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Lonely Planet Romania 5th edition, written by me and Mark Baker, hits stores in May 2010! It’s a comprehensive and gratifying update, what with all the dizzying changes that ensued since EU membership in 2007. I worked many nights and weekends to make this book as excellent as possible. Even the cover is awesome. It will steer you well.
I’ve always said that the best guidebook in the world is a Lonely Planet glued to a Rough Guide. Rough Guide is light on reviews and sometimes hard to negotiate as a reader looking for quick info, but the absurd detail and extra long sections on history, culture and arresting information makes it a wonderful pre-trip read or distraction during those long train and maxitaxi rides.
Eastern Europe (Multi Country Guide)
The R&M chapters are a lighter version of the full Romania and Moldova book, but adequate for a non-intensive visit.
To be perfectly frank, the R&M chapters here are quite thin and will disappoint those who are doing anything more than a quick flash through these countries. I tried to stuff it with as much pure information as possible, but those pesky word-count limits only allow for so much detail.
Dracula is Dead: “Join former United States ambassador to Romania Jim Rosapepe and his wife, award-winning journalist Sheilah Kast, on an amazing tour of an amazing land beyond Dracula, beyond orphans, beyond Communism, to the vibrant culture, unique history, and 21st century skills that define modern Romania.”
Romania, by Lucian Boia. A well researched and highly recommended introduction to Romania’s history, which, in some cases, runs decidedly contrary to popular belief. Product description: Romania examines the development of this eastern European country from the Middle Ages to the present day, introducing the reader to its culture, history, language, politics, ethnic identity, and international relations. Lucian Boia shows how modernization and the influence of Western language and culture have divided the nation, arguing that the country today is having difficulty fixing its identity and envisioning a future, and concludes with a tour of present-day Bucharest whose houses, streets and monuments embody the country’s values and contradictions.
How could I not mention “Dracula”? Easily Romania’s biggest name-check in literature. Though he never laid eyes on Transylvania, Irish writer Bram Stoker placed part of his epic 19th-century vampire novel in a castle near the city of Bistrita. Predictably, the book has little to do with Romania as it really is (or ever was), but in addition to being a classic, why not fuel a little giddy vampire dread during your trip by throwing it in your day-bag?
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days – The film won the ’07 Palme d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival. Two College Roommates have 24 hours to make the ultimate choice as they finalize arrangements to meet a black market doctor for an illegal abortion. What follows is their harrowing descent into a world in where danger, darkness and tragedy lurk around every corner.