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Ask Baba Yaga: The Audiobook Collection

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From the beloved online advice column, ASK BABA YAGA is a collection of off-kilter, sometimes funny, and always strikingly honest advice, answering real reader questions about relationships, self-knowledge, and how to face our troubling world. Poet and author Taisia Kitaiskaia embodies the legendary witch of Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga, to provide poetic life advice to the q From the beloved online advice column, ASK BABA YAGA is a collection of off-kilter, sometimes funny, and always strikingly honest advice, answering real reader questions about relationships, self-knowledge, and how to face our troubling world. Poet and author Taisia Kitaiskaia embodies the legendary witch of Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga, to provide poetic life advice to the questioning and the hurting in this audio collection of her books, Ask Baba Yaga and the all-new Poetic Remedies for Troubled Times. Enjoy the witchy, clever, candid advice of Baba Yaga in all of her otherworldly wisdom.


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From the beloved online advice column, ASK BABA YAGA is a collection of off-kilter, sometimes funny, and always strikingly honest advice, answering real reader questions about relationships, self-knowledge, and how to face our troubling world. Poet and author Taisia Kitaiskaia embodies the legendary witch of Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga, to provide poetic life advice to the q From the beloved online advice column, ASK BABA YAGA is a collection of off-kilter, sometimes funny, and always strikingly honest advice, answering real reader questions about relationships, self-knowledge, and how to face our troubling world. Poet and author Taisia Kitaiskaia embodies the legendary witch of Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga, to provide poetic life advice to the questioning and the hurting in this audio collection of her books, Ask Baba Yaga and the all-new Poetic Remedies for Troubled Times. Enjoy the witchy, clever, candid advice of Baba Yaga in all of her otherworldly wisdom.

30 review for Ask Baba Yaga: The Audiobook Collection

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

    If the sly & slippery-tongued mythological ancient Russian witch Baba Yaga reached out through space and time -- And had an email address -- And a poetry degree -- That would be this book. Ask Baba Yaga is a weird and wonderful poetry project wrapped lovingly in the conceit of an advice column. Illuminated by brilliant flashes of insight, warmth, darkness and humor, this collection is starkly charming and witchy as fuck. Like you're reading McSweeney's and eating a maybe-old stew seasoned with lots If the sly & slippery-tongued mythological ancient Russian witch Baba Yaga reached out through space and time -- And had an email address -- And a poetry degree -- That would be this book. Ask Baba Yaga is a weird and wonderful poetry project wrapped lovingly in the conceit of an advice column. Illuminated by brilliant flashes of insight, warmth, darkness and humor, this collection is starkly charming and witchy as fuck. Like you're reading McSweeney's and eating a maybe-old stew seasoned with lots of fennel & rosemary at the edge of a swamp and darkness is falling and you're laughing in a clever way at a dream you half-remember. It's kind of like that. It's half like that. It's entirely a delight. 5/5; the perfect gift for all your witch-friends & wayward souls.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁

    1. Not a graphic novel. Whoever shelved it as such: you suck. 2. There's a reason advice columnists only answer a question or two per post, and that reason is any more than that is BORING. The wacky combination of modern slang used by the advice seekers and the archaic language Baba Yaga uses in her replies didn't change that truth: 1. Not a graphic novel. Whoever shelved it as such: you suck. 2. There's a reason advice columnists only answer a question or two per post, and that reason is any more than that is BORING. The wacky combination of modern slang used by the advice seekers and the archaic language Baba Yaga uses in her replies didn't change that truth:

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

    Oh, how I love this book. There's enough to love in the typewritten notecards, intentional typos and poetic language – but underneath that there's genuine wisdom. I learned a lot from Baba Yaga, and her advice continues to resonate in my daily life. This is one of my favourite books of the year (and my all-time favourite book of self-help advice from a fairytale witch). Oh, how I love this book. There's enough to love in the typewritten notecards, intentional typos and poetic language – but underneath that there's genuine wisdom. I learned a lot from Baba Yaga, and her advice continues to resonate in my daily life. This is one of my favourite books of the year (and my all-time favourite book of self-help advice from a fairytale witch).

