory is falling deeper and deeper into Rolo’s world while her mom, Emer, is desperate to figure out where her daughter is so she can bring her home.

If you need something a little light-hearted after Fruit of the Dead, check out the Lore Olympus series, which is another retelling of the taking of Persephone but in graphic novel format. It’s a romantic and contemporary update complete with fancy parties, lots of gossip, godly social media, and, of course, forbidden love. Full of gorgeous illustrations, you’ll be happy to know that you’ll be able to read for a bit as there are six Lore Olympus volumes so far (and we’ve got them all).

In Home Fire, Kamila Shamsie reimagines Sophocles’s play Antigone playing out amongst a family of British Muslims. The original play is a story of two sisters who respond differently to their brother’s act of treason, and Home Fire builds upon this by having brother Parvaiz leave Britain to join ISIS in Syria, only for him to decide that he’s made a grave mistake so he must call on his sisters for help to be able to return home.

Who says you have to stick to just Greek mythology? An Orchestra of Minorities is a contemporary story inspired by Homer’s Odyssey but written in the Igbo literary tradition. Chinonso is a young Nigerian poultry farmer when he falls in love with a wealthy woman named Ndali. Chinonso gives up everything to try to win Ndali (and her family’s) favor and his entire journey is narrated by his guardian spirit, who is hundreds of years old. Shortlisted for The Booker Prize, An Orchestra of Minorities is a fantastically written coming-of-age novel.   

Do you enjoy Greek mythology? What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!