Ask Baba Yaga
With a strange, otherworldly style, poetic clarity, and striking honesty, Ask Baba Yaga contains beautifully skewed wisdom to be consulted in times of need. Dear Baba Yaga, I think I must crave male attention too much. I fear that, without it, I would feel invisible.   BABA YAGA: When you seek others this way, you are invisible nonetheless. Yr shawl is covered in mirrors in which others admire themselves; this is why they greet you so passionately. It is good to be seen, but it is better to see. Find a being to look hard into, & you will see yrself and what is more than you.  In age-old Slavic fairy tales, the witch Baba Yaga is sought out by those with a burning need for guidance. In contemporary life, Baba Yaga—a dangerous, slippery oracle—answered earnest questions on The Hairpin for years. These pages collect her most poignant, surreal, and humorous exchanges along with all-new questions and answers for those seeking her mystical advice. 

Ask Baba Yaga Details

TitleAsk Baba Yaga
Author
ReleaseSep 26th, 2017
PublisherAndrews McMeel Publishing
ISBN-139781449486815
Rating
GenrePoetry, Sequential Art, Graphic Novels, Cultural, Russia, Nonfiction

Ask Baba Yaga Review

  • Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads
    January 1, 1970
    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:
    more
  • Kendra
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
    more
  • Kirsty
    January 1, 1970
    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).
    more
  • Katy Horan
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Kirsty
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Corey
    January 1, 1970
    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.
  • Patrick Shaw
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Kimberly Wiggins
    January 1, 1970
    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!
  • Anya
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Krystal
    January 1, 1970
    This quick entertaining read fit well with the Month of Myths Reading Challenge, but did not provide very deep insight.
  • Katherine Noble
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Claire Bowman
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Corey Miller
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this column and love Baba Yaga's poetic, Tarot Card-esque bits of advice. Definitely recommend to anyone looking for literary Halloween gifts.
  • Darcysmom
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Olga Vilkotskaya
    January 1, 1970
    I'm thrilled that Kitaiskaia's Ask Baba Yaga is going to be available in book form, with a brand new set of questions and advice. Baba's voice is optimistic but doesn't beat around the bush, making her a much needed companion during those nights when beguiling thoughts visit us in the middle of the night. In response to a question about whether it's possible to fall in love again, while feeling critical and underwhelmed with potential partners, Baba says, "Wait for the guest who carries fresh me I'm thrilled that Kitaiskaia's Ask Baba Yaga is going to be available in book form, with a brand new set of questions and advice. Baba's voice is optimistic but doesn't beat around the bush, making her a much needed companion during those nights when beguiling thoughts visit us in the middle of the night. In response to a question about whether it's possible to fall in love again, while feeling critical and underwhelmed with potential partners, Baba says, "Wait for the guest who carries fresh meats, & until then, eat yr fine soups by yrself"-- in other words, be patient until someone worthy comes along. But paraphrasing Baba's responses misses the joy that reading these fantastic nuggets of wisdom brings. The beauty of Kitaiskaia's work is that it is uniquely comforting, profound, and taps into those things that bother us all, from "How can I forgive my narcissistic mother?" to "How can I help my summertime depression?" Some readers seem to be troubled by some idiosyncratic spelling and figurative language in the book, but many authors dole out their own linguistic particularities and styles. The effect in Baba Yaga is playful, conversational, and allows us to enter an imaginative world that brings us solace. Beautiful work from an talented poet and writer.
