Fantastic Beasts and Where to Read About Them

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited for Fantastic Beasts. I mean, like, wearing my knee-high phoenix socks excited. If you’re all caught up on your Newt Scamander reading, here are more books fit for Care of Magical Creatures. Rest assured, none of them bite.

1. The Book of Beasts by T.H. White

Translated from a 12th century Latin bestiary, this book reveals what medieval proto-zoologists knew and thought they knew about the wild. You’ll recognize some creatures from the real world, and some from your nightmares. If the name T.H. White sounds familiar to you, I’ll give you a hint: King Arthur.


2. The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges

I defy you to find a student of literature who was not assigned some Borges. Did you know he wrote a bestiary, though? Not only are the classic beasts (dragons, centaurs, etc.) featured, Borges goes full nerd and describes beasts from children’s literature and science fiction.


3. The Book of Barely Imagined Beings: A 21st Century Bestiary by Caspar Henderson

Who needs fantasy creatures when the world is full of… creatures? Life is weird; fantastical, even. This take on the medieval form celebrates species that strike the imagination, without making any beasts up.


4. Monsterology: The Complete Book of Monstrous Beasts by Dr. Ernest Drake

On the other hand, you and the young people in your life might prefer a fictional catalog by a fictional author. Oversized and gorgeously illustrated, the books in Dr. Drake’s series make excellent gifts for the fantasy-inclined reader.


5. Faeries by Brian Froud and Alan Lee

If you shopped at Hot Topic in the early ’00s, like all the cool bloggers whose posts, for example, you are reading this very second (heh), you’ll remember the merchandise. Froud is as much of a cult classic as the movies he worked on, which include Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. The illustrations alone make this encyclopedia of fae-kind a treasure.

6. The Phoenix: An Unnatural Biography Of A Mythical Beast by Joseph Nigg

The Phoenix is Nigg’s newest exploration of cultural history surrounding a mythical creature. If you like scholarship as much as you like fantasy, his work is for you. (It’s okay, geeks are safe here.) In addition to Dumbledore’s avian familiar, sea monsters, dragons, and griffins are his specialties.


7. A Tolkien Bestiary by David Day

This is a yard sale treasure — or was, before the Internet made it easy to find used, out of print books. If the Appendices of Lord of the Rings aren’t enough to sate your appetite for Middle Earth, or if you wish there were more illustrations of Tolkien’s beautiful world, enjoy this lovingly rendered, carefully researched fan art (before fan art was cool… wait, is fan art cool?).


That should tide you over and give you some ideas for the ol’ Christmas list. Have a fantastic weekend!

Originally posted on #AmReading

Featured image via Wonderslist


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