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My Greek Books—February 2024 Reads

by Maria A. Karamitsos   ·  4 months ago   ·  
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My Greek Books is back! This month, I’ve been reading some nonfiction. Keep reading to learn about these books written by Diaspora Greeks.

My Greek Books

Welcome to the first My Greek Books of 2024! Hope you’ve been enjoying lots of reading time. This month I read two memoirs and a collection of articles from a syndicated columnist. Keep going to learn about these books by Diaspora Greek authors.

My Big Fat Greek Taverna by Costa Ayiotis

Melinda Ferguson Books (September 2023)

About the author

Costa Ayiotis is an Egyptian-born South African Greek. He earned a law degree and then represented South Africa during the Gulf War as a diplomat at the United Nations in New York. He reported in the Security Council and Nuclear Disarmament Committee on the Iraq War. Later, he gave it all up and returned home to run a Greek taverna in Cape Town. These days, he’s a self-described happy “pavement philosopher, boulevardier, ethics advisor, and writer.” This is his first book.

Book cover for My Big Fat Greek Taverna by Costa Ayiotis. Image of a Man bearded wearing a hat, sunglasses, and a white shirt sitting with a dog at a bistro table and chairs outside a Greek taverna. My Greek Books February 2024.

About the book

My Big Fat Greek Taverna opens while Costa is serving as a diplomat at the UN in New York. From boring events to lavish parties, he holds court, but later tires of the work, and decides, “in a moment of madness”, to return home to Hout Bay, Cape Town and open a Greek taverna. Costa hadn’t worked in a restaurant before, but his experience as diplomat proved solid training for a budding restaurateur.

The story follows his adventures as he secures a location, then prepares for opening. Along with his business partner and both of their wives—the wives ran the kitchen—they cooked and served authentic Greek food. We see the trials and tribulations of restaurant life as they grow in their roles and educate the masses about Greek food. Until it was time for their next chapter.

My Greek Books review

In My Big Fat Greek Taverna, Costa Ayiotis takes us on a fun-filled ride as he reinvents himself from a UN diplomat to a defacto ambassador of Greece—and Greek cuisine—with a heaping helping of humor. Add it to your list.

Buy it on Amazon

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Τα Μάτια της Μάνας Μου (My Mother’s Eyes) by Amalia Gouvitsas Balch

(Weaving Waves Publications, November 2023)

About the author

Amalia Gouvitsas Balch was born in Greece in the 1950s, but she ended up in an orphanage She spent the first five years of her life with a foster family, until she was adopted by an American family. Then she boarded a plane alone for the long flight to her new home.

She grew up in a loving family, but something was always missing—she longed to know where she came from. As this desire grew, she connected with SEASYP (Association of the Investigation and the Search of Children Adopted Without Consent of their Natural Parents). The group, originally founded in Thessaloniki, later formed a Patras branch. With the help of this group, she learned she was one of thousands of Greek children placed for adoption without their parents’ knowledge. She persevered in order to find the truth about her roots and reconnect with the place of her birth.

Lost Child of Greece: An Orphan’s Incredible Journey Home, published in 2021 in English, tells her story. Read an interview with her here.

Book cover for Ta Matia tis Manas Mou by Amalia Gouvitsas Balch. Image of a young girl with short hair, looking serious or scared. My Greek Books February 2024

About the book

In this new expanded version of “Lost Child” translated into Greek, Amalia explores her history, from her days in the orphanage, to her baptism, life with a foster family, then her adopted family. With her enduring faith as her guide, we follow her quest to learn the truth and things she discovered a long the way.

My Greek Books review

This is a fascinating and heartbreaking story about a dark era in Greece and a woman’s quest to learn her truth. It’s about one woman’s extraordinary journey to uncover her past. Through Amalia’s unwavering faith, her love of family, and thirst for home guides her through uncharted waters. They say, ‘how can you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve come from’, and we all deserve to know our story. It is hard for people to reveal long-buried secrets, but keeping them often does more harm than good. You won’t be able to put this book down.

Buy it at Weaving Waves Publications

Everything is Going to Be OK, Until It’s Not by Georgia Garvey

(Creators Publishing, 2024)

About the author

Georgia Garvey is an award-winning syndicated columnist. She writes about family, aging, her Greek roots, and more. Her columns have run in Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and LA Times. This first-generation Greek immigrant lives in the Chicagoland area.

Cover image of Everything is Going to Be OK Until It's Not by Georgia Garvey. Image of golden sunlight above a tidal wave. My Greek Books February 2024

About the book

“Everything’s Going to Be OK” is a collection of some of Georgia’s favorite and most popular columns, published over the period from 2017-2023.

She takes on various topics from fertility issues and parenting, heritage and culture, to everyday life. She says she’s, “just trying to make sense of it all”.  Some of her columns discuss pandemic issues and touch on our broken political discourse.

My Greek Books review

In Everything’s Going to Be OK Until It’s Not, Georgia Garvey examines the everyday as well as the challenges, with a healthy dose of humor. Some stories will make you laugh, while others will tug at your heartstrings. Because just like her, we’re all just trying to make sense of it all.

Buy it on Amazon

Image of a red heart and sparkles of light floating from an open book. Image by geralt from Pixabay for My Greek Books February 2024

My Greek Books—February 2024 Edition

Well, that’s it for this month. Now you’ve got some great new books to add to your list. See you next month for more My Greek Books. Happy reading!


Read more:

My Greek Books October 2023 Reads

My Greek Books July 2023 Reads


Maria A. Karamitsos

Maria A. Karamitsos is a journalist, author, and poet. She's the founder & former publisher/editor of WindyCity Greek magazine and former associate editor & senior writer for The Greek Star newspaper. Maria currently pens a literary column for NEO magazine and also contributes to Greek City Times and TripFiction. Her work has been published in The Magic of Us-A Moms Who Write Poetry Anthology, The Pen Poetry Magazine, Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal, Highland Park Poetry, GreekCircle magazine, The National Herald, GreekReporter, Harlots Sauce Radio, Women.Who.Write, KPHTH magazine, XPAT Athens, and more. Maria has contributed to two books: Greektown Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes and The Chicago Area Ethnic Handbook. She's currently working on her 1st novel.

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