Big Book Energy

Jennifer Fain

Hi 👋 My name is Jennifer and I love books! I love them so much I became a librarian, I write stories in my free time, and I have a podcast where I talk all things bookish: Big Book Energy. These conversations will address how books were, are, and will continue to be relevant to our every day lives. Keep reading ❀ read less

Let's Try This Again: The Tiger's Daughter
May 31 2021
Let's Try This Again: The Tiger's Daughter
As you may remember, we experienced some technical difficulties back in February and weren't able to release our normally scheduled episode. Well, we're back with Tiger's Daughter, for real this time. Tune in to hear our lost episode and what Paige thinks about this Mongol inspired pick.Mythology & Folklore: MongoliaHere are the references Paige used for Mongolian mythology:http://www.antor.org/mongolia-culture.htmlhttps://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803110143814https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erlikhttps://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%9ClgenPaige Presents Fun with Comics: This week, Jennifer raves about the adorable Down To Earth.The Tiger’s Daughter, K. Arsenault RiveraKeep up with the author by visiting her website.Interested in the story? Buy a copy for yourself and support the podcast!Creative’s Corner: want some vintage editions of works by black authors? Maybe a custom curation in your chosen topic? Look no further than Good Books Atlanta, a mother-daughter duo dedicated to providing the best of blackness in literature. You can also check out their instagram!Discussion QuestionsHave you ever read anything with a Mongol influence?What do you think about Shizuka and Shefali’s relationship?What is Paige’s perspective on critiques of The Tiger’s Daughter?https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2032356303?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1999199519?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1Support the PodFind us on InstagramFind us on TwitterDon’t forget to leave us a review if you are enjoying the pod.*Some of the links above are affiliate links and we will receive commission from any purchases made through them*Support the show
It's Warping Time: The TĂĄin BĂł CĂșailnge
May 18 2021
It's Warping Time: The TĂĄin BĂł CĂșailnge
Paige finally gets her chance to make everyone listen to a story from Irish Mythology. Tune in to hear about an Irish epic centered around a cattle raid and a protagonist with the weirdest superpower. Mythology & Folklore: IrishMost of this came from the preface of the TainWikipedia got Paige through the info on the Morrigan and LughPaige Presents Fun with Comics: Get real bookish and check out The Reference Desk podcast, hosted by two librarians and discussing the topics that fascinate them the most.The Táin, translated by Thomas KinsellaPurchase a copy for yourself and support the podcast at the same time!Creative’s Corner: This week, Jennifer is recommending another webtoon, Unholy Blood. Recommended if you’re into vampires, action, gorgeous art, or badass kween protagonists.Discussion QuestionsTale Foundry suggests that one of the reasons that Irish mythology isn’t as popular, and also is an excellent choice for writers, is because there are a lot of holes in the myths. It isn’t as tightly constructed as say Norse Mythology or Greek Mythology. What do you think about this?Cuchulainn is used as a propaganda tool by Northern Ireland. What do you think about harkening back to a glorified past based on mythology?Support the PodFind us on InstagramFind us on TwitterDon’t forget to leave us a review if you are enjoying the pod.If you’d like to support the podcast and get access to full-length bonus episodes, check out our Patreon.*Some of the links above are affiliate links and we will receive commission from any purchases made through them*Support the show
Critiquing the Monomyth: The Power of Myth
May 4 2021
Critiquing the Monomyth: The Power of Myth
For Jennifer's final episode of the season, she has chosen a slightly different pick with the Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell. Tune in as she analyzes Campbell's theories on comparative mythology.The Power of Myth, by Joseph CampbellResources Jennifer used:Joseph Campbell has a rather robust wikipedia article, that also details and links some of the critiques leveled against him that you can check out. Like Jennifer mentioned in the episode, these are all pretty old at this point.Interview w/ the Curator of the Joseph Campbell Archive and Library gives some interesting perspective on Campbell’s career from someone who knew him personally.Another article published shortly after Campbell’s death on his works and legacy.Intrigued by our discussion? Purchase a copy of The Power of Myth for yourself.Paige Presents Fun with Comics: Descender by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen.Creative’s Corner: Paige serves another mythology knockout with YouTube channel Fortress of Lugh.Discussion QuestionsCampbell says, “We can’t have a mythology for a