I first read Greek Myths in Roger Lancelyn Green’s Tales of the Greek Heroes, which succeeds in linking the stories of Gods and Heroes as if they actually formed a continuum, instead of being part folktales, part name-giving legends, part religious justification, part half-remembered history, part all kinds of other things. Pandora’s name means “All Gifts”, because that’s what the Gods have given her, though for their own purposes, to distract Epimetheus [whose name means “Afterthought”, just as that of his brother, Prometheus, means “Forethought”] and open The Box.
Robert Graves’s The Greek Myths is for reference, not reading, though he is a fine prose-writer in his historical novels. He also provides all kinds of alternative versions, but the in-depth discussions of religious implications which follow the plain tales are best avoided by all except the most dedicated.
My tellings are influenced by later versions – my version of House of Atreus would not be what it is if I had not read Goethe’s play Iphigenie and seen Gluck’s opera Iphigenia in Tauris, as well as reading Aeschylus and Sophocles, and Sartre’s Les Mouches.
I have told the Life of Herakles in school, and was surprised how well it hung together, through climax and anti-climax, until it reaches a thundering finale on the funeral-pyre. Again, I have input from later users of the theme, from Moliere’s Amphitryon and Kleist’s play of the same name, as well as from Handel’s Hercules, which I saw in 2004 in Buxton.