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Real Romania

Romania is still an undiscovered country for many travellers, but its beauty and variety of experiences make it well worth exploring.

Royal blood
by Rhys Bowen.
Waterville, Me. : Thorndike Press, 2011.
  1. "A Royal spyness mystery."
  2. Originally published : New York : Berkley, 2010.
     
Constantin Brancusi
Sanda Miller.
London : Reaktion Books, 2010.
Acknowledged as one of the major sculptors and avant-garde artists of the twentieth century, Constantin Brancusi (1876–1957) was also one of the most elusive, despite his fame. His mysterious nature was not only due to his upbringing in Romania—which, at the time, was still regarded by much of Europe as a backward country haunted by vampires and werewolves—but also because Brancusi was aware that myth and an aura of otherness appealed to the public. His self-mythology remained intact until the publication ofBrancusiin 1986 by Romanian artists Alexandre Istrati and Natalia Dumitresco, who made available a small selection of the archive of Brancusi’s correspondence. And in 2003, a comprehensive catalogue, which made the bulk of Brancusi’s private correspondence public for the first time, was published by the Centre Pompidou to accompany a retrospective on Brancusi’s work. InConstantin Brancusi, Sanda Miller employs these extensive new resources to better assess Brancusi’s life and work in relationship to each other, providing valuable and innovative insights into his relationships with friends, collectors, dealers and lovers. Miller’s perceptive book allows Brancusi to finally take his rightful place among the most important of the intellectual personalities who shaped twentieth-century modernism.
     
Royal blood
Rhys Bowen.
New York : Berkley Prime Crime, 2010.
Lady Georgiana Rannoch attends a wedding in Transylvania and finds the bride with blood running down her chin.

Annotation by: St. Louis Public Library staff.

     
Dracula
Bram Stoker ; with an introduction by Joan Acocella.
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2010.
Since its publication in 1897, "Dracula" has continued to terrify readers with its depiction of a vampire possessing an insatiable thirst for blood, and the group of hunters determined to end his existence before he destroys a young womans soul. Features a new Introduction. Revised reissue.
     
The castle in Transylvania
Jules Verne ; translated by Charlotte Mandell.
Brooklyn, N.Y. : Melville House, 2010.
This never-before translated tale by Jules Verne, the master of science fiction, is one of his few writings about the supernatural. This eerie gothic story set in a forgotten valley in the mountains of Transylvania, where demons and vampires menace the populace, pits a young stranger against the forces of evil and superstition.
     
Keeping the feast : one couple's story of love, food, and healing in Italy
Paula Butturini.
New York : Riverhead Books, 2010.
A story of food and love, injury and healing, Keeping the Feast is the triumphant memoir of one couple's nourishment and restoration in Italy after a period of tragedy, and the extraordinary sustaining powers of food, family, and friendship. Paula and John met in Italy, fell in love, and four years later, married in Rome. But less than a month after the wedding, tragedy struck. They had transferred from their Italian paradise to Warsaw and while reporting on an uprising in Romania, John was shot and nearly killed by sniper fire. Although he recovered from his physical wounds in less than a year, the process of healing had just begun. Unable to regain his equilibrium, he sank into a deep sadness that reverberated throughout their relationship. It was the abrupt end of what they'd known together, and the beginning of a new phase of life neither had planned for. All of a sudden, Paula was forced to reexamine her marriage, her husband, and herself. Paula began to reconsider all of her previous assumptions about healing. She discovered that sometimes patience can be a vice, anger a virtue. That sometimes it is vital to make demands of the sick, that they show signs of getting better. And she rediscovered the importance of the most fundamental of human rituals: the daily sharing of food around the family table. A universal story of hope and healing, Keeping the Feast is an account of one couple's triumph over tragedy and illness, and a celebration of the simple rituals of life, even during the worst life crises. Beautifully written and tremendously moving, Paula's story is a testament to the extraordinary sustaining powers of food and love, and to the stubborn belief that there is always an afterward, there is always hope.
     

It's unfortunate that many people still think first of Dracula when they think of Romania, because the country has so much more to offer.  Even so, Dracula-inspired tourism is booming, with fans from around the world coming to explore Transylvania and visit sites associated with the "real" Dracula, Vlad Tepes, the 15th-century ruler on whom Bram Stoker's fictional character was loosely based.

Romanian music

For centuries Romanian folk and Gypsy music has blended local, Hungarian, and Balkan elements. A typical band consists of a lead fiddle, double base, and cimbalom. Listeners may also hear a viola, clarinet, or accordion.

These sites also appeal to anyone interested in history. Ruins of the old royal court can be found in Romania's capitol, Bucharest, while Vlad's castle can be seen at Poienari, and his final resting place is said to be at the island monastery of Snagov. Most popular with tourists is Bran Castle, which has no real connection with Dracula, but definitely looks the part.

Romanian history goes back much further, as it was once the Roman colony of Dacia. Roman and prehistoric remains can be seen at Constanta, where the poet Ovid was exiled at the end of his life. Constanta is also a resort town, and an ideal place for exploring the Black Sea. Other activities for nature lovers include wildlife tours of the Danube delta, or hiking in the Carpathian mountains. Other uniquely Romanian experiences are visiting Bucovina's painted monasteries, and travelling through the beautiful countryside of Transylvania.

With its history, natural beauty, and friendly people, Romania offers travellers an unforgettable experience.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff