Category: Historical Fiction

5 Books That Resonate With Slavic Mythos and Folklore

With the Netflix adaptation of The Witcher mere weeks away from dropping, an article about books inspired by Slavic myth and folklore seems more than appropriate. Andrzej Sapkowski’s The Witcher series borrows heavily from this lore, and there does appear to be a recent spike in fantasy literature that follows in suit. Granted, the spike itself is not likely because of Sapkowski’s work, there might still be readers of his series who might be interested in reading other work that pulls from the same mythos.

With that in mind, here are five books that resonate with Slavic mythology and folklore.

 

 

1. Ask Baba Yaga: Otherworldly Advice for Everyday Troubles

 

image via amazon

 

Written by Taisia KitaiskaiaAsk Baba Yaga: Otherworldly Advice for Everyday Troubles is a compiled book of advice columns written by Baba Yaga, a witch from Slavic folklore who is known for being maternal and helpful to some, but also ruthless to others. She lives in a house that walks on chicken legs, and she has teeth made of iron. She flies around in a gigantic mortar and uses the pestle to steer herself through the sky.

Kitaiskaia, going off of the fact that Baba Yaga is an ancient figure who has seen much and lived much, writes in the style of Baba Yaga extolling advice to folk who mail her life questions. Her words can be cryptic at times, which forces readers to really sit and think on what she is saying. Often times, her advice might come in the form of an allegory, and her wording also demands that readers absorb what she says and sometimes reread that advice column in question. Alternating between stern words for those who might need a wake-up call, to maternal words to strengthen those who are struggling, Baba Yaga provides advice that isn’t just applicable to the people who asked the questions, much of what is said here can be relevant to others as well.

 

 

2. Uprooted

 

image via amazon

 

Written by Naomi NovikUprooted is one part a loose retelling of Rapunzel, one part a dive into Slavic mythos and magical lore, and wholly birthed from the vivid imagination of the writer. Uprooted follows the main character Agnieszka, a girl who hales from a valley that is on the border of a dangerous magical forest that corrupts both people and animal, turning them into proxies that this evil magic can enact violence through. Every ten years, the local sorcerer, the Dragon, will visit the valley to choose a girl to stay with him in his tower, where he has her clean and cook for him in that time. The actual reason behind him doing so is revealed later on in the novel. While living with the Dragon, Agnieszka learns that she, too, is able to wield magic, and she is one of the few who can actually interpret and cast the spells from a book written by Baba Jaga, a spell caster who fell out of time.

Whilst trying to learn how to use her magic in a way that is entirely her own, Agnieszka is also called upon to figure out a way to stop the forest from corrupting and harming more people and, ultimately, swallowing up the entire kingdom.

 

 

3. The bear and the nightingale

 

Image via amazon

 

Written by Katherine ArdenThe Bear and The Nightingale is the first book in a trilogy, and it weaves Slavic and Russian folklore together to create this narrative. This book follows Vasilisa, a girl whose name comes straight out of the fairy tale “Vasilisa the Beautiful.” Arden’s protagonist is confronted with several life-changing obstacles after her father brings home Vasilisa’s stepmother–a woman who wishes to either marry Vasilisa off, or to send her to a convent. While dealing with her stepmother’s cruelty, Vasilisa must also learn to control her magical powers.

This story invokes creatures from Slavic myth like the Rusalka, a water spirit who was once a human, and the Domovoy, who is a household god. There are many other beings who appear in this book and are inspired by Russian and Slavic tales.

 

 

 

4. Wicked Saints

 

image via amazon

 

Wicked Saints, by Emily Duncan, is the first book in a trilogy that deals with vampires inspired by Polish legends and a pantheon of deities that can be traced back to a distinctly Slavic source. This story follows three protagonists: Serefin, a blood mage; Nadya, who can hear the gods; and Malachiasz. The world that they inhabit has been ripped apart by war, and naturally, these three main characters will have a role in defining its future.

As can be assumed from a world that is war-torn, there is a great deal of violence in this narrative. This is not mentioned here to dissuade potential readers, but it is meant to be a word of caution before you start reading. The characters have constantly been referred to as “morally grey” by both critics and Goodreads reviewers, so if you enjoy fantasy stories that do not fall strictly within the good-evil binary (I know I most certainly do), then this might be the story for you.

