Tuesday, May 25, 2010

In the Footsteps of Dracula

The first vampire in literature, Count Dracula, has fascinated millions of people around the world for well over a century. The subject of books, movies, animated films, festivals, and all things gothic – Dracula is omnipresent in the world of darkness. For all those who are curious to learn about the source of Bram Stoker’s timeless character, travel writer Steven P. Unger has recently published In the Footsteps of Dracula: A Personal Journey and Travel Guide (World Audience Publishers, 2010). The book includes Count Dracula’s history, a travel guide to the sites of his origin, and an abundance of photographs of remarkable scenes and places relating to Dracula, all based on the writer’s own travels to Romania and parts of Britain.

Historically, as Unger tells us, Count Dracula’s character is based on the Transylvanian Prince Vlad Tepes – or Vlad The Impaler – who is generally remembered for the torturous practice of impaling thousands of people to death during his rule over part of Transylvania (modern-day Romania) in the 15th Century. After reading this book, one comes to know the history of Vlad Dracula (as he was also called), particularly the difference between legends and facts, which have merged in the cult literature woven around Prince Dracula’s character over the past six centuries.

It is interesting to learn from Unger’s book that Bram Stoker himself never visited Transylvania. Instead, the gothic settings in Dracula (the novel) are modeled on British architecture of the time, blended, in his imagination, with descriptions of Transylvania as recorded by a British diplomat in 1820. Most of the novel was written in Whitby (England), and Unger shows the relevant sites in original pictures that impart the sensation of being present in the authentic world of horror history.

The latter part of the book is a concise travel guide to Romania and to a few places in Britain relating to Count Dracula, Prince Vlad the Impaler, and Bram Stoker. Steven P. Unger has taken care to include important guidelines for the independent traveler on topics including modes of transportation, money, health and security, lodging, restaurants, and more. In the Footsteps of Dracula is a portable guide to one of the darkest characters in the world of gothic literature and to his historical counterpart, Prince Vad Dracula the Impaler. Anyone thinking of traveling to Europe should not miss taking along this absorbing, helpful book.

ISBN: 9781935444534

Availability: http://www.amazon.com/Footsteps-Dracula-Personal-Journey-Travel/dp/1935444530

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Perfect Formula Diet

(Reviewed for TCM Reviews)

Unlike most other books on diet and health, Janice Stanger’s The Perfect Formula Diet can be called a complete health guide, showing the health threats of bad food choices as well as explaining, in an easy yet impressive manner, why we need to return to our natural diet – whole foods from plants sources.

What is particularly interesting and important about this book is that the author has thoroughly researched facts, drawing on over a thousand research studies. These include eye-opening findings about some very popular animal food hypes that are not usually heeded in most health/diet books. For example, the general belief that fish and dairy are health-friendly foods and should be regularly taken has been convincingly refuted by the author. Also, that plants do not provide enough calcium to strengthen bones has been shown as a myth rather than a fact. And many more concealed facts about diet and health have been brought to attention in Janice Stanger’s book.

Showing how animal foods and other unhealthy choices mar our natural, perfect physical and mental health, The Perfect Formula Diet tells about the six types of perfect foods that are not only the ultimate solution to our health problems, but also to most of our environmental problems and certainly to the sufferings inflicted on animals. The Perfect Foods recommended in this book are also a natural recipe for the perfect weight we can attain without much aimless, self-defeating effort that so many of us indulge in with heavy costs. And yet, the author shows, we blindly follow foods that never were meant for us.

I was also very impressed by the author’s environment-friendly spirit as she tells in her book about not including the one thousand references in the book, so as to save paper, instead posting them online. With a valuable list of resources for getting started with the perfect formula diet, this book is recommended as a must-read for everyone.

Book Website: http://perfectformuladiet.com/