  4. 4 out of 5

    [Shai] Bibliophage

    Baba Yaga, in this book, is not your ordinary adviser. She will not give you a pat in the back and a cup of tea when giving an advice. She uses a different kind of approach in answering your problem. Though her advice is a little vague or odd, if one will just fully put his/her mind to what she have said, that's when you could be able to comprehend what she wants to convey. Baba Yaga, in this book, is not your ordinary adviser. She will not give you a pat in the back and a cup of tea when giving an advice. She uses a different kind of approach in answering your problem. Though her advice is a little vague or odd, if one will just fully put his/her mind to what she have said, that's when you could be able to comprehend what she wants to convey.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Corey

    Baba Yaga is a Slavic Tarot card come to life. Her advice is one part Ouija board, one part poetry, and one part legit great advice. Definitely recommend this book for anyone who loves modern interpretations of folklore.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Katy Horan

    This strangely wonderful book defies genre and category. It's art: a charmingly illustrated book of highly original poetry. Anyone coming to it in search of easily digested, real world advice is going to miss the point completely. Taisia Kitaiskaia ndoesn't simply conjure Baba Yaga, she infuses the storied witch with layers of personality that are, at times, wise, grumpy and vaguely sinister. Trust me, this Baba doesn't care one bit if you find her advice useful or if it makes sense to you, and This strangely wonderful book defies genre and category. It's art: a charmingly illustrated book of highly original poetry. Anyone coming to it in search of easily digested, real world advice is going to miss the point completely. Taisia Kitaiskaia ndoesn't simply conjure Baba Yaga, she infuses the storied witch with layers of personality that are, at times, wise, grumpy and vaguely sinister. Trust me, this Baba doesn't care one bit if you find her advice useful or if it makes sense to you, and she will use "yr" instead of "your" whenever she damn well pleases because she's an ancient witch of Russian Folklore...please don't grammar shame her. Kitaiskaia's bizarre treatment of language gives Baba her voice and encourages thoughtful reading (since when is that a bad thing?). This Baba doesn't want to make it easy for you. Where's the fun in that? So approach this book as you would Baba's chicken legged house: with respect and deference...she knows more than you ever will, so give in to this dark, odd and totally special book and maybe then you will actually learn something.

  7. 4 out of 5

    C. S.

    I have a rule that I have to read/watch/listen to anything with Baba Yaga in the title, and this rule has rarely failed to bring the interesting, the odd, and the macabre into my life. Ask Baba Yaga: The Audiobook Collection is no exception. The narrator does an excellent job of bringing both the querents and the Baba Yaga to life, and Kitaiskaia's astounding use of imagery blends with the combination of weird, heartfelt, and sometimes arcane advice. Highly enjoyable. I have a rule that I have to read/watch/listen to anything with Baba Yaga in the title, and this rule has rarely failed to bring the interesting, the odd, and the macabre into my life. Ask Baba Yaga: The Audiobook Collection is no exception. The narrator does an excellent job of bringing both the querents and the Baba Yaga to life, and Kitaiskaia's astounding use of imagery blends with the combination of weird, heartfelt, and sometimes arcane advice. Highly enjoyable.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Shaw

    I've been a fan of Ask Baba Yaga since its blog days - Baba Yaga is the witchy grandmother I always wanted, and the idea that someone would respond to our day-to-day complaints with poetry and mischievous mysticism tickles me endlessly. These little nuggets make me feel like I'm getting a manicure with the witches in MacBeth. But then I'd find these mysterious slips of language would also disarm me: How many times did I get advice that I didn't understand at the time? Do I understand what's real I've been a fan of Ask Baba Yaga since its blog days - Baba Yaga is the witchy grandmother I always wanted, and the idea that someone would respond to our day-to-day complaints with poetry and mischievous mysticism tickles me endlessly. These little nuggets make me feel like I'm getting a manicure with the witches in MacBeth. But then I'd find these mysterious slips of language would also disarm me: How many times did I get advice that I didn't understand at the time? Do I understand what's really happening around me? I found this to be an exciting, unique, genre-defying read. If you're looking for a real advice column, you might find Ask Baba Yaga a little disorienting. If you're looking for legit poetry that has sense of humor and old-world mischief, I couldn't recommend this more.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Anya (~on a semi-hiatus~)

