The most recommended books about Romania

Who picked these books? Meet our 34 experts.

34 authors created a book list connected to Romania, and here are their favorite Romania books.
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Book cover of Captain Vampire

Tyler R. Tichelaar Author Of Vampire Grooms and Spectre Brides: The Marriage of French and British Gothic Literature, 1789-1897

From my list on classic French gothic you probably never heard of.

Who am I?

I’ve always been attracted to the Gothic before I even knew the term. From watching The Munsters as a child to wanting to live in a haunted house and devouring classic Gothic novels like The Mysteries of Udolpho and Dracula, I’ve never been able to get enough of the Gothic. After fully exploring British Gothic in my book The Gothic Wanderer, I discovered the French Gothic tradition, which made me realize how universal the genre is. Everyone can relate to its themes of fear, death, loss, guilt, forgiveness, and redemption. On some level, we are all Gothic wanderers, trying to find meaning in what is too often a nightmarish world.

Tyler's book list on classic French gothic you probably never heard of

Tyler R. Tichelaar Why did Tyler love this book?

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.

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.

Book cover of Go Hunt Me

Katya de Becerra Author Of When Ghosts Call Us Home

From Katya's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Horror maven Educator Immigrant Cultural anthropologist

Katya's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Katya de Becerra Why did Katya love this book?

I’m a huge fan of Kelly deVos, and I’m always excited when she has a new book out. But when I first read the description of Go Hunt Me, my excitement went into overdrive. This book is brimming with my favorite things: horror movie lore, enigmatic location, social commentary, moody weather, feminist vibes, and the sinister yet subtle supernatural dread… I’m in!

What I didn’t see coming was the incredible, mind-breaking twist! This book manages to be both deeply atmospheric and fast-paced, as well as chilling, thrilling, and surprising. But who is the real monster, the story asks? This question will stay with readers long after they turn the final page. 

By Kelly deVos,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Go Hunt Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

For Dracula lovers and fans of Diana Urban’s All Your Twisted Secrets,this spine-tingling thriller follows seven horror buffs as their dream trip to a remote Romanian castle turns into a nightmare when they begin to be killed one by one.

Alex Rush is ready for the trip of a lifetime.

She and her friends have made some creepily awesome films together throughout high school, so with only a few months left before they go their separate ways for college, they’re determined to make the best one yet: an epic short film that reimagines the story of Dracula, filmed on location…

Book cover of No One Is Here Except All of Us

Jennifer Rosner Author Of The Yellow Bird Sings

From my list on Jewish-themed imaginative female characters.

Who am I?

I love stories about human connection and creativity. I came to writing later in life; I was moved to research and write a memoir about raising our two daughters, both of whom were born deaf. I discovered in my Jewish ancestry two deaf great-great aunts who tied strings to their babies’ wrists at night so that when their babies cried, they would feel the tug in the darkness and wake to care for them. This innovation of connection has shaped me as a mother, a writer, and a reader. In my novel, The Yellow Bird Sings, a mother and daughter stay connected through music and the power of imagination.

Jennifer's book list on Jewish-themed imaginative female characters

Jennifer Rosner Why did Jennifer love this book?

I read this magical, mystical novel on an airplane, and had to retrieve a spare t-shirt from my suitcase to sob into! A beautiful, heart-wrenching work about family history, memory, and the power of imagination, the story is narrated by a girl, Lena, who leads her village to imagining their way out of the reality of the Holocaust's horrors. For a time, the villagers are spared, even repaired, until the outside world presses its way in and the myths crack, then shatter.  

By Ramona Ausubel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No One Is Here Except All of Us as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the award-winning author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty and the new story collection, Awayland.

In 1939, the families in a remote Jewish village in Romania feel the war close in on them. Their tribe has moved and escaped for thousands of years- across oceans, deserts, and mountains-but now, it seems, there is nowhere else to go. Danger is imminent in every direction, yet the territory of imagination and belief is limitless. At the suggestion of an eleven-year-old girl and a mysterious stranger who has washed up on the riverbank, the villagers decide to reinvent the world:…

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

Kurt Amacker Author Of Bloody October

From my list on making you a true vampire scholar.

