Tag: list

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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5 Quotes To Help You Kick Your NaNoWriMo Slump

With the month winding down and NaNoWriMo writers working to reach their respective 50,000 word goals, it should come as no surprise that many of these NaNo participants are experiencing a writer’s slump. Some of these individuals might be dealing with deadlines that relate to school, or perhaps work is taking its toll as the holidays fast approach. Or maybe it’s just good old fashioned writer’s block — the scourge of all writers.

Regardless, this is the time of the month where NaNo writers are confronted by their exhaustion, and they have to make the choice to keep working towards their goals or to call it good for the year. To keep you going, here are five quotes from writers to encourage you to keep working on your NaNo project.

1. “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison

Image via Film at Lincoln center

Toni Morrison, author of Beloved and The Bluest Eye, is a Nobel Prize recipient and the writer of more than ten books.

 

2. “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” – Sir Terry Pratchett

Image via Britannica.com

While alive, Terry Pratchett wrote over 40 books. His impressive bibliography includes titles like Good Omens (co-written with Neil Gaiman) and the Discworld series.

 

3. “Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.” – Annie dillard

image via the Nation

Annie Dillard is a Pulitzer Prize winner and the writer of books like The Writing Life and Living By Fiction. She has dabbled in multiple literary styles– everything from poetry to prose, and from fiction to nonfiction.

 

4. “It’s such a confidence trick, writing a novel. The main person you have to trick into confidence is yourself.” – Zadie Smith

image via Brain Pickings

Zadie Smith has been listed on Granta’s 20 Best Young British Novelists on two separate occasions. She is a recipient of the Orange Prize for Fiction award and a member of the Royal Society of Literature. She wrote the novels White Teeth and On Beauty.

 

5. “Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

image via Nbc News

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been rewarded the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Hurston/Wright Legacy award, and the Orange Prize. She wrote the novels Americanah and Half of A Yellow Sun

Featured Image Via Pinterest

 

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Three Books About Aliens and #ThingsWeAreNeverMeantToKnow

Alright, so I don’t really think there’s stuff we’re not meant to know – vive la science! – but a lot of people were talking about aliens (and Monty Python – Twitter, never change), so here are some books about aliens to start knowing some things. Maybe. The truth is out there!

Cinder – Marissa Meyer

This is a great start for anyone who likes their sci-fi light and lush, with enough cyborgs, psychics, and space travel to satisfy more die-hard fans. Set in futuristic Beijing, this well wrought fairy tale retelling features plague, sisterhood, and a robot who’ll be your favorite character. What more could you want? Crime? Formal wear? A lost foot? All that and more, plus, your book hangover will be delayed for quite a while, because there are several excellent sequels and a delightful graphic novel companion series. And did I mention Cinder is a mechanic? She’s a mechanic. Heart eyes.

 

These Broken Stars – Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner

Quick question – are you ready to suffer? This is a good book, maybe even a great one, but it’s going to break your entire heart and not even be sorry. Two strangers, the only survivors of a massive spaceliner crash, try to find their way across an alien landscape to the ship’s wreckage and hope of rescue. An unlikely pair, an heiress and a former soldier must work together not only to survive harsh conditions on dwindling hope, but to discover the secrets of this planet, long hidden, and more lovely and terrible than they could have imagined. Like I said, this one’ll hurt, but read it anyway. It’s earned.

 

Binti – Nnedi Okorafor

Confession; this one’s from my TBR. But it’s at the top of the list! Brutal, large scale war against terrifying aliens, an intergalactic university, and the terrible pull of leaving the Earth behind. Clocking in at under a hundred pages, this is definitely a quick read, but don’t worry about being abandoned – it’s the first of three novellas. Plus, we always, always stan a heroine who’s good at math. Isn’t that the dream? Be good at math, and risk death to go to space school? Don’t boo me, I’m right.

Images via Amazon

Featured image via DevantArt 

Dive into These New Biographies and Great Personal Stories!

 

Each week, Bookstr scans bestseller lists across the Internet to learn what people are reading, buying, gifting, and talking about most — just so we can ensure consistent, high quality recommendations. This week’s nonfiction picks are new biographies for you to dig into and be inspired! Dig in and enjoy!

 

5. The Man in the glass House by Mark Lamster

 

image via amazon

 

The Man in the Glass House by Mark Lamster tells the story of the most famous architect in the 20th Century: Philip Johnson. Award-winning architectural critic and biographer Mark Lamster’s The Man in the Glass House lifts the veil on Johnson’s controversial and endlessly contradictory life to tell the story of a charming yet deeply flawed man. A rollercoaster tale of the perils of wealth, privilege, and ambition, this book probes the dynamics of American culture that made him so powerful, and tells the story of the built environment in modern America.