    If Cinderella's fairy godmother were a tough as nails witch who gave no nonsense answers to all your woes to help you out rather than coddling you, she would have been Baba Yaga. Russian folklores were one of the most memorable part of my childhood and I still fondly remember that old crone who rode a mortar just for the lulz and lived in the belly of the forest in a hut with chicken legs so I practically squeaked when I saw a review of this book on the language learning side of tumblr. I absolu If Cinderella's fairy godmother were a tough as nails witch who gave no nonsense answers to all your woes to help you out rather than coddling you, she would have been Baba Yaga. Russian folklores were one of the most memorable part of my childhood and I still fondly remember that old crone who rode a mortar just for the lulz and lived in the belly of the forest in a hut with chicken legs so I practically squeaked when I saw a review of this book on the language learning side of tumblr. I absolutely love the concept of the book. Can you imagine (one of the three) Baba Yaga(s) chilling in her hut by the stove while she read through all the agony aunt-esque letters addressed to her? She's acerbic and imaginative and would have no compunction about calling you a wench when you're being stupid. I absolutely adore her. So why the three stars you ask? While the concept was brilliant, it didn't translate well on paper. I feel like although the author was able to capture the essence of Baba Yaga Kostianaya Noga, there's only so many times that even she can reply to the same type of problem people suffer from today.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dani

    This was a book with great potential but poor development. I was expecting something quite different from this. It was an effort to finish it, I clawed my way through this book and I'm quite sure Baba Yaga's advice won't stay in my mind long after I finish this review. The format is like a compilation of posts from advice columnists. The only difference is that these questions are answered by a mythological being from the Russian folklore. Her answers are always analogies or cryptic messages, whi This was a book with great potential but poor development. I was expecting something quite different from this. It was an effort to finish it, I clawed my way through this book and I'm quite sure Baba Yaga's advice won't stay in my mind long after I finish this review. The format is like a compilation of posts from advice columnists. The only difference is that these questions are answered by a mythological being from the Russian folklore. Her answers are always analogies or cryptic messages, which we needed to ponder and read between lines to understand, this I found more strange and exasperating than charming. Overall, the illustrations were beautiful and were definitely what I enjoyed most from this book, however, they will not make me give it a higher rating.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

    The idea of Ask Baba Yaga is far better than its execution, I feel. It is a strange sort of self-help book; questions are posed, which range from 'How do I stop hating everyone?', to 'Should I be reckless?'. These questions are then "answered" by Baba Yaga, the scary and mysterious creature from Russian folklore. Her answers are often quite cryptic, and it is necessary to read between the lines to glean any kind of sense from them. Whilst it is quirky, and rather interesting, it did not live up The idea of Ask Baba Yaga is far better than its execution, I feel. It is a strange sort of self-help book; questions are posed, which range from 'How do I stop hating everyone?', to 'Should I be reckless?'. These questions are then "answered" by Baba Yaga, the scary and mysterious creature from Russian folklore. Her answers are often quite cryptic, and it is necessary to read between the lines to glean any kind of sense from them. Whilst it is quirky, and rather interesting, it did not live up to my expectations, and was really rather strange. The illustrations were by far the most appealing part of the book for me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly Wiggins

    It's brilliant. The author's creative and yet grounded questions and answers transport me to make connections to words and answers I would not have thought to do. To see a new truth, you need a new language - and Baba Yaga delivers! It's brilliant. The author's creative and yet grounded questions and answers transport me to make connections to words and answers I would not have thought to do. To see a new truth, you need a new language - and Baba Yaga delivers!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura AP

    if you're gonna take any advice in your life it might as well be baba yaga's!!! if you're gonna take any advice in your life it might as well be baba yaga's!!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    The art in this book is really, really great. I adore it and it's what made me want to read it. But the advice... First of all, I couldn't get past the bad grammar, typos and the &'s put in the most random places (think: beginning of the sentence). Second, nine times out of ten it just wasn't very good and every once in a while it sounded very dismissive. I get that it was supposed to be ~wise in a funny way~ but truth is that it seemed to me like the quirky style was more important to the autho The art in this book is really, really great. I adore it and it's what made me want to read it. But the advice... First of all, I couldn't get past the bad grammar, typos and the &'s put in the most random places (think: beginning of the sentence). Second, nine times out of ten it just wasn't very good and every once in a while it sounded very dismissive. I get that it was supposed to be ~wise in a funny way~ but truth is that it seemed to me like the quirky style was more important to the author than actually addressing people's problems. It made me feel a bit uncomfortable. As for humour... I laughed once. Literally.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    I've shelved this under 'poetry' and 'speculative' because I honestly didn't know where to put it. It's so beautiful and weird. Best collection of agony aunt letters answered by a fairytale witch I've ever come across, for sure (also the nicest iteration of Baba Yaga - she's only a bit terrifying, here, and almost tends towards kindness). No idea whether to recommend it or not - if it sounds intriguing, go ahead and get it because it's great, but I can't compare it to anything else for you! I've shelved this under 'poetry' and 'speculative' because I honestly didn't know where to put it. It's so beautiful and weird. Best collection of agony aunt letters answered by a fairytale witch I've ever come across, for sure (also the nicest iteration of Baba Yaga - she's only a bit terrifying, here, and almost tends towards kindness). No idea whether to recommend it or not - if it sounds intriguing, go ahead and get it because it's great, but I can't compare it to anything else for you!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anna Rodimtseva

