Tall Tale/Legend/Myth Based Genre Discussion

For February 2016, we will be reading Tall Tale/Legend/Myth Based (ex. Percy Jackson) books.
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Tall Tale/Legend/Myth Based Genre Discussion

Post by kio » 01 Feb 2016, 22:25

Sorry, this took a while to research.

Although these three genres may seem really different, they are actually fairy similar. They are usually culturally based, exaggerate things or attempt to explain phenomena. They may have been around a while or may be twists of something old.

Tall Tale: typically considered an American Folk Tale, but can be from other cultures. A tall tale is a story with unbelievable elements, related as if it were true and factual. Some stories such as these are exaggerations of actual events. This Paul Bunyan, Davy Crockett, Mike Fink, etc. They are usually humorous and good-natured.

Legend: is a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history and to possess certain qualities that give the tale a sense of truth. The Brothers Grimm defined legend as folktale historically grounded. Think things like the Loch Ness Monster, Saints, urban legends, Legend of Sleepy Hollow, even some fairy tales.

Myths: A myth is a traditional or legendary story, collection, or study. It explains the origins of the world or of human nature with relation to the culture it came from. It can also be a modern retelling (ex. Percy Jackson and the Olympians)


There are a lot of Young Adult and Children's examples, but I'm going to try and list more adult examples:

Some examples for Tall Tales include:

1. Swamp Angel by Colleen Boyd

2. Person of Interest (tv series, but other by this title would work)

3. A lot of science fiction titles would fit under this

4. Wickedly Dangerous by Deborah Blake (Baba Yaga #1, this is an old Russian legend/tall tale)

5. The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain

6. The LIttle Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker


Examples of legends would be:

1. Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (a lot of his are legend based).

2. Vampire tales (yes they are legends). Specifically, Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

3. Wickedly Dangerous by Deborah Blake (Baba Yaga #1, this is an old Russian legend/fairy tale)

4. Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (a mystery based around legends)

5. Book of Spies by Gayle Lynds

6. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain

7. Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Homer Pyle

8. Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac

9. Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Example of Myths would be:

1. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

2. Avengers

3. Mist (Midgard, #1) by Susan Krinard

4. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain

5. Odyssey by Homer (but good luck getting it read in a month :) )

6. Books by Andy McDermott

7. Hera: Queen of Gods by T.D. Thomas

For more ideas, visit the forum or here are a few good reads lists:

https://www.goodreads.com/list/tag/mythology

https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/ad ... airy-tales

https://www.goodreads.com/list/tag/legends

-- 01 Feb 2016, 23:28 --

Me, I think I'll read Murder on Olympus by Plato Jones or reread The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (it depends on how much time I have). I did, however, really like Mist by Susan Krinard, if you're looking for a specific suggestion. I may even read its sequel for this month :)
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Post by stoppoppingtheP » 07 Feb 2016, 07:07

I think that I probably read this genre mostly when I was a kid. Now I wouldn't really find it interesting.

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Post by Dyslexic-Superhero » 16 Feb 2016, 22:54

Well I've read books in several of these categories that intrigue me. The best version of a tall tale that is written for adults would be Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore. It has aspects of Native American legend mixed with supernatural, plus all of his books have some much comedy.
I read a lot of remakes of legend and myth stories all the time. It can be hard at times to find this subjects that are written for a mature audience but when you find them it's generally great. :techie-studyinggray: :tiphat:

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Post by rockandroll » 17 Feb 2016, 21:03

Actually, I think there are many great authors who are writing mythical tales right now. Are we recommending one for the book of the month here or are we just discussing the ones that we read?

If we are recommending one, I'll push for Two Years Eight Months Twenty Days by Salman Rushdie. It was just released in December. Most of his novels deal with myth. He's definitely one of the more culturally relevant authors in the last 40 years.