 

4. Who Am I again? by Lenny Henry

 

image via amazon

 

Who Am I Again? by Lenny Henry tells the extraordinary story of his early years and sudden rise to fame. Born soon after his Jamaican parents had arrived in the Midlands, Lenny was raised as one of seven siblings in a boisterous working household, and sent out into the world with his mum’s mantra of ‘H’integration! H’integration! H’integration!’ echoing in his ears. A natural ability to make people laugh came in handy. At school it helped subdue the daily racist bullying. In the park, it led to lifelong friendships and occasional snogs. Soon, it would put him on stage at working men’s clubs and Black Country discotheques—before an invitation to a TV audition changed his life for ever.

 

3. they don’t teach this by Eniola Aluko

 

image via Amazon

 

They Don’t Teach This by Eniola Aluko steps beyond the realms of memoir to explore themes of dual nationality and identity, race and institutional prejudice, success, failure and faith. It is an inspiring manifesto to change the way readers and the future generation choose to view the challenges that come in their life, applying life lessons with raw truths from Eni’s own personal experience.

 

2. 1919 by Eve L. eWing

 

image via Amazon

 

1919 by Eve L. Ewing tells of The Chicago Race Riot of 1919, the most intense of the riots comprising the nation’s Red Summer, which shaped the last century but is not widely discussed. In 1919, award-winning poet Eve L. Ewing explores the story of this event—which lasted eight days and resulted in thirty-eight deaths and almost 500 injuries—through poems recounting the stories of everyday people trying to survive and thrive in the city. Ewing uses speculative and Afrofuturist lenses to recast history, and illuminates the thin line between the past and the present.

 

1. Kd by Marcus Thompson 

 

image via Amazon

 

KD by Marcus Thompson traces the famous journey of Kevin Durant. As a sports columnist for The Athletic Bay Area, and longtime beat reporter covering the Golden State Warriors, Marcus Thompson is perfectly positioned to trace Durant’s inspirational journey. KD follows Durant’s underdog story from his childhood spent in poverty outside DC; to his rise playing on AAU teams with future NBA players; to becoming a star and hometown hero for the Oklahoma Thunder; to his controversial decision to play for the NBA rival Golden State Warriors; to his growth from prodigy into a man, in the first true inside account of this superstar player.

 

Featured Image Via Amazon 

 

5 Elementary Sherlock Holmes Memes

Sherlock Holmes is one of the most beloved characters in the British canon, and with countless adaptations and reimaginings, it was bound to spawn its own army of memes.

 

When Someone Tries to Talk to You Before 10AM

 

Image via Pinterest

 

It’s too early to be any kind of way, and that includes mad at you. Just look at that face! Get the man a cup of coffee. Of course, knowing him, he’s probably just thinking about cigarette ash or lock picking and barely heard, but I still think there’s a lot to relate to. I think most of us have been in a state at one point or another where someone was talking to us and we looked at them like this.

 

 

I’m Basically a Genius

 

Image via Cheezburger

 

All the clues are there! Isn’t it more or less the stock and trade of the mystery genre to make you feel like you could figure out for yourself, and there’s no better feeling than actually being able to do it, whether you’re watching or reading Sherlock Holmes. I mean, the euphoria of finding out who committed crimes at the end is good, but not as good as figuring it out yourself.

 

 

Iconic

 

Image via Esmemes

 

Look, I think he’s valid, sitting in ridiculous ways and wearing a house robe, I’m actually pretty jealous. I know he deals with like, murder, every single day, but I’d still trade with him if it meant living like this. Just doing drugs and solving crime. Alright, I’d probably only enjoy one of those things, but this ridiculous posture really does make him an icon.

 

 

He’s All of Us

 

Image via Meme

 

We’ve all been through some things, ok? I confess I don’t have an alphabetized list, but there’s a club you can join if you want. It’s like, ‘who hurt you?’ and I mean, almost everyone. Plus, it’s like, you’re talking to a detective. I’m not an expert, but I’m not sure any detective runs into new situations just super trusting and optimistic. Who does?

 

 

It’s So Obvious!

 

Image via Pinterest

 

Alright, minimal shade, but at least Blue’s Clues actually showed us all the clues. Maybe a lot of shade. Idk. I’m just saying, if we’re not shown the clues, how are we supposed to know if he’s smart? I mean, you can just tell us, but it’s not the same visceral understanding we’d get if we know everything Holmes does and can’t figure out a single thing for ourselves.

 

 

Featured image via AstrologyMemes