    Never did I ever imagine an advice column from a fictional folktale character to be so poignant. I read, reread, and read out loud to whomever would listen. I think I might have actually come out of the last 24 hours of consuming this book with some really powerful life wisdom. Now I need to to buy a coffee table so this can be the center piece of my coffee table reading collection.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    This was such a pleasure, a pleasure to read. Like all the best advice, it's couched in poetry, metaphor, chaos, and context, filtered through the heart and wisdom of an imagined Baba Yaga. It contradicts itself, it spirals into itself like an ouroboros, it seethes and sparkles with viscera and honesty. Teeth bared, life moves on. This was such a pleasure, a pleasure to read. Like all the best advice, it's couched in poetry, metaphor, chaos, and context, filtered through the heart and wisdom of an imagined Baba Yaga. It contradicts itself, it spirals into itself like an ouroboros, it seethes and sparkles with viscera and honesty. Teeth bared, life moves on.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Noble

    In a world obsessed with doling out advice--- from Dr. Oz, to Dr. Phil, to Oprah, to wellness gurus--- it is refreshing and apt to read a book of advice from a poet and sage. Ask Baba Yaga connects our contemporary world, with its specific woes of the internet, inequality, American politics, legit and illegitimate "dudes", marriage and career pressures, to the quiet magic of Siberian forests. We are immersed, unrelentingly, in the lexicon of this otherworldly witch-- forced through the queer and In a world obsessed with doling out advice--- from Dr. Oz, to Dr. Phil, to Oprah, to wellness gurus--- it is refreshing and apt to read a book of advice from a poet and sage. Ask Baba Yaga connects our contemporary world, with its specific woes of the internet, inequality, American politics, legit and illegitimate "dudes", marriage and career pressures, to the quiet magic of Siberian forests. We are immersed, unrelentingly, in the lexicon of this otherworldly witch-- forced through the queer and delightful language of Baba Yaga to truly see the world and its woes in a different way. Kitaiskaia is a beautiful poet, first and foremost, and is able to embody this persona with full conviction, never breaking character. Her persona is so engrossing, the language becomes clear and engaging to the reader-- I thought the images and metaphors were so specific to Baba Yaga's voice, while still providing clear, beautiful, and thoughtful advice and remedies to the ailment of the inquirers. This book will be a lastingly impactful one, while also being fun for people of any age to open and read a page from-- making its power last for years. I highly recommend! This kind of poetry is rare these days.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Claire Bowman

    This book redefines the conventional advice column. Here, the guidance provided, through the voice of the mythic Slavic witch, Baba Yaga, clearly isn't bound by space and time, and is even less beholden to grammar and punctuation. It is wisdom that transcends these mundane human constructs; a piece of magic that slips through the forest to greet the questions and strip them of their dailiness, getting down to the dirty work of making art out of human brokenness. It wrestles beautifully with this This book redefines the conventional advice column. Here, the guidance provided, through the voice of the mythic Slavic witch, Baba Yaga, clearly isn't bound by space and time, and is even less beholden to grammar and punctuation. It is wisdom that transcends these mundane human constructs; a piece of magic that slips through the forest to greet the questions and strip them of their dailiness, getting down to the dirty work of making art out of human brokenness. It wrestles beautifully with this brokenness, part psychology, part emotion, part ego. The best part: it does so through metaphor, relating our earthly troubles to something much more meaningful and lasting, i. e., Poetry, the Imagination. In this way, Ask Baba Yaga doesn't hold your hand as a reader, doesn't dumb itself down for you. But if you, like Baba, know that this physical world isn't all that there is, then reading this book will be a journey into the woods for you, pleasurable and frightening at once.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kira