Who am I?

I am a comic book writer, novelist, and vampire aficionado. I always want to learn the truth of a matter. I’ve moved in and out of the gothic subculture for years and spent time with members of the vampire subculture. I’ve found that most people’s understanding of vampires (and really, everything) is influenced by fiction. Even if you point out that their beliefs are only as accurate as a movie, they will still argue for them. As much as I love a good vampire movie, I want to shatter illusions and explore the myths and folklore that reflect our human experience in all of its horror and glory.

Kurt's book list on making you a true vampire scholar

Kurt Amacker Why did Kurt love this book?

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.

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.

Book cover of Carpathia: Food from the Heart of Romania

Mihaela Metaxa-Albu Author Of 30-Minute Keto: Low-Carb Cooking Made Fast, Easy & Delicious

From my list on top cookbooks of all time.

Who am I?

I'm an ex-pastry chef at Zuma London, current food blogger and creative director at and I cook and shoot food photos and videos for 10 hours a day, almost every day of the week and I wouldn't have it any other way. I consider myself an artist and cooking is an expression of my inner self. I started cooking about 15 years ago as a hobby and within a year I took it to the next level by attending a 1-year class at Southgate College in London and getting my Chef Diploma. Right after that, I landed a job as a pastry chef at Zuma London which quickly transformed me into a pro. 

Mihaela's book list on top cookbooks of all time

Mihaela Metaxa-Albu Why did Mihaela love this book?

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.

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…

Book cover of Just One Drop

K. A. Gandy Author Of The Lost Talisman

From my list on sci-fi to fall in love with morally gray heroes.

Who am I?

Morally gray heroes are my absolute favorite kind. Whether it’s Batman, Dean Winchester from Supernatural, or the heroes on this list—if he’s not dark and stormy, well, I’m not interested. There’s a depth to these characters that others often lack, and I find it so fascinating. Especially when there’s romance involved. The books on this list are nearly all polar opposites, and yet... they each stretch our capacity to love to the very breaking point—and then make us catch our breath. How far into the darkness can he go, and still come back with a heart left to give to his heroine?

K. A.'s book list on sci-fi to fall in love with morally gray heroes

K. A. Gandy Why did K. A. love this book?

There is nothing about this book, and the heroine in it, that isn’t fun and hilarious. Jen is mouthy and wild, and more than willing to tempt Decebel—a hunky, dangerous werewolf—to throw all his rules against getting involved with humans to the wind. This grumpy and sunshine book hooked me before the grumpy/sunshine trend was even a thing. But don’t let the fun fool you—dark magic is at work, and they will be up against life-and-death odds if they’re going to make it as a couple. 

By Quinn Loftis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Just One Drop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

A wolf.
A girl.
And a whole lot of awkward.

Jennifer Adams, best friend to a werewolf and a gypsy healer, is spicy, outspoken, a little crazy, and completely human...or so she thought. Jen has just found out that human DNA isn't the only thing that resides in her veins. She happens to share that little pesky werewolf gene, although it isn't more than just a drop. Now that she and her friends are living in Romania with Fane's pack, she is oh-so-conveniently stuck with the object of her affection, the broody furball, Decebel. Drawn to each other by something…

Book cover of Dracula Park

Patricia Furstenberg Author Of Dreamland: Banat, Crisana, Maramures, Transylvania, 100-WORD STORIES, Folklore and History

From Patricia's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Writer Blogger Mother Flâneuse Coffee addict

Patricia's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Patricia Furstenberg Why did Patricia love this book?

As a Romanian-born reader who is fascinated by Vlad the Impaler's life and folklore I was drawn to Grigorcea's presentation of the ancestral homeland and Dracula's haunting legacy. Her portrayal of a post-communist society still grappling with its past echoed my own experiences and observations. 

The atmosphere is eerie, dreamlike in places, and the lines between history and fiction are blurred. But Grigorcea's exploration of fate and the enigmatic figure of Dracula adds depth and complexity to the story. Yet it is not a bloodthirsty vampire novel or a modern Dracula à la Bram Stoker - which I appreciated.