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Post by Jojowrites4All » 17 Feb 2016, 21:18

Great research, and I have enjoyed some of the above . Thanks for the additional suggestions.
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Post by vicjbr » 21 Feb 2016, 01:29

I love legends

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Post by LivreAmour217 » 21 Feb 2016, 15:58

Thanks for this interesting breakdown of the genre! I love myths and legends, and have many books on the subject.
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Post by Taylor Razzani » 21 Feb 2016, 22:05

I just finished Soundless by Richelle Mead, a YA novel about a Chinese mountain village where all the villagers were born deaf and a lot are beginning to go blind. It fits into the myth/legend theme because they have historical documentation and seemingly mythological stories to explain how they came to be that way.

Thanks for the topic! It's interesting to see how all three genres can be considered as one.

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Post by gali » 24 Feb 2016, 00:20

I have read several books in these categories (books by Rick Riordan, Anansi Boys) and loved them. "Ocean at the End of the Lane" is on my list.
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Post by kio » 24 Feb 2016, 12:46

Sorry guys, came down with a bad cold followed by a bad flu this month and just getting back to normal. What have you noticed that is unique about these genres (either from your reading choice or from past experience)? What would you say makes them stand out? Do you notice any common crossover genres associated with them? For one thing, I noticed a lot of legends tend to cross over into either fantasy or horror. Myths tend to stick more towards the tall tales or the fantasy adventure.

My favorite from this category that I reread was Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. When Percy Jackson finds out Greek Myths are real and he's Poseidon's demigod son, his world gets turned upside down. He doesn't have long to process this, however, because he gets accused of stealing Zeus' master lightning bolt. With the Greek gods on the verge of World War III, Percy and his friends, Annabeth and Grover, must find the thief before the Summer Solstice arrives. With traitors all around them, who can the trio trust? Will the trio be able to stop the gods from declaring war on each other?

This book would be classified as a fantasy adventure with mythology retold elements. It takes well-known myths from Greece and puts a modern spin on things. It explains the important background myths (like who Kronos is) without changing the essence of them. It touches not only upon old Greek culture, but on how North American culture has changed as a result of Greek influence. These are common factors you'll notice in Mythology based tales, especially if they've been put in a modern setting.

The action was great in this book, but I most liked the characters and their quirky personalities. I would recommend it. 5 out of 5 stars.

-- 24 Feb 2016, 13:51 --

In case you didn't guess, I combined the definitions/genre discussion this month. Wasn't intentional, but I figured might as well go with it :)
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Post by CCtheBrave » 08 Mar 2016, 11:14

The Lightning Thief was pretty good, I think Rick Riordan does a really good job taking legends and myths and making them relevant to young authors. Neil Gaiman is amazing at this, too (he's become one of my favorite authors as time goes on), especially in American Gods. The grit and wit (that wasn't supposed to rhyme, it just sort of happened) inside the book is wonderful.
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Post by kio » 10 Mar 2016, 16:43

CCtheBrave wrote:The Lightning Thief was pretty good, I think Rick Riordan does a really good job taking legends and myths and making them relevant to young authors. Neil Gaiman is amazing at this, too (he's become one of my favorite authors as time goes on), especially in American Gods. The grit and wit (that wasn't supposed to rhyme, it just sort of happened) inside the book is wonderful.
@CCtheBrave, those are two of my favorite authors as well. I like how they intertwine myth with reality with "grit and wit" as you put it. Which Neil Gaiman did you enjoy the most?
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Post by CCtheBrave » 10 Mar 2016, 18:59

Definitely American Gods, and probably his short stories, after that (followed closely by the Sandman series). He wrote a short story about the gods and the seasons that i fell in love with but can't remember the name of! I know it's in the Fragile Things book, which is a compilation of short stories.

Good Omens is hilarious, too!

Which of his books is your fav?
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Post by elivia05 » 16 Jun 2018, 18:17

Dyslexic-Superhero wrote:
16 Feb 2016, 22:54
Well I've read books in several of these categories that intrigue me. The best version of a tall tale that is written for adults would be Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore. It has aspects of Native American legend mixed with supernatural, plus all of his books have some much comedy.
I read a lot of remakes of legend and myth stories all the time. It can be hard at times to find this subjects that are written for a mature audience but when you find them it's generally great. :techie-studyinggray: :tiphat:
I read Coyote Blue years ago, and I had almost forgotten about it. I adored that book. There was a time that I read a lot of books based on Native American culture.

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