My Greek Books
Greek books – books by Greek authors and other books set in Greece – my bookcases are loaded with them. I can’t get enough. I love discovering new authors, and it’s with equal joy that I read books of authors I’ve read before. For more than a decade, I’ve been reviewing books and interviewing authors. I often receive ARCs (Advanced Review Copy) before books are published. Sometimes I get to read manuscripts or parts of stories as they develop. For a writer and bookworm like me, it’s a dream. What’s not to love?
People ask me all the time, “What are you reading?” I always share. How awesome that I can introduce people to new authors and works!
Keep reading to find out what I’ve been reading this past month.
CIRCE by Madeline Miller
Little, Brown and Company, 2018
Fans of Greek mythology will appreciate this bold retelling of the story of Circe, a Titan of the House of Helios. She doesn’t have her mother’s good looks. She doesn’t have her father’s power. She’s the oddball of the family. When her father exiles her to a remote and deserted island, Circe must discover herself and her own powers to deal with the unexpected. People try to take advantage. They think she’s gullible. Little do they know the force that lies within. Circe can be her own worst enemy, drawing the wrath of the gods – and men.
Follow her adventures, as she meets Daedalus and helps to birth the Minotaur. Meeting Odysseus changes everything –forever. An outcast in both worlds, she has to make a choice. Which world will she choose?
I couldn’t put this down. This New York Times Bestseller is bringing people back to the classic myths and likewise introducing them to a new generation.
Buy it Amazon
I also loved The Song of Achilles (Ecco, 2012), another New York Times Bestseller. Check out her other book: Galatea (Ecco, 2013).
Blue Skies & Black Olives: A Survivor’s Tale of Housebuilding and Peacock Chasing in Greece by John Humphrys & Christopher Humphrys
Hodder & Stouton, 2009
This memoir follows veteran BBC News Reporter John Humphrys along with his son, Christopher, and their quest to renovate a villa in a tiny Greek village next to the sea. John fell in love with the stunning view. Christopher, a cellist, fell in love with Greece long ago, when he joined the Camerata Orchestra in Athens. Christopher also fell in love with a Greek woman, whom he married. She’s a lawyer and her father is an engineer. You’d think that would be enough to guarantee their success. But this is Greece.
With their quickly dwindling pocketbooks and mounting frustration, they wonder if the house will ever be finished. The trials and tribulations affect their relationships, test their endurance. You’ll feel the anger. You’ll laugh with them. You’ll shake your head. But you’ll enjoy the ride. Was it all worth it? You’ll have to read it to find out.
Buy in on Amazon
The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop
Harper Paperbacks, July 2014
Perhaps you’ve read one of Victoria Hislop’s books. One thing we know for sure – this Brit author loves Greece and is fascinated by her history. A few months back, I read The Island (William Morrow Paperbacks, 2007), which was another historical fiction set on Spinalonga, the former leper colony off the coast of Crete.
The Sunrise delves into another dark part of Greek history – the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
The island was a tourist paradise. Hoteliers Savvas and Aphroditi Papacosta ride the wave, building the most luxurious, most expensive hotel in Famagusta – The Sunrise. The hotel draws well-heeled visitors from all over the world, clamoring for the sea, lavish parties, and the decadence of the hotel’s exclusive nightclub. Ambitious charmer Markos Georgiou quickly rises from bartender, to club designer, to manager.
Tensions from different factions create tensions. Then the 1974 coup d’etat spurs unrest. Turkey invades and establishes the infamous Green Line, dividing the country.
Famagusta residents, including the Papacostas, flee for their safety. They leave Markos the keys to The Sunrise and further instructions. But two families remain: Markos’ Greek Cypriot family, and Huseyin’s (another hotel employee), who are Turkish Cypriot. They’re stuck in the city and must work together to stay alive. The mothers are friends, though the rest of the family struggles to overcome their prejudices.
They can’t stay in their homes. Terrified and trapped in the city without food and water, they take up residence at The Sunrise. The danger mounts. Will they be discovered? Will they survive?
The “Cyprus Problem” as it is known, has yet to be settled. Turkey continues to illegally occupy parts of the island and Famagusta remains a ghost town. Countless people were displaced. Many were killed. Thousands are still missing.
Victoria Hislop’s heartbreaking tale captures the spirit of the time – the fear, desperation, chaos, hunger, the atrocities committed. Read this story for a glimpse, then hit the history books. Everyone should know what happened – and is still going on – in Cyprus.
Buy it on Amazon
Read Victoria Hislop’s other novels: Those Who Are Loved (Headline Review, 2019); Cartes Postales (Review, 2016); The Thread (Harper Paperbacks, 2012); The Last Dance and Other Stories (Headline Review, 2012); and The Return (Harper Perennials, 2009).
Demons, Well-Seasoned by Patricia V. Davis
HD Media Press, 2019
Demons, Well-Seasoned is the third and final book in the Secret Spice Café Trilogy by Patricia V. Davis. Her main characters were inspired by women she befriended when she lived in Greece.
Reading the first two books in the series is helpful to know the backstories of these characters, but this book could easily stand alone. Do read them! All three books are set aboard the historic RMS Queen Mary.
A stranger arrives on Sarita’s doorstep. It’s the grandmother she’s never met, who happens to be a Vodou priestess. The woman reveals a chilling premonition — everyone is in danger. The four original owners of the ship’s popular restaurant, the Secret Spice –Angela, Cynthia (Sarita’s mother), Jane, and Rohini — must reunite to save all they hold dear — including the historic ship. But they can’t do it alone. As the situation becomes grave, can they trust this mysterious woman to save the day?
Demons, Well-Seasoned takes us on a voyage that thrills and chills. It’s a delicious tale of family, friendships, loyalty, and the power of love. Filled with suspense, you’ll devour this epic clash of good vs. evil.
Over the years, Patricia has become a friend, mentor, and cheerleader. Imagine how my heart swelled learning she named a character after me. See what character ‘Maria’ does. 😉
Buy it on Amazon
The Secret Spice Café Trilogy is an Official Pulpwood Queens Book Club Selection. Patricia’s other books include Harlot’s Sauce: A Memoir of Food, Family, Love, Loss, and Greece; and The Diva Doctrine.
Want more of My Greek Books?
Check back next month. I’ll share what I’m reading and provide more Greek book recommendations.
Check out some of my book reviews in the archives of WindyCity Greek magazine. Click here.
Author Spotlight: Victoria Hislop Loves Greece
Maria A. Karamitsos is an Amazon affiliate. By clicking through the links, when you make a purchase, she will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. It helps to support her writerly endeavors. Thank you!