10 books like The Kilt Behind the Curtain

By Ronald Mackay,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Kilt Behind the Curtain. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Along the Enchanted Way

By William Blacker,

Book cover of Along the Enchanted Way: A Story of Love and Life in Romania

A unique book. Read this and you'll find yourself in a disappearing world. Northern Romania eschewed the modern conveniences and less delicate touches of capitalism for most of the twentieth century. Blacker shares a life wholly dictated by the rhythms of nature. This is a world where the locals recognise someone visiting from another village at a distance, not by their face or their clothes, but by the horse they are riding.

Along the Enchanted Way

By William Blacker,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Along the Enchanted Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Chosen for the Duchess of Cornwall's online book club The Reading Room by HRH The Prince of Wales

When William Blacker first crossed the snow-bound passes of northern Romania, he stumbled upon an almost medieval world.

There, for many years he lived side by side with the country people, a life ruled by the slow cycle of the seasons, far away from the frantic rush of the modern world. In spring as the pear trees blossomed he ploughed with horses, in summer he scythed the hay meadows and in the freezing winters gathered wood by sleigh from the forest. From…


Never Mind the Balkans, Here's Romania

By Mike Ormsby,

Book cover of Never Mind the Balkans, Here's Romania

Former BBC reporter Ormsby presents a compilation of anecdotes from his time living in Romania. 

The stories vary between shocking, upsetting, and laugh-out-loud funny. They are authentic and absorbing sketches of the characters and hardships that make up everyday life in Romania before the country had shaken every vestige of its communist past. 

Since each chapter is a complete story, this is a great book to dip into for a little light entertainment. If you’re thinking of visiting Romania, it will help to give perspective on what makes the locals tick.

Never Mind the Balkans, Here's Romania

By Mike Ormsby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Never Mind the Balkans, Here's Romania as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Never Mind the Balkans, Here’s Romania' has been described as one of the best guide books on Romania. If you want to discover Romania with someone who knows it well, Mike Ormsby’s travel writing is for you. Whilst the average Romania travel guide provides details of places to visit, this writer takes a different approach. Ormsby gets up close and personal, blending journalistic objectivity with dry wit to craft true-life stories about the people who live in Romania: from friendly hikers and shepherds in Transylvania, to exasperated taxi drivers and bossy bureaucrats in Bucharest. Ormsby's bittersweet short stories are a…


The Little Book of Romanian Wisdom

By Matthew Cross, Diana Doroftei,

Book cover of The Little Book of Romanian Wisdom

Romania is not all Dracula and Olympic gymnasts. For example, did you know the original Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller, was an ethnic Saxon from Transylvania? 

During my time in Romania, I found her people bright and engaging. Simmer that in the melting pot of a turbulent multi-cultural history formed at a crossroads between powerful empires and it’s no surprise that the result is great insight, resilience, and wisdom. However, Romania’s minority language and time as a secretive Soviet state conspire to ensure their worldview has not been shared widely. 

Besides introducing some famous names whom you might not associate with Romania, this book is genuinely inspirational and captures the country’s spirit, humour, and culture.

The Little Book of Romanian Wisdom

By Matthew Cross, Diana Doroftei,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Little Book of Romanian Wisdom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Romania. For most of the world, the name usually conjures up images of Dracula, Olympic gymnastics legend Nadia Comaneci—and not much else. Yet this country with a rich history stretching back thousands of years contains countless wonders and hidden gems, producing many people who’ve made a major impact on our world. Their Wisdom has remained hidden behind the barrier of a language spoken by less than 25 million people worldwide. All selections within this book are from people born in Romania, including: • Hollywood legends Edward G. Robinson, Bela Lugosi (the original Dracula), and Johnny Weissmuller (the original Tarzan) •…


Dracula

By Bram Stoker,

Book cover of Dracula

I know what you’re thinking. Dracula isn’t unconventional. Well, at the time it was released, it was. Stoker did an excellent job of incorporating many genres into his vampire novel, including gothic horror and dark fantasy. Dracula is one of the reasons I write dark fantasy. The genre has changed so much over the years that if Dracula were released today, it would be unconventional once more, with Dracula being a true predator.

Dracula

By Bram Stoker,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Dracula as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The very best story of diablerie which I have read for many years' Arthur Conan Doyle

A masterpiece of the horror genre, Dracula also probes identity, sanity and the dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire. It begins when Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula purchase a London house, and makes horrifying discoveries in his client's castle. Soon afterwards, disturbing incidents unfold in England - an unmanned ship is wrecked; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman's neck; a lunatic asylum inmate raves about the imminent arrival of his 'Master' - and a determined group of adversaries…


Captain Vampire

By Marie Nizet, Brian Stableford (translator),

Book cover of Captain Vampire

This novel, published in 1879, is set in Romania at the time of the 1877-8 Russo-Turkish War. It is significant for its setting because it predates Dracula (1897) in being set in Romania (home of Transylvania). Nizet was a twenty-year-old Belgian woman who encountered Romanians in Paris who told her about how Russians had treated them during the war. Nizet created the character of Captain Vampire to represent how Russia acted like a vampire toward the Romanians, even though they were Russia’s allies. Captain Vampire’s behavior is shocking yet fascinating. As a critique of war, the novel is extremely relevant today given Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine. Personally, I am amazed by how a woman who never saw a battlefield could capture war’s essence so vividly.

Captain Vampire

By Marie Nizet, Brian Stableford (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Captain Vampire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written in 1879 (18 years before Dracula) by 19-year-old Marie Nizet, Captain Vampire, in its method and tone alike, is way ahead of its time. Although its plot has supernatural elements, and its antagonist is manifestly demonic, the novel's true purpose is to bring out the horror of war. A significant work in the history of horror fiction, it is undoubtedly one of the finest literary works ever to have made use of the vampire motif.


