My Greek Books
Welcome back to My Greek Books! Hope you’re New Year is off to a happy & healthy start. Did you read over the holiday break? I filled my days with lots of family time. We celebrated traditions, baked lots of goodies, played games, and enjoyed our time together. Our holidays looked different this season, but we tried to make the most of them. Hope you’ve had some much-needed down time with a good book, a warm drink, and a cozy blanket.
Santa knows me well and gifted me several books. A handful to help me continue honing my writing craft, and others just for fun. 😉
It’s a new year. There are many books to read, many adventures to be had. Let’s get to it!
Keep scrolling to find out what I’ve been reading.
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In the Land of Morning by Harry Mark Petrakis
An Authors Guild BackinPrint.com Edition (1973, 2007)
If you follow me and My Greek Books, you know this Greek-American author is among my all-time favorites. I’ve read much of his work and have reveled in listening to him read his stories aloud at various events. I’m privileged to communicate with him occasionally. He always encourages and uplifts. It’s a joy to know him, to experience his work. The author, whose Greek roots trace back to the island of Crete, is now 97 years old. He still writes essays that are published in various newspapers. I believe he has many stories yet to tell.
This book has been in my to-read stack for a while. As I work to refine my own manuscript, one day, after some struggle, I decided to reach for one of the masters.
About In the Land of Morning
Alex Rifakis returns to Chicago after two years in Vietnam, the experience forever altering him, down to his soul. Haunted by the war, he hoped to find solace, but soon realizes that home is not home. His sister has grown bitter, further estranged from their mother. Their widowed, impoverished mother, still young at 50, is embroiled in a not-so-secret relationship with Gallos. Literally sleeping with the enemy, as the powerful and shady businessman is responsible for the demise of Alex’s father.
A reluctant Alex agrees to attend a church event. He’s seated with Father Naoum and his family. Ellie, the priest’s daughter, has returned to Chicago with her infant son, following her husband’s death in Vietnam. Alex is a wounded soul, and his dark nature troubles Father Naoum, especially when he discovers that Alex and Ellie have embarked on an affair. The priest had wrapped his daughter and grandson in a cocoon of sorts, attempting to protect them, shield them from the world. The affair unsettles him, as he feels his importance waning. Alex and Ellie help each other, filling needs they cannot express, that no one else can understand or accommodate.
Things turn upside down when Alex’s mother becomes engaged to Gallos. Will the past continue to loom over the future? Will anyone find their happily-ever-after? You’ll have to read it to find out.
A master storyteller, Petrakis weaves a tale that pulls you in, even makes you question who to cheer for. He draws three-dimensional characters, in alternating shades of light and dark. Mirroring the complex nature of our real-life hearts, minds, and motivations. Our human condition.
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Becoming Bulletproof: Protect Yourself, Read People, Influence Situations, and Live Fearlessly by Evy Poumpouras
Atria Books (April 21, 2020)
Most times, ‘My Greek Books’ features fictional stories, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this book. Santa gifted it to me, written by Former Secret Service Agent and Star of Bravo’s ‘Spy Games’, Evy Poumpouras. The Greek-American from New York who traces her Greek roots to Macedonia, shares lessons learned as she embarked on a career in law enforcement, and ultimately joining the elite Secret Service. She’s protected presidents and other VIPs and offers insights to help us live fearlessly, trust our instincts, and protect ourselves.
Through real-life stories, Evy Poumpouras gives us tips for living and thriving, especially helpful in these challenging times. This is a book I’ll refer to again and again. Check it out!
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Report to Greco by Nikos Kazantzakis
Simon and Schuster, Inc. (June 6, 1965)
Recently, we viewed the film, ‘Kazantzakis’, by Iannis Smaragdis. It’s a portrait of the man, called Greece’ most widely read author, after Homer. In this film largely based on Report to Greco, we learn about his life, his influences, his quest for meaning. His works have delighted readers for generations.
Nominated NINE times for a Nobel Peace Prize in Literature, he never won. I read that in 1957 he lost to Albert Camus by one vote, and Camus said that Kazantzakis deserved the honor “a hundred times more” than himself. As the movie ended, I felt this magnetic pull to our home library, to retrieve an old copy of the book. One that sat quietly on the shelf for years. Patiently waiting to be discovered. When the planets aligned; when God opened the path to it.
About Report to Greco
Report to Greco is as close as we get to an autobiography of the storied writer. Philosopher, historian, and teacher, Kazantzakis takes us to the tumultuous times of his youth, as Crete battled for independence from the Ottoman Turks. Of his troubled childhood, his complicated family relationships. To his quest to discover the meaning of his life, of the world.
This is a long book, one that must be absorbed slowly, carefully, to allow ample time to absorb and reflect. Kazantzakis has much to share, to teach us. I haven’t finished it, because this one is to be savored. Each chapter to unfold for us when the time is right. A must read, and one that belongs in every home library.
My Greek Books—January 2021 Edition
Well, that’s it for this month’s ‘My Greek Books’. Much more than a collection of words, books transport us from the everyday–to new worlds, new thoughts, new adventures. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my Greek books are calling. 😉
Till next time – keep reading!
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