It's a novel that delves not only into the historical and supernatural, but also into the enduring power of Romania's cultural heritage. Overall, a captivating and evocative read that held my attention.

By Dana Grigorcea, Imogen Taylor (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In post-Communist Romania, on the border with Transylvania, the sleepy little town of B. is losing its young people to the West.

A young painter returned from Paris and her eccentric great-aunt seem unconcerned with the decline of the town, until a mutilated corpse is found in the family crypt of Prince Vlad the Impaler, better known as Dracula.

As the world's attention turns to B., the mayor and his son take advantage and turn the town into a vampire-inspired theme park. Tourists flock, but beneath the surface ancient horrors live on.

This is a breathtaking, atmospheric tale of revenge,…

Book cover of Calus: Symbolic Transformation in Romanian Ritual

Elizabeth Wayland Barber Author Of The Dancing Goddesses: Folklore, Archaeology, and the Origins of European Dance

From my list on European dance in female fertility and health.

Who am I?

I’m an information junkie who loves to dance. I fell in love with folk dancing at age 6, European archaeology at 11, linguistics and cognition at 21—and could never drop any of them. My scientist-father always said, “Follow the problem, not the discipline,” and I began to see how these fields could help answer each other’s questions. Words can survive for millennia—with information about what archaeologists don’t find, like oh-so-perishable cloth. Determining how to reconstruct prehistoric textiles (Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years) then led me to trace the origins of various European folk costumes, and finally even to reconstruct something about the origins of the dances themselves.

Elizabeth's book list on European dance in female fertility and health

Elizabeth Wayland Barber Why did Elizabeth love this book?

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). 

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.

Book cover of Mrs. Plansky's Revenge

Lucy Burdette Author Of A Clue In The Crumbs

From Lucy's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Clinical psychologist Foodie Reader Pet enthusiast

Lucy's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Lucy Burdette Why did Lucy love this book?

Spencer Quinn's Mrs. Plansky, a retired 70-something in a Florida retirement community, falls victim to a scam that cleans out her savings. She has no job, no husband (he's recently deceased), an elderly and difficult father, and several needy grown children with ridiculous schemes that would require big cash infusions from their mother.

She decides she can't take this blow lying down and rises to the occasion in the most charming and wildly believable way. (Hint: she travels to Romania to track down and confront the scammers.)

Since I enjoy Richard Osman's books about a foursome of senior sleuths and adore writing octogenarian Miss Gloria in my Key West mysteries, Mrs. Plansky struck me as the perfect spunky sleuth. 

By Spencer Quinn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mrs. Plansky's Revenge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mrs. Loretta Plansky, a recent widow in her seventies, is settling into retirement in Florida while dealing with her 98-year-old father and fielding requests for money from her beloved children and grandchildren. Thankfully, her new hip hasn't changed her killer tennis game one bit.

One night Mrs. Plansky is startled awake by a phone call from a voice claiming to be her grandson Will, who desperately needs ten thousand dollars to get out of a jam. Of course, Loretta obliges-after all, what are grandmothers for, even grandmothers who still haven't gotten a simple "thank you" for a gift sent weeks…

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

Jacqueline Lambert Author Of Dogs n Dracula

From my list on Romania and her people.

Who am I?

I am an adventure traveller, author, blogger, and dog-ma. Tired of living life in thin slices, I quit work to live my dream. I wanted to travel meaningfully and get to know the countries I visit in a way that is not possible in a two-week mini-break. B.C. (Before Canines). I hurtled, slid, submerged, and threw myself off bits of every continent except Antarctica. A.D. (After Dog), Mark and I became Adventure Caravanners. Our aim: To Boldly Go Where No Van Has Gone Before. Against all advice, we toured Romania for three months and fell in love. Since then, I have been on a one-woman mission to set Romania’s record straight! My forthcoming books will chronicle our progress around Poland in a pandemic and our Brexit-busting plan to convert a 24-tonne army truck and drive to Mongolia.

Jacqueline's book list on Romania and her people

Jacqueline Lambert Why did Jacqueline love this book?

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.

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…