    more
  • Nikki
    January 1, 1970
    *Special thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this title in exchange for an honest review*“Ask Baba Yaga” is a book written by Taisia Kitaiskaia via Andrews McMeel Publishing.Unlike most of my reviews, this one requires a bit of explanation.Baba Yaga, also known as Baba Iaga, is a witch of Slavic Folklore. She is often depicted as an old woman who lives deep in a forest. Her cabin rests on the legs of a giant chicken, allowing the home to move according to her will.Washington and Lee *Special thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this title in exchange for an honest review*“Ask Baba Yaga” is a book written by Taisia Kitaiskaia via Andrews McMeel Publishing.Unlike most of my reviews, this one requires a bit of explanation.Baba Yaga, also known as Baba Iaga, is a witch of Slavic Folklore. She is often depicted as an old woman who lives deep in a forest. Her cabin rests on the legs of a giant chicken, allowing the home to move according to her will.Washington and Lee University explains Baba Yaga is known for either helping or hindering those who approach her for help.Kitaiskaia explains Baba Yaga is a human-eater, “a trickster witch – sometimes cruel, sometimes generous, always dangerous.”“Ask Baba Yaga” is not so much a story as it is a series of questions posed to the mythical witch, which Kitaiskaia asked and recorded Baba Yaga’s responses.The answers are written in elegant and meaningful lyrics and are separated into genres such as “Love Cauldrons,” “Good in Your Bones” and “The Forest Path.”Each question and answer offers a funny, serious, and thought-provoking replies to help guide your life in the right direction. Perfect for any coffee table, office bookshelf or student backpack.Ask Baba Yaga and enjoy the ethereal responses of the metaphysical wise woman.
    more
  • Audrey Adamson
    January 1, 1970
    I love old fairy and folk lore. So an advice book answered by Baba Yaga sounded like lots of fun. The idea is five start but the execution is a 2.5.Taisia Kitaiskaia channels Baba Yaga answering questions about love and every day life. Unbeknownst to me, this originated as a blog. People would write in and the author would give poetic answers. This seems pretty awesome but collecting the entries makes for a very uneven book. There are three types of questions: serious questions, poetic inquiries I love old fairy and folk lore. So an advice book answered by Baba Yaga sounded like lots of fun. The idea is five start but the execution is a 2.5.Taisia Kitaiskaia channels Baba Yaga answering questions about love and every day life. Unbeknownst to me, this originated as a blog. People would write in and the author would give poetic answers. This seems pretty awesome but collecting the entries makes for a very uneven book. There are three types of questions: serious questions, poetic inquiries, and all out jokes. These are mixed up with in the pages and the tone bounces around every where. Also, knowing the history and stories of Baba Yaga, all answers seemed suspicious and that took away from some of the poetry.And that is what the book really is poetry with a smattering of spells. The advice is mostly sound but at the same time Yaga is always to be taken with a grain of salt. I was very happy with the spells; the few she created are lovely and not the dumb rhymes you saw on Charmed. But hand down's the best part of the books are the images which are cite and whimsical.I received an ARC from NetGalley; all opinions are my own.
    more
  • Toyin A
    January 1, 1970
    A very illustrative book that answers random questions many people ask daily. Baba Yaga is some sort of sage/ fairy godmother/ metaphysical woman who gives answers questions in a creative and witty fashion.It was quite an easy but insightful read. Not all answers make sense to me but the ones that do make you think about certain circumstances you may have found yourself in.Baba Yaga does not indulge in sugar coating stupidity and cuts to the chase in giving answers to those who dare ask.Favourit A very illustrative book that answers random questions many people ask daily. Baba Yaga is some sort of sage/ fairy godmother/ metaphysical woman who gives answers questions in a creative and witty fashion.It was quite an easy but insightful read. Not all answers make sense to me but the ones that do make you think about certain circumstances you may have found yourself in.Baba Yaga does not indulge in sugar coating stupidity and cuts to the chase in giving answers to those who dare ask.Favourite quote: “As if lost, you have been standing by one tree, waiting. Don’t you know you are not lost? Walk out from your imagined captivity and cross paths with grander kinships.”
