A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong is exactly what the title promises.
It’s a short book about myth. Because of its intentional brevity, Armstrong moves quickly over many topics, covering a span of time from 20000 BCE to the present. While it can be read on its own, the book is actually also part of a larger publishing project called The Myths where some of the world’s most respected authors are re-telling well-known myths in their own style.
There were many concepts discussed in the book that I would specifically like to explore further: ontology (the study of the nature of being, becoming, existence, or reality), the idea of and the use of the word “everywhen,” and the the roles of both awe and participation in the practice of storytelling.
This short book is not a book for someone looking for an in-depth or comprehensive history of everything ever discussed about myth. It is an excellent book, however, for anyone looking for a string of well-written and thought provoking ideas, anyone who wants to get started in studying myth, or as a resource for stepping back to appreciate the (very) big picture of myth.
Summary of the book from The Myths project’s website:
Heralding a major series of retellings of international myths by authors from around the world, Armstrong’s characteristically insightful and eloquent book serves as a brilliant and though-provoking introduction to myth in the broadest sense – and why we dismiss it only at our peril.