long, long time to come. Things are changing too fast to become mythologized” (38). Do you agree with this statement? If there is a modern mythology, what would it be?Campbell argues that there are four functions of myths, but that the fourth one is most important for us today: pedagogical. Meaning that myths teach us “how to live a human lifetime under any circumstances” (39). What do you think? What have myths taught you in your life?What do you think of the concept of the monomyth (the hero’s journey)? Is it truly as all-encompassing as Campbell made it out to be?Support the PodFind us on InstagramFind us on TwitterDon’t forget to leave us a review if you are enjoying the pod.If you are interested in being on the show, check out the Book Elder tier on our Patreon*Some of the links above are affiliate links and we will receive commission from any purchases made through them*Support the show
The Curse of Problematic Authors: The Mists of Avalon
Apr 20 2021
The Curse of Problematic Authors: The Mists of Avalon
For this episode, Paige chose a classic feminist retelling of King Arthur: The Mists of Avalon. However, on closer inspection of the author we found some information that casts the novel in a very different light.Mythology & Folklore: the legend of King ArthurResources Paige used for the folklore surrounding King Arthur:Britannica articles on King Arthur, Arthurian Legend, and Culhwch and Olwen.Paige Presents Fun with Comics: This week Jennifer talked about one of her new favorite Webtoons: The Strongest Florist.The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer BradleyTo learn more about the author, check out her Wikipedia page.To learn more about the book, check out the Wikipedia page. For reasons mentioned in the episode, we do not feel it is appropriate to profit off sales of Bradley’s work, and therefore you will not find this book on our Bookshop site as usual.Creative’s Corner: Jennifer presents the Spooky Science Sisters! An awesome podcast debunking some supernatural stuff with science. They create amazing and entertaining social media content as well. You can find them on Instagram (and other social media) and you can listen to the pod almost anywhere podcasts live.Discussion QuestionsWhat did you think of Mists of Avalon when you read it?Let’s talk about Bradley’s questionable legacy. Also, why do we have to have this discussion every other episode?The Book that Made Me a Feminist Was Written By An Abuser, by Jessica JerniganSFF Community Reeling After Marion Zimmer Bradley's Daughter Accuses Her of Abuse, by Alison FloodDeirdre Saoirse Moen has shared several blog posts on how the accusations unfolded.What’s your favorite piece of Arthurian based media?Support the PodFind us on InstagramFind us on TwitterDon’t forget to leave us a review if you are enjoying the pod.If you are interested in being on the show, check out the Book Elder tier on our Patreon*Some of the links above are affiliate links and we will receive commission from any purchases made through them*Support the show
A Nebula Finalist: Black Sun
Apr 6 2021
A Nebula Finalist: Black Sun
Mythology & Folklore: Pre-ColumbianResources used for general Pre-Columbian mythology:The Britannica article on Pre-Columbian cultures was very in-depthLost World of the Maya (Full Episode) | National GeographicAnd here is what Jennifer used in relation to Black Sun specifically:QueztalcoatlPaige Presents Fun with Comics: This week Paige talked about New Spring, a graphic novel interpretation of Robert Jordan’s prequel to the Wheel of Time series. Unfortunately, Jennifer was not able to find this on Bookshop...but you can always look on AbeBooks!Black Sun, Rebecca RoanhorseFor more info about the author, check out her website, she also did an interview with NPR about Black Sun.Buy a copy of Black Sun for yourself. Creative’s Corner: we had a guest this week! Cameron from Florida Men on Florida Man podcast joined us today to talk about their show. Cameron entertained us with some of his  fav stories on Florida Man. They have some exciting things coming up that we talk about in this episode, but make sure to check out their website for all their links and all the latest.Discussion QuestionsInitial thoughts on the book; did you like it?Multiple POV successes and failures, our thoughtsAs mentioned in the discussion, Paige uses BestFantasyBooks and BestScienceFictionBooks.com to help her find awesome new reads.What about other fantasies based in Latin or South America?These are actually pretty hard to find, but here are the resources Jennifer did come across: a Reddit thread on Pre-Columbian fantasies, a Reddit thread on Latin America-based fantasies more generally, and a BookRiot article on Latinx fantasy.Nebula Awards: why do we think this was nominated? What book do we think should win? We’re doing a blog series on the Nebula nominees this year! So make sure to check the blog for reviews on all the novels and novellas.Support the PodFind us on InstagramFind us on TwitterDon’t forget to leave us a review if you are enjoying the pod.If you are interested in being on the show, check out the Book Elder tier on our Patreon*Some of the links above are affiliate links and we will receive commission from any purchases made through them*Support the show