    A cute little advice book with the advice written as if it was coming from Baba Yaga. Notice I used Baba Yaga and cute in the same sentence. That doesn’t usually go together. The cuteness and the beauty came from the illustrations by Brenna Thummler throughout the book. This was my favorite part of the book. I loved all the art, especially how it’s all red, black, and white. The advice is often strange and makes sense in the way that it doesn’t really make sense at all except in an abstract manne A cute little advice book with the advice written as if it was coming from Baba Yaga. Notice I used Baba Yaga and cute in the same sentence. That doesn’t usually go together. The cuteness and the beauty came from the illustrations by Brenna Thummler throughout the book. This was my favorite part of the book. I loved all the art, especially how it’s all red, black, and white. The advice is often strange and makes sense in the way that it doesn’t really make sense at all except in an abstract manner. This version of Baba Yaga is a little nicer than we usually see from her. She’s usually all about making you into soup and eating her husbands. There isn’t any of that here but I still enjoyed this. This makes a perfect little gift for a friend.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mallory

    thank you so much to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC! this collection was so sweet. it was a quick listen and it was easy to lose myself in the rhythm of the question and answer format. the language was beautiful, the questions heartfelt and relatable, and the answers touching in a dark and magical way. i loved this so much!!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Krystal

    This quick entertaining read fit well with the Month of Myths Reading Challenge, but did not provide very deep insight.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Corey Miller

    Loved this column and love Baba Yaga's poetic, Tarot Card-esque bits of advice. Definitely recommend to anyone looking for literary Halloween gifts. Loved this column and love Baba Yaga's poetic, Tarot Card-esque bits of advice. Definitely recommend to anyone looking for literary Halloween gifts.

  24. 4 out of 5

    MEGAN C

    The most incredible and perfect book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    In one of my Readercon fugue states last year I picked up Taisia Kitaiskaia’s Ask Baba Yaga: Otherworldly Advice for Everyday Troubles, largely because it was very pretty--all red and black and white, with glossy pages and swirly, Russian-flavored illustrations--and also, anything Baba Yaga-related is likely to be a good time. It was unabashedly one of those books that I bought instead of checking out from the library because I figured that even if I didn’t read it more than once, it would loo In one of my Readercon fugue states last year I picked up Taisia Kitaiskaia’s Ask Baba Yaga: Otherworldly Advice for Everyday Troubles, largely because it was very pretty--all red and black and white, with glossy pages and swirly, Russian-flavored illustrations--and also, anything Baba Yaga-related is likely to be a good time. It was unabashedly one of those books that I bought instead of checking out from the library because I figured that even if I didn’t read it more than once, it would look lovely on the shelf, and therefore be worth keeping around. Though the book was published and purchased in pre-COVID times, it jumped out at me as I was scanning my TBR shelf as a possibly psychologically suitable read, since everything is weird now and weird advice seems like it’d be more soothing to read about than actual advice. In this I was broadly correct. The questions given to Baba Yaga are standard advice column fare, too brief to even contain any really wacky stories that you can freak out about, but posing short and often vaguely philosophical questions like “Why am I so shallow?” and “How can I open up?” The first third or so of the book is, unsurprisingly, questions about romance, and I appreciated that the answers were wacky and, not infrequently, mean enough to be entertaining. The other thirds are about being a good person and deciding what paths to choose in life, respectively, and though Baba Yaga’s answers were weird and often mean, they were nonetheless sort of atmospherically satisfying. When I could glean sense from them the advice seemed reasonably sound, if not always very concrete. The answers are full of typos and archaic language, giving them an appropriately “communing with a bog witch” type of vibe, and overall it was just kind of a weird experience to read, but the kind of weird experience that makes more sense these days than attempts to impose actual sense on life. Certainly worth keeping around to look nice, and occasionally thumb through when I’m feeling odd. Originally posted at The birds want what you want.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ceallaigh

