siberian-tale

This is the seventh installment in a series of book recommendations, all of which will introduce you to kickass women from mythologies around the world, all of them written by women. All books listed had to pass the following criteria: 

  • Be written by a woman
  • Be fictional
  • Have a woman as (one of) the protagonist(s)
  • Feature Russian or Slavic mythology

This recommendation list comes on the heels of the Asian mythology rec list, because I really wanted to include Russia (which falls under both Asian and Slavic mythology), but I wanted to keep the country as a whole in one post. @kostromas (x) and @lamus-dworski (x) (x) were kind enough to take some time answering my questions.

While I mainly looked for books ft. Russian and Slavic mythologies (I used this Wiki file as a measure to determine the Slavic region), I also include a few books with other origins, such as Norway and various Eastern European countries, because I think - out of all the recommendation posts I have done and plan to do - this is the one they would fit best in. 

Please note as well that there is a lot of overlap among most of these cultures, with different versions of a character appearing in many, so some of the below classifications may be rather arbitrary (I usually go with what’s 1) listed in the summary, then see if 2) the writer specifies a culture, or if 3) readers had helpful input).

UPDATE: It’s been brought to my attention that this post could do with some clarification and additions. To start with, I’d like to address the small number of books listed under Slavic. I don’t mean to say that only the countries listed are Slavic countries. The list is as limited as it is because I found it difficult to locate books that met all the above listed criteria, and an unconscious fifth - that they be written in English. If you take out any one of those criteria, a larger pool of books would open itself up, and I encourage you to consider that as an option.

While I understand that limiting these lists to books written in or translated into English is not ideal, I also don’t think I am the right person to judge which books written in Slavic languages should be included, as I am not Slavic and don’t speak or read Slavic languages. Readers should be aware though, that reading a book featuring Slavic mythologies or cultures, which are not written by someone who identifies as Slavic, may promote a stereotypical or otherwise harmful depiction of those cultures. 

Moreover, those authors who do hail from the relevant region are more likely to be published if they don’t push the envelope too much to be acceptable for a generic Western audience. Therefore, additional reading of books on and / or featuring Slavic mythologies or cultures can aid in understanding the context of these tales. I have listed a couple of books in the honourable mentions with that in mind, and I have decided to add an asterisk (*) to all works written by an author who is confirmed as hailing from the region their work is set in. Typically, I’ve listed one or two books per author, but do check for their other writing.

Finally, I should add that I might have made a mistake in including Russia in this list. This was done because I wanted to keep the country in one post, rather than splitting it between the Asian list and this one. The Asian one was sufficiently long I didn’t want to add it there, but I might have been better off creating a completely separate list for it rather than including it here.

With the above reasons in mind, I have decided to move the Slavic section up, I have added a number of entries throughout, and expanded the resources list at the bottom.

Slavic

Russia

Other regions (not Slavic or Russian)

Undefined / speculative

Historical fiction

Comics & graphic novels

Some collected tales

Poetry

Honourable mentions

Other lists you can consult

If you have any suggestions for other Slavic and / or Russian women who deserve more attention (and a corresponding book), or which mythology should definitely be in this series, drop me a line!

Other kickass women in mythology: women in Greek mythology | women in Egyptian mythology & historywomen in Mesoamerican mythologies | women in Celtic mythologies | women in Native American mythologies | women in Asian mythologies | women in pirate lore & history

Here’s the thing about reading a life-changing historical fiction novel. Once you read one, there’s no going back. You need to read another. And another. And another. That’s how we felt after reading SALT TO THE SEA (out in February!) a heart-wrenching story that pulls back the curtain on one of the greatest untold tragedies in history, so we decided to share the love and round up 8 reads that will get YOU hooked on historical fiction:

1. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Four voices. Four secrets. The lives of four young people come together at the end of WWII, weaving a story that brings to light the greatest maritime disaster in the history of the world. It comes out February 2 but you can read the first chapters here!

2. The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

Who knew medieval France was so…scary? Matchmaker and tavern-keeper Botille has a secret: she’s hiding a branded heretic, Dolssa, in their town of Bajas. But how long can they avoid the wrath of the Church? THE PASSION OF DOLSSA comes out April 12 but you can start reading it here!

3. The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Beware of the shadows in Regency London, especially when demons have infiltrated every level of society. THE DARK DAYS CLUB comes out January 26 but you can start reading it here!

4. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Everything changed for 15-year-old Lina one night in 1941, when Soviet officers forced her family apart into Siberian work camps. A tale of survival, strength, and love that will make you want to hug the person next to you.

5. All The Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry

Two years ago, Judith returned to her village having been permanently mutilated. Now, the town is being attacked and she has to choose: continue to live in silence, or speak out and change the lives around her forever.

6. Flygirl by Sherri Smith

When America enters WWII, Ida Mae Jones sees her chance to chase her dream of flying – but she’ll have to deny her true self to do so in this empowering story about deciding who you want to be. 

7. A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller

In 1909 London, Victoria’s expected to become a wife and mother, when all she wants to do is become an artist. But how much is she willing to sacrifice to pursue her dreams?

8. Under A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Sammy and Andy are headed on the Oregon Trail to the California gold rush…except Sammy and Andy are actually Samantha and Annamae, girls in disguise who find out there aren’t many places to hide on the open trail.