Bonus Episode S3E3 - The Knife Man
Mar 27 2021
Bonus Episode S3E3 - The Knife Man
For this episode we brought in an expert!  Jennifer's compatriot from graduate school, Ryan, joined us to discuss The Knife Man: Blood, Body Snatching, and the Birth of Modern Surgery, which focuses on the wild life and times of surgeon John Hunter. Both gruesome and fascinating in equal parts, you won't want to miss out on this one. The Knife Man, Wendy MooreFor more info about the author and her other books check out her website.Buy a copy of The Knife Man for yourself. Folio Facts: This month Paige chose the Book of Kells as our Folio Facts topic. The epitome of medieval illuminated manuscript, the exact origins of this book remain mysterious. Today you can find it on display at Trinity College in Dublin. If you can’t make it to Ireland any time soon, you can also view the Book of Kells online.Discussion QuestionsWhat is your favorite (or horrifying?) medical practice/belief/procedure you learned about in the book?How can we reconcile Hunter’s incredible contributions to the medical field with his more unsavory actions?Should Charles Byrnes bones be returned to Ireland?Was the “Hunterian Revolution” inevitable? In other words, would the effects of the Enlightenment have eventually led to people combining the study of human anatomy and surgery with a corresponding move away from Galenic practices?Ryan’s Book RecommendationsThe Dead Shall Not Rest, Tessa HarrisThe History of the Royal Society of Medicine, Penelope HuntingDr. MĂŒtter’s Marvels, Cristin O’Keefe AptowiczOther Links mentioned in the Episode[William] Hunterian Museum: https://www.gla.ac.uk/hunterian/[John] Hunterian Museum: https://www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums-and-archives/hunterian-museum/Support the PodFind us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/big_book_energyFind us on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/big_book_energyDon’t forget to leave us a review if you are enjoying the pod: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/big-book-energy/id1494813078If you are interested in being on the show, check out the Book Elder tier on our Patreon*Some of the links above are affiliate links and we will receive commission from any purchases made through them*Support the show
[World] Serpents and Snark: The Gospel of Loki
Mar 23 2021
[World] Serpents and Snark: The Gospel of Loki
This episode, Paige chooses a tale firmly rooted in Norse Mythology. Tune in to hear about everyone's favorite Trickster and his take on some less well known myths.Mythology & Folklore: NorseResources used for general Norse mythology:The Creation of the Cosmos: https://norse-mythology.org/tales/norse-creation-myth/The Nine Realms in Norse Mythology: https://skjalden.com/nine-realms-in-norse-mythology/And here is what Paige used for Loki specifically:Loki the Trickster in Norse Mythology: https://blog.vkngjewelry.com/loki-trickster-god/Paige Presents Fun with Comics: Stray SoulsThe Gospel of Loki, Joanne M. HarrisFor more info about the author, check out her website.Buy a copy of The Gospel of Loki  for yourself. Creative’s Corner: for a hefty dose of cuteness, check out bobertquail on Instagram.Discussion QuestionsWere you familiar with any Norse myths before this episode and if so, which ones?Do you have any favorite movies/books that feature a Norse myth component? (i.e., let’s talk about MARVEL!)Support the PodFind us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/big_book_energyFind us on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/big_book_energyDon’t forget to leave us a review if you are enjoying the pod: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/big-book-energy/id1494813078If you are interested in being on the show, check out the Book Elder tier on our Patreon*Some of the links above are affiliate links and we will receive commission from any purchases made through them*Support the show
I'm Not Crying, You're Crying: The Song of Achilles
Mar 9 2021
I'm Not Crying, You're Crying: The Song of Achilles
Tune in for a dive into Greek mythology and a book that Jennifer says is the best she's read in a while and one that WILL make you cry: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.Mythology & Folklore: GreeceResources used for general Greek mythology:A Brief Summary of Greek Origin Story: https://youtu.be/4VaO1tx29ekCrash Course Mythology on Greek creation: https://youtu.be/XNCQ9w59I7MGreek Gods family tree: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_tree_of_the_Greek_godsAnd here are the links Jennifer used for The Iliad:Wiki page on The Iliad: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IliadOverly Sarcastic Productions vid on The Iliad, a good laugh: https://youtu.be/faSrRHw6eZ8Paige Presents Fun with Comics: Attack on TitanThe Song of Achilles, Madeline MillerFor more info about the