 

 

5. Finding Baba Yaga: a short novel in verse

 

image via amazon

 

Finding Baba Yaga: A Short Novel in Verse, is the second book on this list that Baba Yaga plays a key role in. Written by Jane Yolen, this novel is completely composed of free-verse poems that details how the protagonist, Natasha, leaves her family and eventually finds her ways to the witch’s house. Entirely told from Natasha’s point of view, this story primarily centers on how she gains her voice and a presence in her own personal narrative.

This is an extremely short read, and it can easily be completed in one sitting. Yolen’s portrayal of Baba Yaga, reveals her to be a distant magical being who, simultaneously, acts as a motherly figure who encourages the girls who come to live with her to grow into strong, autonomous individuals.

 

 

Featured Image Via shri-boomer

 


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Bookstr’s Three to Read This Week 11/21/19

Thanksgiving is coming up. We’ll have license to feast, families will resume internal feuds, the Goku balloon will make its return to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Dragonball Z still counts as a book too). Anyway, there’s plenty of stuff and stuffing to be thankful for, including these new book releases!

Check out Bookstr’s Three to Read, the three books we’ve picked for you to read this week!

 

Our Hot Pick

Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History

 

 

Synopsis:

An important book for readers of all ages, this beautifully illustrated and engagingly written volume brings to life true stories of black men in history.
Among these biographies, readers will find aviators and artists, politicians and pop stars, athletes and activists. The exceptional men featured include artist Aaron Douglas, civil rights leader John Lewis, dancer Alvin Ailey, filmmaker Oscar Micheaux, musician Prince, photographer Gordon Parks, tennis champion Arthur Ashe, and writer James Baldwin.
The legends in this book span centuries and continents, but what they have in common is that each one has blazed a trail for generations to come.

 

Why?

New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Vashti Harrison returns with her latest addition to the hit Little nonfiction series. Harrison provides an enlightening crash course on some of history’s most iconic figures and unsung heroes that may have been previously overlooked. Their achievements span across all fields of study and professions you can think of, and surely will inspire future icons in the making.

 

 

Our Coffee Shop Read

Ronin Island Vol. 1

 

 

Synopsis:

After a mysterious attack devastates a great swath of 19th century Japan, Korea, and China, survivors from all three lands find refuge on a hidden island and build a new society. Hana, the orphaned daughter of Korean farmers, and Kenichi, son of a great samurai leader, have little in common except for a mutual disdain for the other. But these young warriors will have to work together when an army invades the island with shocking news: the Shogun has returned and the Island is expected to pay fealty in exchange for protection from a new threat…a mutated horde that threatens to wipe out all humanity.

Written by bestselling author Greg Pak (Mech Cadet Yu, Star Wars) and beautifully illustrated by Giannis Milonogiannis (Old City Blues, Prophet), Ronin Island explores an idealistic coming-of-age story against the backdrop of a morally grey time of war where the reasons for fighting are questioned at every turn.

 

Why?

Comics superstar Greg Pak has written epic contributions to the superhero genre before, but is now taking on an ambitious reinterpretation of history with some mythic flare. It’s Seven Samurai meets monster-invasion-apocalypse—brought to life with the art of Giannis Milonogiannis. Pull a Samurai Jack and travel to another land and time from the seat of your local coffee spot (he went to the future, but you get the idea).

 

 

Our Dark Horse

The Bromance Book Club

 

 

Synopsis:

The first rule of book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

 

Why?

It seems as though men have feelings too, and they show it when and where you least expect it. Some guys hype you up for a touchdown, other guys hype you up to save your marriage. With heart and humor, author Lyssa Kay Adams captures one of life’s many beautiful and nourishing occurrences that is the bromance—the loving companionship between dudes that lifts them up, and genuinely makes their lives better. If you can’t get enough, Booklist promises that, “Readers will look forward to more books in the Bromance Book Club series after this promising start.”

 

 

All In-text Images Via Amazon.

 


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5 Books To Bring Every Sagittarius Adventure

With the change of the seasons comes a change in the Horoscopes. From November 23 and December 21 it’s time for the Sagittarius of the world to shine.

The born adventurers of the Zodiac, Sagittarius are free-spirited, independent, and honest people. With a blend of deep thought, optimism, and intense curiosity, this is the sign that will embark on the greatest of adventures, packing humor and heart in their backpack. Here are some books that will take you on a journey, either in the world, in your mind, or in your spirit; and if you are not born into the sign, but still have an interest in these books, then there may be a little bit of a Sagittarius in you.

