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!

Monday, May 12, 2014

What market for promiscuous web-books?

It’s a damp, dreich day – enough to drive a man to whisky, rakia or palinka….But ideal weather for completing the next draft of my little cultural guide on Romania – which currently bears the rather cumbersome title of Encountering Romania – some cultural links
The version which I've just uploaded is 60 pages – but my own text is pretty modest, with 40 pages consisting of 3 annexes….
Starting with a list of blogs may be unusual – but what easier way to get a sense of a country than seeing it through the eyes of people (whether ex-pat or local) who has been sufficiently enthused about a country that they themselves then try to catch and convey some impressions? I’ve identified 16 blogs in English - an equal number coming from Romanians and ex-pats – I know of no other such list…
Indeed think I can reasonably claim that there is no better guide in the English language to material about Romanian culture than this little guide - 20 travelogues from the last couple of decades (that’s one a year); links to lists of several hundred novels; and to sites which will give data, for example, on a couple of hundred Romanian painters! 
Indeed I wonder why there aren't more such efforts????? 

What I might call "promiscuous" webbooks with links and downloads - "promiscuous" in the sense of covering a variety of the subjects you should be interested in when visiting a country. They used to be called Reference books - but in even their traditional form they were generally available only in the local language ie not for foreigners......
A new business model perhaps...........??? 

One of the new blogs I found when compiling the update for that section– Bucharest lounge (its been going 2 years) - uses the superb word “karmalicious” to describe Bucharest!

At the start of guide, I listed 16 ways of getting to know a country and its people – but appeared to forget about an important way of entering a country’s soul – simply walking around and chatting to people (although I did include “conversations” as one of the 16 methods!). The best of our travel writers use this method but my focus on bookshops and art galleries tends to limit such encounters…..

And I love my house in the Carpathian mountains so much – with its library of books, music and amazing views – that I am not tempted even into medieval Brasov all that often to explore - which is very reprehensible given that I have glorious Transylvania right on my doorstep.

As one of my daughters is coming next month and likes exploring and hill-walking, I have to find a guide for her. I immediately found a walking tour which actually includes my own village – but it is one which leaves from London (!) and ties her down to schedules. 
This excerpt on my section of the googlebook “The Mountains of Romania” gives a good sense of the area – the Piatra Craiaului is a dramatic range which I view from my rear terrace. “The most dramatic ridge-walk of Romania and one of the most enjoyable of Europe” is praise indeed from a British mountaineer!

From my front balcony I view the Bucegi range….and it’s that which figures most often as my blog masthead….
On a stroll yesterday to see a new house being built in the traditional style, I was sad to see three "weeping" houses in the neighbourhood.....

And to see the more casual methods being used in contemporary constructions methods here. 
The second of my snaps shows the traditional cut for the external beams of a traditional village building. The next photo the cut for beams being used for the the new house beside it.

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