Book-arest: The MOST beautiful book store in the world!

I had heard about this place, Carturesti, in the heart of Bucharest’s ‘Old City’, but thought I had seen it all.


In my town, Maastricht, there is a cathedral that has been transformed into a bookstore. There are very few more glorious venues to browse books than in this very old Dominican cathedral, surrounded by vaulted ceilings, Gothic windows and faded frescoes on the ceilings. (Sometimes I wonder how much reading actually gets done in there!) See for yourself !  Click here:

But that is old…and this is new…. I leave it to you, the reader, to decide if this is not the world’s most beautiful bookstore!


For those who have the perception that Bucharest is a culture-deprived-concrete jungle, I am here to tell you that you need to dust off your old ideas because…Bucharest is back!




Romania has a rich literary history. The people are highly literate and take great pride in their cultural history. Books are literally on sale, everywhere, and available 24/7 for those who need a book right now!

A book vending machine in Iasi, Romania

Those first authors, poets and playwrights who first stuck their necks out to defy the emperors and sultans, who controlled their homeland and suppressed their language, are remembered and honored still.

The poet’s favorite place to find his inspiration in Copou Park, Iasi, Romania

As an American undergraduate student I chose an unusual topic of study for my honors thesis; Comparative Romanian Literature. Deeply moved by the writings of Liviu Rebreanu and his solidarity with the Romanian national struggle, I spent two years reading his main works in Romanian, and delving into the folk literature that inspired Mihai Eminescu’s love of Romania’s natural beauty. His poems still move me to tears.

Eminescu’s poety printed on a banner in the park for all to read!

What better place, than in this breathtaking temple of books called ‘Carturesti’, in the heart of the capital of a unified and independent Romania, to house the works of these great Romanian writers.



The great Romanian storytellers; Rebreanu, Creanga and Caragiali, have been such an inspiration to me that I chose to base my next novel, From the Rooftops in Romania and carry on their literary tradition in my own, modern way.


The two author’s together at last!


VM Karren is the author of The Deceit of Riches (2017) and the newly released sequel, From the Rooftops (2019) set in Romania. Click here to order the books. You can learn more about the author and these novels at

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