Book Review by Alison Genter, Fremont Library staff member
A book that I would recommend is Taisia Kitaiskaia’s Ask Baba Yaga: Otherworldly Advice for Everyday Troubles. The titular Baba Yaga of Russian folklore fame offers insight and wisdom to reader’s questions. It is a delightful blend of modern problems met with old-world pragmatism.
The questions range from romance to one’s own ego and the responses vary from thought provoking to whimsical nonsense. I’m not sure if the lead-in questions are real or not, but I don’t really think it matters. The questions are varied enough and sincere enough that I wager most can find one or two that resonates with them or someone they know. I doubt this book will change someone’s life, but might elicit some reflective “hmms.” And if you’re not looking for anything that deep, this book also offers a lot of humor. The author’s background is in poetry and that is abundantly clear in her use of imagery and phrasing.
A small word of warning for the written version as Baba Yaga's responses are written in imperfect spelling and grammar. The trade-off being the fun folk illustrations you miss with the audio version. The advice column setup is nice as it offers the option to sneak complete little portions here and there when you’re able without having to worry about remembering a larger plot. A previous interest or knowledge of Baba Yaga is not necessary to enjoy this book. However, if an advice column told in the voice of an old woman who lives in the woods in a house with chicken legs sounds good to you, you might just be the perfect audience.
Both the ebook and eaudiobook are available through HOOPLA (a digital collection) with your Fremont library card. This book can be found in the Hoopla Digital app or by visiting https://bit.ly/2Oq7i3q
“The wellness remembers the deep living of the wound, & so is happier than any easy health.”- Baba Yaga
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