    “Voices are ; noise, humanly noise—but what knows best in you is not of human shape or sound but of a stranger, Wilder beast. )Now it turns in your stomach, now it rends yr chest. Tell the voices to shut up & listen for the growl.” This sweet, dark little book is full of beautifully written advice communed to the author by Baba Yaga herself. Advice that includes how to deal with feelings of anger and desires for revenge, feelings of low self worth and hopeless depression, feelings of love, fear, “Voices are ; noise, humanly noise—but what knows best in you is not of human shape or sound but of a stranger, Wilder beast. )Now it turns in your stomach, now it rends yr chest. Tell the voices to shut up & listen for the growl.” This sweet, dark little book is full of beautifully written advice communed to the author by Baba Yaga herself. Advice that includes how to deal with feelings of anger and desires for revenge, feelings of low self worth and hopeless depression, feelings of love, fear, and frustration, as well as a ton of gorgeous illustrations that give me serious tattoo inspiration vibes. 🤗 But Baba Yaga isn’t trying to hold your hand or even to make you feel any better. Oftentimes your wishy washy whiny human troubles make her snort and roll her eyes and she delivers her advice in terse, rushed, abbreviated, and badly punctuated gruntings—but even those contain the seeds of true wisdom and you quickly realize that when Baba Yaga speaks, it would be your great mistake not to heed her words. “You are,a morning wildflower in which the dew has bundled itself. Yr work is to keep growing & bloom in yr small bright life. You cannot change the forest even as you see the animals;tearing into each others’ bodies there. You bring peace to the forest by glowing palely in yr beauty.” I absolutely loved the writing style of Baba Yaga’s answers. Her strange word choices and all over the place punctuation did an excellent job of evoking the growling, cackling voice of an old crone, barking out her advice as she putters around the forest, or soars through the night sky in her mortar. Baba Yaga is one of my alltime favorite folkloric characters and Kitaiskaia’s book perfectly captures her spirit in all her wonderful hag-exquisiteness. I can’t wait to get her second book: Poetic Remedies for Troubled Times. “…& as for me fear is a pushcart I roll jolly—down the hill & the faster it rides the faster do my Wounds in my heart flush with wind & so am I most blood-fueled and living in my healthy glory on this earth.” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Further / Similar / Suggested Reading: - Taisia Kitaiskaia also wrote Literary Witches, which I also have, and love. ☺️ - Hag, by Tamara Jobe (poetry) - In the House in the Dark of the Woods, by Laird Hunt (literary fiction with strong forest witch vibes) - Drive Your Plough Over the Bones of the Dead, by Olga Tokarczuk (literary fiction with strong crone vibes)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marzie

    A few years back, on Fairy Tales News Once Upon a blog, I read about the Ask Baba Yaga columns which formed the basis of this book and were one of the inspirations for Jane Yolen's forthcoming Finding Baba Yaga. Having been obsessed with Russian folktales since childhood you might say I've always been a little obsessed with Baba Yaga (no, not John Wick, do not go there). I've always disagreed about Baba Yaga as a one-dimensional evil figure because she was certainly transformative in some storie A few years back, on Fairy Tales News Once Upon a blog, I read about the Ask Baba Yaga columns which formed the basis of this book and were one of the inspirations for Jane Yolen's forthcoming Finding Baba Yaga. Having been obsessed with Russian folktales since childhood you might say I've always been a little obsessed with Baba Yaga (no, not John Wick, do not go there). I've always disagreed about Baba Yaga as a one-dimensional evil figure because she was certainly transformative in some stories as you can see in Baba Yaga: The Wild Witch of the East in Russian Fairy Tales. At the interface of Russian folklore and Zen Buddhism, in Ask Baba Yaga we see her as a figure dispensing deep, if occasionally abstruse, advice. Who is Baba Yaga? In her own words, "I am the unknown soul, the chaos in the mud. The snake roiling in butter, the nightmare in the bark, the owl sleeping on the nightmare.; In each egg, I am the cracking, and the bird, the delirious chicken scratching yr wound. You reach your hand into my dress, come up with diamonds, then worms. Ha! I am your fear turned inside out like a sleeve..." Asked "How do I keep from dwelling on the love I haven't had?" Baba Yaga's answer is: "The life of every being has some vast emptiness in it. Unspeakable, grievous, there is a field in the middle of my wood where no one goes. It is the heart of my loneliness. I go there to dance and be quiet & I love the intensity of its silence. If I were human I would wish to take another there. You must know every contour of your emptiness before you can know whom you wish to invite in." or "Why does this one physical feature make me grotesque?" to which she answers: "All mirrors tell the wrong story." Your cloak-hem has already brushed the ink-pool that mars all of us; the marring of being not as we thought we were... You have made a loveliness of your body through the moving of it & the mirror is a false confidant. Evermore, to be as I am is an honor & a magic." I recently listened to the audiobook collection, which includes Baba Yaga's Poetic Remedies for Troubled Times: From Ask Baba Yaga, as well as the first book, Ask Baba Yaga. The collection is colorfully narrated by Zura Johnson, and it made me realize yet again how interesting Kitaiskaia's writing is. Johnson's voicing of Baba Yaga (properly pronounced Baba Yagá, by the way) is wonderful and grew on me as I listened. I received the digital audiobook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Liv Sol Lilith Oschlag

