Jess Zimmerman’s bold essays give Greek mythology’s mighty female monsters their due.
On this episode, Jess Zimmerman discusses Women and Other Monsters: Building a New Mythology (Beacon, March 9), an erudite personal essay collection that serves, in part, as a reclamation and rehabilitation of the famous female monsters of antiquity, including Medusa, Scylla and Charybdis, the Furies, and the Sirens.
Kirkus: “Electric Literature editor-in-chief Zimmerman blends memoir and cultural criticism in a wide-ranging feminist analysis rooted in her youthful love of D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. Drawing on accounts by Homer and others, she argues that female monsters like Medusa and the Harpies have inspired more than a Versace logo and a metaphor popular among right-wing critics of Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren.…A sparkling and perceptive critique of ancient ideas that still hold women back” (starred review).
Zimmerman and host Megan Labrise discuss the author’s note at the beginning of the book; D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths,; persuasive writing and the importance of making a solid argument; the book’s illustrations by Samira Ingold; what’s so scary about women’s hunger; righteous anger; and much more.
Then editors Vicky Smith, Laura Simeon, Eric Liebetrau, and Laurie Muchnick join with their reading recommendations for the week.
Niños: Poems for the Lost Children of Chile by María José Ferrada, illus. by María Elena Valdez, trans. by Lawrence Schimel (Eerdmans)
Your Heart, My Sky: Love in a Time of Hunger by Margarita Engle (Atheneum)
The Unreasonable Virtue of Fly Fishing by Mark Kurlansky (Bloomsbury)
Red Island House by Andrea Lee (Scribner)
Also mentioned in this episode:
I Lived on Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosín, illus. by Lee White, trans. by E.M. O’Connor (Atheneum)
The Maps of Memory: Return to Butterfly Hill by Marjorie Agosín, illus. by Lee White, trans. by Alison Ridley (Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum)
Edible Stories by Mark Kurlansky (Riverhead)
Russian Journal by Andrea Lee (Random House Trade)
“Andrea Lee’s Aha! Moment” by Andrea Lee (Oprah.com)
Thanks to our advertisers this week:
Hourglass by Daniel James
Aberrant Behavior by Jim Lively
Patients, Patience, and the Talking Cure by Mary Davis
Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.