Calus

By Gail Kligman,

Book cover of Calus: Symbolic Transformation in Romanian Ritual

Humans also draft dance to help heal body and mind. I loved Kligman’s personal ventures deep into the complex concerns about life and death, fertility and health, found in related pre-Christian rituals in three areas of the Balkans: the Căluşari in SW Romania, the Rusaltsi in NW Bulgaria, and the Kraljevi—often with other names—just west in former Yugoslavia. (The word Rusaltsi comes from Rusalka, a Slavic name for the “dancing goddess”, as does Rusalii, the thrice-yearly festival in their honor.)  Her intriguing study comes from direct observation of the healing rituals, and on personal discussions with the dancers—including one who was particularly vulnerable to trance!  This is also true of L. Danforth’s remarkable account of the firewalkers of SE Bulgaria and northern Greece (Firewalking and Religious Healing). 

Calus

By Gail Kligman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Calus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Classic ethnography of a rural Romanian village and ritual by the outstanding American scholar of Romania and Romanian culture.


In Search of Dracula

By Raymond T. McNally, Radu Florescu,

Book cover of In Search of Dracula: The History of Dracula and Vampires

This book has engendered controversy for almost forcefully bridging the gap between the 15th Century Wallachian Prince Vlad III or Vlad the Impaler or Dracula. Stoker had already constructed his character, called “Count Wampyr,” before he learned of his future namesake. However, he quite clearly establishes a connection between the two through an explanation provided by Abraham Van Helsing. The Dracula of the eponymous novel is a heavily fictionalized version of the real-life figure, but so are most similarly positioned characters in literature, film, and television. Florescu and McNally provide a cursory overview of Slavic and Balkan vampire folklore, a biographical sketch of Vlad the Impaler, and illuminate the process by which Stoker adapted this violent, cunning, and sometimes brilliant nationalist and military tactician into a fictional monster.

In Search of Dracula

By Raymond T. McNally, Radu Florescu,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked In Search of Dracula as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The true story behind the legend of Dracula - a biography of Prince Vlad of Transylvania, better known as Vlad the Impaler. This revised edition now includes entries from Bram Stoker's recently discovered diaries, the amazing tale of Nicolae Ceausescu's attempt to make Vlad a national hero, and an examination of recent adaptations in fiction, stage and screen.


Carpathia

By Irina Georgescu,

Book cover of Carpathia: Food from the Heart of Romania

This book holds a dear place in my heart as it features delicious traditional recipes from my home country, Romania. It brings to life old recipes that embody Romania's historical multicultural influences. It includes unique and original recipes which you'll have a hard time finding elsewhere.

Carpathia

By Irina Georgescu,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Carpathia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Imbued with generosity, the spirit of community, and the flavours of a rich and varied culture" -NIGELLA LAWSON

Carpathia invites you to explore Romania's unique, bold and delicious cuisine: an exciting and unexpected amalgamation of all its diverse influences.

As a cultural melting pot its character is rooted in many traditions from Greek, Turkish and Slavic in the south and east, to Austrian, Hungarian and Saxon in the north and west.

From chargrilled aubergines, polenta fritters and butterbean hummus, to tangy bors, stuffed breads and Viennese-style layer cakes, Irina Georgescu has created over 100 mouth-watering dishes that are easy to…


The Story That Cannot Be Told

By J. Kasper Kramer,

Book cover of The Story That Cannot Be Told

I discovered this gem in my search for teen novels set in Romania during the Cold War. Kramer fashions her middle-grade book to mirror the folklore and superstitions prevalent in that setting. The novel is an homage to the power of story. The young protagonist collects all kinds of stories—some are true, some are fairy tales, some are dangerous, some can change lives. 

The Story That Cannot Be Told

By J. Kasper Kramer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Story That Cannot Be Told as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“By turns surprising, poetic, and stark, The Story That Cannot Be Told is one that should most certainly be read.” —Alan Gratz, New York Times bestselling author of Refugee
“A mesmerizing debut.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

A powerful middle grade debut with three starred reviews that weaves together folklore and history to tell the story of a girl finding her voice and the strength to use it during the final months of the Communist regime in Romania in 1989.

Ileana has always collected stories. Some are about the past, before the leader of her country tore down her home to…


Night

By Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel (translator),

Book cover of Night

Night, is, of course, seminal Holocaust reading, and would top any list no matter what said list is titled. It is really that core to the curriculum, you could say. For me, it’s the Holocaust through the lens of a teenager facing loss. In a world where Gen Z, Y, and X are miscommunicating with each of their generational forebears, it is worth pausing to read this and empathize with the loss of family, and the loss and hollowing out of the self. “What is happening to me? What is happening here? What is this personal hell” rings throughout. It is well worth noting that the original manuscript was filled with rage, and accusations against the creator. You get hints of that as you’re reading, and it is enough to feel that as an undercurrent to what was edited into a memoir of contemplation, rather than anger, but the…

Night

By Elie Wiesel, Marion Wiesel (translator),

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Born into a Jewish ghetto in Hungary, as a child, Elie Wiesel was sent to the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. This is his account of that atrocity: the ever-increasing horrors he endured, the loss of his family and his struggle to survive in a world that stripped him of humanity, dignity and faith. Describing in simple terms the tragic murder of a people from a survivor's perspective, Night is among the most personal, intimate and poignant of all accounts of the Holocaust. A compelling consideration of the darkest side of human nature and the enduring power of…


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Interested in Romania, Transylvania, and World War 2?

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