author, check out her website.Buy a copy of The Song of Achilles  for yourself. If you are interested in other books inspired by The Iliad, check out this Goodreads list.Creative’s Corner: YouTube channel, Useful Charts. Far more interesting than the name sounds so make sure to check it out!Discussion QuestionsDid you like Greek mythology growing up? What was your favorite myth if you had one?What were your thoughts/impressions reading The Odyssey or The Iliad for school? (This is Jennifer assuming everyone had to read at least one of them at some point for school)Support the PodFind us on Instagram.Find us on Twitter.Don’t forget to leave us a review if you are enjoying the pod.If you are interested in being on the show, check out the Book Elder tier on our Patreon!*Some of the links above are affiliate links and we will receive commission from any purchases made through them*Support the show
Bonus Episode S3E2 - Submerged
Feb 27 2021
Bonus Episode S3E2 - Submerged
Because Paige's computer ate some of our raw audio for our normally scheduled episode delaying our release, BBE decided to publish a bonus episode for everyone. Enjoy as Paige's sister Kayla joins BBE to discuss a true crime murder mystery as shown in Janice Hisle's Submerged.Submerged: The Story of Sarah and Ryan WidmerKayla recommends checking out true crime and conspiracy podcast: Mile HigherAlso, take a look the Netflix true crime docuseries, Trial by Media, which features episodes focusing on court cases where the media played an especially pivotal role.To learn more about Janie Hisle, check out her website.You can also purchase Submerged for yourself on Amazon.Folio Facts: did you know famous detective novelist Anne Perry was convicted of murder as a teenager? Check out the links below to learn more about her and other authors-turned-criminals.5 Crime Writers Who Were Also Murderers - ViceWiki Page on Anne PerryDiscussion QuestionsDo you think Ryan Widmer is guilty? Do you think it is wrong of the media to get this involved in true crime cases?If you were a juror in just one of these cases, without the background info of this book or of the other trials, would your opinion change?Support the PodFind us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/big_book_energyFind us on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/big_book_energyDon’t forget to leave us a review if you are enjoying the pod: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/big-book-energy/id1494813078If you are interested in being on the show, check out the Book Elder tier on our Patreon*Some of the links above are affiliate links and we will receive commission from any purchases made through them*Support the show
An Adventure in Japanese Folklore: Tales of Moonlight and Rain
Feb 9 2021
An Adventure in Japanese Folklore: Tales of Moonlight and Rain
This week we discuss a classic of Japanese Literature: Tales of Moonlight and Rain by Ueda Akinari.  Tune in to hear some wild stories and to hear Jennifer's opinion on a classic.Mythology & Folklore: JapanJennifer did her best to give a brief summary of Japanese religious history during this episode, and here are a few of the sources that she used:A bullet list of the main points of Japanese religious history: https://www.uwosh.edu/facstaff/barnhill/244-japan/bits-of-historyWikipedia article on ShintoWikipedia article on Religion in JapanWikipedia article on Japanese MythologyVery cool video that tells the Shinto creation myth with Japanese artwork: https://youtu.be/l3MKdJjQeOwAn impressive 25-minute summary of Japanese history with adorable animations: https://youtu.be/8Zwi3XXLci8And here are the sources for some of the specific folklore bits that Jennifer talked about:An interesting discussion between two Buddhist monks on the Asura Realm: https://youtu.be/SnauEqgUYnwWikipedia article on the Asura RealmAn amazing encyclopedia of Japanese yokai: http://yokai.com/A brief survey of some of the most notorious Yokai: https://youtu.be/Gd1D2gWhDXMPaige Presents Fun with Comics: Lazarus, Image ComicsTales of Moonlight and Rain, Ueda AkinariWikipedia article on Ueda AkinariWikipedia article on Tales of Moonlight and RainBuy a copy for yourself: https://bookshop.org/a/9616/9780231139137Creative’s Corner: a true crime YouTube channel, Brief Case. Discussion QuestionsWhat was the last book you read that made you feel like you were not smart enough to be reading it?What books have you read that you felt suffered from being translated? i.e. something was missing, the word choice or style didn’t come across well, etc.Support the PodFind us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/big_book_energyFind us on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/big_book_energyDon’t forget to leave us a review if you are enjoying the pod: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/big-book-energy/id1494813078If you are interested in being on the show, check out the Book Elder tier on our Patreon*Some of the links above are affiliate links and we will receive commission from any purchases made through them* Support the show