 

 

 

 

5-The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

 

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Explore the legend and magic of Vlad the Impaler, more widely known as Dracula. Theodora always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps as a treasure hunter, but never had her father’s permission. Now that his life is in danger during the most recent expedition, it is now up to Theodora to leap into action with the help of her father’s protégé, to save her father, uncover the mystery, and live to tell the tale.

 

 

4-The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis

 

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Meet the Good Luck Girls! Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings, they fight to survive and find freedom for themselves in a country that does not want them to. With everything against them, and their situation growing worse and worse every passing moment, these women will stop at nothing to blaze a path to freedom. This action-packed thriller will take you in a whirlwind ride that inspires us all to fight for ourselves and those that we love.

 

 

3-The Starlight Claim by Tim Wynne-Jones

 

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Not all adventures can be so upbeat, but we do what we must when a friend is in danger. This is the pledge that Nate has taken up, to venture into the unknown of the snowy woods to find his long-lost friend Dodge, but dangers and secrets lurk around every corner, and Nate’s innocent trek to finding closure for his trauma and loss may result in his demise.

 

 

 

 

2-Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death by Caitlin Doughty

 

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For the deep thinkers out there, this comical, non-fiction book takes a real look at some morbidly intriguing questions. Author Caitlin Doughty, who is a funeral director by trade, was inspired to write this book thanks to the flood of death-related questions that were tossed her way. Let’s face it, death is everywhere. Up in space, down in the ocean, potentially in your next meal. Death is all around us, and yet, it is such a mystery. So embark on an adventure through the deep and philosophical shower-thought questions that plague us throughout the night!

 

 

1-I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest

 

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Young Chloe Pierce dreams of being a ballet dancer, and an opportunity to apply for a spot at the dance conservatory of her dreams opens up at last. To her dismay, Chloe’s mom forbids her to apply to the nearest audition two hundred miles away. Starry-eyed and eager to follow her dreams, Chloe devises a secret plan to drive herself to the audition. This upbeat, road-trip adventure is a testament to all the dreamers out there. Go where you want to go, be who you want to be!

 

 

Images via Goodreads

 

Featured Image via Labrynthos

Hulu & Netflix Adaptations To Fill You Up This November

Whether you celebrate this month’s holiday of Thanksgiving or not, the cold season brings us a lot to be thankful for. Family, friends, warm clothes, and of course enough book content to fill your plate ten times over! So round the family up, and enjoy these amazing adaptations Netflix and Hulu have to offer.

Every new release has been put into categories and include the Netflix and Hulu release dates to boot! Click on the titles or where it says “book” or “novel” to either the watch film/show trailer or to purchase the original book!

 

        

 

About Authors

 

Ladies and gents, the great Margaret AtwooD | Image via fromclairespov

 

  • Margaret Atwood: A Word After a Word After a Word is Power (2019 Documentary) – November 19th, Hulu
  • Vita & Virginia (2019 Film) – based on the story of the love affair between Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf (November 22, Hulu)

 

Romance

 

From Under the tuscan sun | Image via giphy

 

 

Drama

Helena Bonham Carter’s intense glare from Wings of the Dove | Image via Pinterest

 

           

 

 

 

Crime

You don’t want to mess with The Queen of the South | Image via giphy

 

 

Thriller

 

From Apple Tree Yard | Image via ginges be cray

 

 

Supernatural

 

From NOS4A2 | Image via Tumblr

 

 

 

          

 

Comics

 

From The End of the F***ing World | Image via Giphy

 

 

Animation

 

From Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas | Image via Timblr

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Image via Variety

November Netflix: 3 Books to Screen Adaptations Coming Out!

Its a new month so that means new movies and TV shows to stream on Netflix! Can you name them all?

 

 

1-The King

The King

Image via IMDB

 

Based on Henry V by William Shakespeare, this adaptations come November 1st! Timothee Chalamet will be portraying Henry V, and Robert Pattinson will be in it as well, playing the Dauphin.

 

2-Let it Snow

Let It Snow

Image via Wikipedia

 

Based on the John Green Novel of the same name, this adaptations arrives November 8th! The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina star, Kieran Shipka, will be in it. As well as Marvel star, Jacob Batalon.

 

3-Green Eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham

Image via Geekytyrant

 

Based on the Children’s book by Dr. Seuss, this adaptation comes out November 8th! Familiar names, such as Tracy Morgan, Diane Keaton, Adam DeVine, and Keegan-Michael Key, from Key and Peele will be narrator.

 

 

Click Here for a full list of all new releases coming to Netflix

 

 

Featured Image via Facebook