Three Series of Books Full of Allusions And Are Great, Fun Reads

I get a kick out of reading a book, watching a movie or television show, or reading an article when I get to use my mind more than expected. Literary or pop culture references that make me stop and smile or think really can increase my enjoyment of something if it is done correctly. Here are some books that use references to myths and literature in ways that made me enjoy the book even more. 

Here, There Be Dragons
 by James A. Owen is the first book in the Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series. These series is full to the brim of references to authors, literature and myths. The main characters are three men from attached to Oxford University. The murder of an Oxford professor and the interference of a very strange man named Bert bind the three together and set them onto a path of adventure of mythic proportions. I do not want to tell you who the three main characters are, but I will say that they are all well known authors of their day, and it isn't said exactly who they are until near the end of the book, so I don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't already guessed. Through out this series there are allusions to Greek Mythology, Arthurian legends, Narnia, Oz and Pythia.

Michael Buckley has gifted us with The Sisters Grimm series of books, which begins with Fairy Tale Detectives. This book is marketed to children, but I honestly think anyone interested in the evolution of fairy tales will enjoy this series, I know that I do. In this series, we see two young girls who have bounced around in the foster care system since their parents disappeared. A grandmother the girls did not know still lived claims custody of the girls, and then their adventures really begin. Grandmother Grimm just happens to live in Ferryport, a town for fairy tale characters whether they are willing or not. The variety and depth to the fairy tale characters is fantastic, and worth the read. We see Prince Charming, the Big Bad Wolf, Snow White, and Peter Pan all trying to survive in today's world. The series is also honestly funny for children and adults without resorting to childish humor, it is witty and clever.


Another series heavy with literary references is Cornelia Funke's Inkheart and the two books that follow. Even though some of the allusions self referential to this series, much like in William Goldman's The Princess Bride, there are also allusions to actual books and legends. We see a major player come into the story line from Arabian Nights and references to several mythological creatures throughout the series. Even though the amount of references to known literary works is less in this series than in the ones I mentioned previously, it has the same feel to it.


There are of course several other workers that touch on mythology or commonly known literature to deepen their own plot and enrich their own stories. I think these authors did more than that, they expanded on the original works rather than simply borrowing from them.
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