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Ask Baba Yaga: Otherworldly Advice for Everyday Troubles

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  657 ratings  ·  142 reviews
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.
When you seek others this way, you are invisible nonetheless. Yr shawl is covered in
Paperback, 141 pages
Published September 26th 2017 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
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Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
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
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:

Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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).
[Shai] Bibliophage
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-read-2017
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.
Katy Horan
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Kimberly Wiggins
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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!
Laura AP
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
if you're gonna take any advice in your life it might as well be baba yaga's!!!
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
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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!
Anna Rodimtseva
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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.
Katherine Noble
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Claire Bowman
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: home-library
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
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it
This quick entertaining read fit well with the Month of Myths Reading Challenge, but did not provide very deep insight.
Corey Miller
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this column and love Baba Yaga's poetic, Tarot Card-esque bits of advice. Definitely recommend to anyone looking for literary Halloween gifts.
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
The most incredible and perfect book.
Nov 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
“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,
S.T. Gibson
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Ask Baba Yaga imagines what it may be like if Baba Yaga, a fearsome and ancient witch from Slavic folklore, got hold of a typewriter and started cryptically answering the pleas for advice piling up on her doorstep. Existential crises, career crossroads, and love woes alike are stabbed at with incisive prose-poem responses juxtaposed with illustrations in stark colors. Sometimes the responses as earthy and pragmatic, other times they are macabre parables; oftentimes they are inscrutable recipes t ...more
Jul 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
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
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
There is a space inside poems where the wonder and wisdom and emotion and all of time resides. Ms. Kitaiskaia has ground up word-seeds with her mortar & pestle and offers this space to you.

You can go through each answer, never even reading the question, taking only the last handful of words, and still have a magical experience.

You can read each question and get a cross-section of humans and their frets and toils. A vision of how we are all the same, connected by fears and hopes.

You can read it
Julia #BlackLivesMatter
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Baba Yaga was, of course, an evil witch from my childhood, who ate children and cast terrible curses on people.
Now, grown up, I realize the symbolism of the witch in modern society, and especially the feminist movement.
Witches are wise, powerful women, who know themselves and realize the power they carry within, they are aware of the deep spiritual connection between nature and humans, and that everything has a price.
Baba Yaga tackles some present day troubles and tries to help the reader find
Nightshade Purplebroom
I don't particularly like "self help" books, or "advice columnist" type of things, but this was a quick, cute read. I do think just visiting the instagram once in a while is enough, to get a taste, and the book doesn't really offer much different. The illustrations within the book were my favourite part about the book.
Bailey Ashbaker
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Where horoscopes and advice columns have failed, Baba Yaga has brought me unfettered wisdom and soothed my worrisome heart. This book catered to the mystic in me, and has something for every wild, untamed soul that walks on this cursed Earth.
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a beautiful read. It was full of poetry, mystical theatricality, and whim, while also being very well grounded in learning to live, let go, and exist. I'm going to be doodling quotes in the margins for quite a while.
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“Dear Baba Yaga,

I feel like I'm forever missing something inside myself. With people, without people, wonderful job, jobless. I always feel like there's a gaping hole. What is missing?


By rooting in the hole you make the hole wider; you scrape , its walls you open fresh soil--the earth of it smells blacker & blacker, you see the hole & the hole only, you live within it always; if you find yrself eating fruits in the good forest you remember the hole & go to look if it is still there dropping yr fruit-meat all the whiles. & if you think think think only of the hole it will become the great work & mystery of yr life, & you will die in the hole as you lived in it.”
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