    First things first: this narrator was PERFECTION. Her voice really exuded the mysticism, the old-as-time energy, the witty, sometimes biting magical wisdom of the Baba Yaga. At some points, where the questions could have been written by me, I felt like I was sitting down opposite Baba Yaga in her chicken-footed hut, gazing into her bottomless eyes in supplication... wishing she could be a mother to me, giving me the strength to go on through merely her wordless, imposing presence. (Perhaps that' First things first: this narrator was PERFECTION. Her voice really exuded the mysticism, the old-as-time energy, the witty, sometimes biting magical wisdom of the Baba Yaga. At some points, where the questions could have been written by me, I felt like I was sitting down opposite Baba Yaga in her chicken-footed hut, gazing into her bottomless eyes in supplication... wishing she could be a mother to me, giving me the strength to go on through merely her wordless, imposing presence. (Perhaps that's my mommy issues acting up...) I think maybe this recording could have benefited from having some short musical interludes here and there, though. Personally, I found myself losing focus quite a few times while listening, because the individual questions and answers are so short and simultaneously so packed with metaphors to interpret and decode, so beautifully crafted - each answer is like a gift, carefully wrapped, and one must peel off the layers of wrapping to get to its core. The advice and wisdoms given here really deserve - and need - to be properly listened to and taken to heart, so I would have appreciated a minute or so here and there to reflect on everything, especially after dealing with the heavier subjects. Instead, I had to skip back several times, which made for a less relaxed listening session. Regardless, I really did like it. It was a quick and introspective listening experience, and it kind of felt like having a mental and emotional spa session. Having already read and enjoyed Jane Yolen's beautiful verse novel Finding Baba Yaga, which apparently took some inspiration from the Ask Baba Yaga column, listening to this collection was a closing of the circle, in a way. It made me want to go back to Yolen - in fact, I think I'll do that right now.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mer Mendoza (Merlyn’s Book Hoard)

    Baba Yaga as an Agony Aunt. (I suspect she’d be unwilling to play this nice, but if you’re willing to admit the premise, it is a delight) I started this audiobook with extremely high hopes that nearly sputtered and died out in the rather long series of silly questions seeking romantic advice—romantic advice that was funny! Picture going to Baba Yaga to bemoan your dating woes! The juxtaposition is ridiculous and fun...for a while. But they keep coming and the novelty was just beginning to wear of Baba Yaga as an Agony Aunt. (I suspect she’d be unwilling to play this nice, but if you’re willing to admit the premise, it is a delight) I started this audiobook with extremely high hopes that nearly sputtered and died out in the rather long series of silly questions seeking romantic advice—romantic advice that was funny! Picture going to Baba Yaga to bemoan your dating woes! The juxtaposition is ridiculous and fun...for a while. But they keep coming and the novelty was just beginning to wear off when I get the air knocked out of me as it shifts to far more profound answers to far more complicated questions. My hopes were restored and my eyes occasionally misty. If you are in need of some cryptic and heavily symbolic advice for whatever problems may ail you, seek no further. Book one is good. Book two is spectacular. “The beaches of this earth are littered with spines abandoned” Pick one up and strap it to your back.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Darcysmom

    I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review. I liked the idea of this book better than its execution. Fortunately, many of Baba Yaga's answers had flashes of brilliance. I frequently found myself nodding along with her advice - and sharing a few specific instances with friends. I had some issues with the formatting of Baba Yaga's answers. There was some random punctuation (which I think was intentional) and there was a consistent use of "yr" for your which bug I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review. I liked the idea of this book better than its execution. Fortunately, many of Baba Yaga's answers had flashes of brilliance. I frequently found myself nodding along with her advice - and sharing a few specific instances with friends. I had some issues with the formatting of Baba Yaga's answers. There was some random punctuation (which I think was intentional) and there was a consistent use of "yr" for your which bugged me. I am guessing that this was done to try to communicate the urgency of transcribing Baba Yaga's answers, but it fell flat for me. Had the formatting issues not existed, Ask Baba Yaga would easily be a 3.5 or even a 4-star book. I would happily recommend this book to my friends who enjoy quirky, sometimes slightly off-kilter advice columns.

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