    more
  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC, provided by the author and/or the publisher in exchange for an honest review.A curious, humorous little advice book, written "in the words" of Baba Yaga, an ancient and wise Russian witch. The questions asked are ones that most humans have wondered a time or two; the answers are mostly helpful (occasionally too obtuse) and delivered in bits of parable and metaphor that make sometimes difficult truths easier to digest. My one big criticism: The bizarre punctuation Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC, provided by the author and/or the publisher in exchange for an honest review.A curious, humorous little advice book, written "in the words" of Baba Yaga, an ancient and wise Russian witch. The questions asked are ones that most humans have wondered a time or two; the answers are mostly helpful (occasionally too obtuse) and delivered in bits of parable and metaphor that make sometimes difficult truths easier to digest. My one big criticism: The bizarre punctuation and use of "yr" instead of "your" is a bit distracting,
    more
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    I thought this book would be an enjoyable read based on the synopsis of 'beautifully skewed wisdom to be consulted in times of need'. However, I found the answers to the questions to be quite abstract and bizarre, perhaps the 'otherworldly style' which the synopsis makes reference to. I tried to enjoy it, but found that I had to re-read the answers to questions several times to glean any sense from them, and with the amount of mental energy this took I simply couldn't enjoy this read.
    more
  • Siavahda
    January 1, 1970
    This is a beautiful, appropriately otherworldly book, gorgeously illustrated (illustrations which are present and perfect in the e-edition, which isn't always the case). Baba Yaga is a fount of fierce, uncompromising wisdom and Kitaiskaia has created - or built upon - a fantastic mythos to craft this masterpiece of an Agony Aunt-esque column. I know I'll be keeping this close, for reading through again the next time I need the great witch's advice.
    more
  • Sanah Yousif
    January 1, 1970
    Got an ARC from NetGalley. A very unique advice book filled with everyday questions and problems addressed by people to Baba Yaga, a russian mythical witch. The answers are either quite deep or utterly absurd, there is no in between. It would make a lovely present for a friend who needs some cheering up on issues related to love, family, self love & career. PS- The writing style might irritate the grammar nazi's a bit!
    more
  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    (I received a free copy from Net Gallery in exchange for an honest review.)This was gorgeously written and endlessly fascinating, to me. I felt that it managed to toe the line of mystical and fairy tale-ish while at the same time offering some fairly sound and heartfelt advice. Some of the answers about loneliness and longing were especially touching. So glad I read this!
    more
  • The Bibliophage
    January 1, 1970
    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.
    more
  • Regina Hunter
    January 1, 1970
    Book I was hoping to love. Has a letters to editor premise. From the third or fourth question it was not an everyday interesting troubles. Could have been better. Baba Yaga answers would have been interesting, if they were not focused on being poetic.
    more
  • Jeimy
    January 1, 1970
    Yes, baba Yaga's spelling and grammar leave something to be desired, but it was purposefully done to achieve a rustic, folktale-y vibe. I for one, enjoyed her nature-centric advice.
  • Stacy
    January 1, 1970
    Baba Yaga is the agony aunt you didn't know you needed
  • Ginny Lurcock
    January 1, 1970
    There were a few problems I had with the book.A) the formatting. It was hard to read the responses because words were abbreviated oddly and punctuation was thrown in at random. I don't know if this was intended because Baba Yaga is other worldly or just because it was a review copy, but it was not appreciated by this reviewerB) The advice didn't feel like advice Baba Yaga would give, namely becauseC) The advice was steeped in internalized misogyny. And Baba ain't got time for that. She doesn't f There were a few problems I had with the book.A) the formatting. It was hard to read the responses because words were abbreviated oddly and punctuation was thrown in at random. I don't know if this was intended because Baba Yaga is other worldly or just because it was a review copy, but it was not appreciated by this reviewerB) The advice didn't feel like advice Baba Yaga would give, namely becauseC) The advice was steeped in internalized misogyny. And Baba ain't got time for that. She doesn't feel it herself, and if someone comes to her soaked with it, she is more likely to eat them than help them... So while it was an interesting concept, it fell flat in its execution.
    more
  • lesley
    January 1, 1970
    I haven't read this yet but I literally pre-ordered three copies so that I could keep one, give one to a friend, and give one to someone I haven't chosen yet. Maybe you, reading this review! I love Taisia Kitaiskaia's writing on The Hairpin and am excited to savor this book.
    more
Write a review