International cats

Today (8th August) is apparently International Day of the Cat. So here are mine for you to enjoy. I get a buzz out of watching them play, and just having them around. Hobbs and her three kits Mouse, Buster and George are now middle-aged (7 and 6) but they are the happiest cats in Romania, and sweet-natured with it.

Do you have cats? Tell me about them!

Transylvania ultra-marathon runners pass my door

This year’s Transylvania ultramarathon runs on 20 May, starting and finishing at Bran Castle, just down the road, and winding around the Bucegi and Piatra Craiului mountain ridges (both over 2,000 metres).

The masochistic runners will almost be passing my door, so if the occasional runner gets lost and ends up on my doorstep, painting and faint, I won’t be surprised.

Too late to register for this year’s race, of course, but put the date in your diary for 2018!

See you in Iasi…

Exciting… I’m finally getting up to Iasi …

Iasi launch

 

With Editura All, I’m launching the book at 11.00 hrs on Saturday morning, 13th May at the book fair, so I hope I’ll see you there.

I’ll be in the city from Friday evening till Sunday morning and look forward to exploring a little. Pe curând!

Snowmelt produces stunning patterns

The snow’s melting fast – but boy-oh-boy, is there a lot to melt!

I noticed amazing patterns on the foothill slopes as the thaw progresses – like some fabulous markings of a giant green creature.

IMG_6475

Reflections of a leopard shark?

Animal skin patterns on slopes of mountain

Stunning patterns like shark skin appear in the thaw

Monochrome is SO last season

This morning. Thursday 20th April (my birthday, as it happens). Several trees weighed down by blossom, the daffodils, tulips, wild violets all blooming with life and colour. Now? We’ll see what survives this wintery onslaught. Oh Spring, where art thou?

Nice surprise this morning

Blue Air spread

Thanks to Dean Edgar, flying on Blue Air this morning. The in-flight magazine has this spread – Dean snapped it and sent it to me. The joys of smartphones…!

Do you judge a book by its cover?

book cover selection

Most of us do, for sure. The art and science of cover design is getting ever more sophisticated and there are some brilliant designers and illustrators working in the market. Each genre is building its own visual vocabulary, so that someone looking for a fantasy novel would never pick up a crime novel or a romance by mistake. Book buyers unconsciously learn the visual shorthand and all the clues which point to the kind of book they enjoy. At least in the UK – if you live elsewhere, is this true for your local publishing world ?

I’d love to know what you think of these covers on my Pinterest board (click for more covers at larger size). They are all covers I like, sometimes adore.

• Which are your favourites – and can you say why?

• Do you like the modern ones, or prefer the earlier design periods – 1960s, 1950s?

• Do the styles of particular geographic regions appeal, eg East European or Scandinavian?

• Are there covers here that put you off?

•Which do you dislike, and are there any you hate?

• Which covers make you want to go to a bookstore and buy the book?

Look forward to your thoughts.

 

The last straw

16387958_1221176964602984_4997131151376956040_nRomania is on the streets protesting at their new Government of Thieves. It’s the biggest outcry from the people since 1989 and puts the country at a crisis point. Will the corrupt politicians win and drag Romania back into darkness, or will the people prevail and pull the country forward to a new, cleaner, straighter path?

You can read the background here to understand what’s happening this week, and here is an excellent blogpost with a very apt allegory.

Simplă, tristă și veselă

A thorough and very favourable review has been published on the blog cyberculture.ro by George Hari Popescu.

straine-pe-net

“Cartea pare o colecție de schițe, dar întîmplările se adună frumos, pentru a crea tabloul general al despărțirii autoarei de țara natală și integrării ei în satul românesc. Arabella McIntyre Brown îmbină evocarea cu observația și liricul. După ce explică de ce a decis să emigreze, povestește greutățile prin care a trecut ca să vîndă totul acolo și să o ia de la capăt aici. Ne descrie în detaliu modul în care a renovat micuța casă din Măgura. Ne face părtași la primele ei constatări despre așezare, oameni, satul și statul român. Unele capitole sunt mici lecții de botanică și zoologie, altele sunt scurte lucrări de etnografie și folclor. Aproape fiecare “schiță” se încheie cu bucuria ei de a fi acolo și din volum transpare o oarecare stimă de sină determinată de faptul că a avut curajul de a se muta.

“Cred că veți fi surprinși de faptul că această englezoaică face o radiografie foarte exactă a României și a satului românesc, după cîțiva ani de ședere la Măgura. Mai mult decît atît, veți constata că Arabella McIntyre Brown pur și simplu iubește aceste locuri și se simte integrată aproape perfect. Pe un ton amabil și cald, ea ne îndeamnă în mod subtil să apreciem ce avem lîngă noi și să ne simțim privilegiați că încă avem valori care au pierit de mult din alte părți ale Europei.

“Recomand cartea pentru că…..

Read the whole review here.