In the previous instalment, I covered Telegraph for Garlic, a Dracula anthology edited by Samia Ounoughi.
For those unfamiliar with this segment, I discuss books which appeared in the gaps between my Amazon searches for yet-to-be-released vampire non-fiction.
July 2013 (?)
Searching for Dracula in Romania / Catalin Gruia
Firstly the link goes straight to the book’s Kindle entry, which gives November 18, 2013 as the book’s publication date. It even states that it is, “37-Minutes Publishing House; 1 edition”.
But if you click on the “Look inside” feature, you’ll find a 2014 copyright date and a mention that the first edition was published in “July 2013.” So the Amazon listing’s preview function must be for the book’s reprint.
Anyway, in addition to that stuff, you’ll see the book’s longer title, Searching for Dracula in Romania, or, What about Dracula? Romania’s Schizophrenic Dilemma. The book’s longer title wends one down another path of bibliographic madness, because the subtitle, What about Dracula? Romania’s Schizophrenic Dilemma, is the name of another book on Amazon I’ve been long-familiar with.
As soon as I saw that, I thought “It’s got to be the same book, retitled.” I clicked on Gruia’s name in the Searching for Dracula in Romania listing, but couldn’t find What about Dracula? Instead, I had to google it and—it came up with the bloody Amazon listing I was trying to find through Gruia’s name. Stupid thing.
That listing gives the following bibiliographic information: “CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (October 10, 2013)”—yet guess what happens when you click on the “Look inside” feature? You get a 2014 copyright notice and that version’s longer title: What about Dracula? Romania’s Schizophrenic Dilemma, or, Searching for Dracula in Romania. Fuckin’ crazy. Is a little consistency too much to ask for?
As if it wasn’t complex enough, Searching for Dracula in Romania‘s paperback listing reveals the book has a second edition: “CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 2 edition (February 7, 2014)”—however, considering the page count is nearly identical, I suspect “2 edition” is being used very loosely here.
Fortunately, the What about Dracula? Romania’s Schizophrenic Dilemma listing’s preview features the author’s website and clicking on “My Books” takes us to the book’s listing—which is called “Searching for Dracula in Romania” (Gruia 2013).
Yet which version of the book’s cover is posted on there? The (far superior) What about Dracula? Romania’s Schizophrenic Dilemma version. Click on the “buy from amazon.com” link and you’re taken to…the bloody Searching for Dracula in Romania “37-Minutes Publishing House; 1 edition” Kindle version.
I think I need an asprin.
On a lighter note, this book’s in the upper echelon of my Amazon Wishlist as books that give a journalistic take on the genre intrigue me; indeed, Gruia is a journalist who’s written for National Geographic‘s Romanian edition.
For other journalistic books in this vein, Rosemary Ellen Guiley’s Vampires among Us (1991), Paul Bibeau’s Sundays with Vlad: From Pennsylvania to Transylvania, One Man’s Quest to Live in the World of the Undead (2007) and Eric Nuzum’s The Dead Travel Fast: Stalking Vampires from Nosferatu to Count Chocula (2008) are just a few notable examples.
That said, I also like the journalistic approach to “strange” fields in general: I love Louis Theroux’s TV documentaries and I’ve been reading Will Storr’s fascinating The Heretics: Adventures with the Enemies of Science (2013). His 2006 book, Will Storr vs. the Supernatural, was pretty damn good, too.
Anyway, I’m now feeling a little conflicted about Searching for Dracula in Romania / What about Dracula?—and not just because of its Jeykll and Hyde title.
As of this writing, the book has nine Amazon reviews: eight love it, yet one reviewer swings a different way: “What a goofy little book. This “author” just put together some things he could read in the Encyclopedia Brittanica with reminiscences about some tourists he met and call it a book.” (Meg 2014).
I’ll probably end up getting it anyway.
February 17, 2014
A browse through its table of contents reveals only a few sections that explicitly deal with vampiric subjects, namely, “Murderous, Blood Thirsty, and Vampiric,” “The Vampires and the Fairies” and “Undead Nature Spirits.”
Nonetheless, if you’re into approaching the vampire from an archetypal perspective, this book may have merit—and it gets bonus points for using author-date citations through the text. In that respect, I expect it’ll be a much more cerebral (though probably less practical) stroll through the subject than something like Araminta Star Matthews, Rachel Lee and Stan Swanson’s Write of the Living Dead: A Writing Guide for Your Dark Side (2012).
Hulse has a thing for fairies (and ghosts). His other works include The World of Fairy: A Sketch Book and Artist’s Guide to Fairies (2012), Tales of Fairy (2012), Almost Forgotten Dreams: A Sketchbook of the Spirit World (2014), Spirit Worlds and Journeys: A Workbook for Writers (2014) and Writer’s Workbook of Horror from Fairy Tales (2014).
Sounds like a bloke with his head in the clouds, but I can’t help getting a feeling of innocence and whimsy from the whole thing. Oh, and according to his bio on a fairy art website, he is
a folklorist who is currently translating a number of fairy tales into English for the first time as I’m doing research to better define the fairies in fairy tales. My art is based on stories I write using the understanding of the older European Fairy Faiths of what fairies and their motivations are. (Hulse 2010).
That last bit reminds me of Nigel Jackson’s neo-pagan take on the subject in his 1995 book, Compleat Vampyre: The Vampyre Shaman, Werewolves, Witchery, & the Dark Mythology of the Undead. and Theresa Moorey’s Vampires: A Beginner’s Guide (2000). Of the two “Overlooked Books” covered here, this one intrigues me the most, intellectually. Could be interesting.
Gruia, Catalin. 2013. “Searching for Dracula in Romania.” Cătălin Gruia, September 2. Accessed May 30, 2014. http://www.catalingruia.com/vlad-vampire-eternal-double-life-dracula/.
Hulse, Ty. 2010. “Ty Hulse Biography.” The Fairy Gathering. Accessed May 31, 2014. http://thefairygathering.com/ty-hulse-bio.shtml.
Meg. 2014. “A Book Without Merit.” Review of Searching for Dracula in Romania, or, What about Dracula? Romania’s Schizophrenic Dilemma, by Catalin Gruia. Amazon, May 11. Accessed May 30, 2014. http://www.amazon.com/review/R1HVJICE9HVTAG/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00ECCQDJY.
Have you written or published a non-fiction vampire book I may not be aware of? Feel free to contact me and I might cover it on this blog.