what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

16 ways to get to know Romania

One of my daughters will be visiting me at the end of next month for the first time and has asked for some advance reading. A “know-it-all” father is a real bore but fortunately Hilary is an experienced traveller with a mind of her own.
Romania is not one of the most visited countries in the world! Go to any of the huge sections in a European bookshop which deal with travel (I think the Germans probably have the largest – they are big travellers!) and you will be lucky to find even there more than a couple of titles.
But good material about Romania can be found in other sections and places. Indeed I have been surprised, as I explored the net, by the amount of material which has been written about the country – except that I shouldn’t be surprised….it’s a big country after all - 20-odd million people – a lot of whom are (and have been) very highly educated. Indeed you could argue that the Romanian intellectual is so clever as to be almost off the planet!
So I have prepared a little guide on what’s available, building on the ten posts I did at the turn of the year – and recognizing that there are different ways to find out about a country. And don’t worry – my notes in the Guide are only 20 pages – the rest are annexes for dipping into! I have tried to ensure proper attribution for these - they are all taken from the internet so I assume they are not "intellectual property"!! But I am writing a proper "acknowledgements" section......

If you are a reasonably conscientious visitor - relying on the written word for your exploration of Romania - you will start looking at -
  • Travel guides
  • Travelogues – which can be divided into the serious or the (sadly increasing number of) tongue-in-cheek type
  • histories - which deal with what are considered to be the key events in the shaping of a nation
  • novels;
  • social and cultural histories (including jokes);
  • memoirs and diaries
  • blogs
  • journals
To these eight genres which use words can be added an equal number of other, generally non-verbal ways of trying to enter the spirit of a country -
  • television, films and plays
  • photographs 
  • buildings
  • conversations and encounters
  • friendships
  • music
  • paintings and caricatures
  • food and wine
That’s actually 16 different perspectives – no wonder we get confused! My little Guide tries to show what's available in a lot (but not all) of these categories....And I realise I haven't said anything about "walking and exploring" - probably the most important thing!!!
Anyway the link is of the initial draft - as you can imagine, I have found it a very stimulating project and am already hard at work on an update..................

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