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My Greek Books—April 2024 Reads

by Maria A. Karamitsos   ·  1 month ago   ·  
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My Greek Books is back! This month, let’s talk memoirs. Click through to find out what I’ve been reading.

My Greek Books

It’s My Greek Books time! This month I’ve read some awesome books yet to be released—so I can’t tell you about them yet. Stay tuned! But this month, I will tell you about three memoirs. In case you’re wondering, I don’t always go into a month planning to read the same genre. This time, it just happened that way! Keep reading to learn more.

Sex with a Brain Injury: On Concussion and Recovery by Annie Liontas

Scribner (January 16, 2024)

About the author

Greek-American Author Annie Liontas is the author of a novel called Let Me Explain You (Scribner, 2016) and the co-editor of The Anthology A Manner of Being: Writers on Their Mentors (University of Massachusetts Press, 2015). Their work has been featured as “Editor’s Choice” in The New York Times Books Review and selected by American Booksellers Association as an Indies Introduce Debut and Indies Next Title. Annie is a co-host of the podcast ‘Litfriends’, and their writing has appeared in many publications, including Bomb, NPR, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Guernica, Gay Magazine, and McSweeney’s. The author is based in Philadelphia.

About the book

Sex with a Brain Injury is based on Annie’s experience, as someone who has suffered multiple concussions. In this deeply personal memoir, the author describes in detail what it’s like to live with the after effects of these injuries and how it’s changed their life, marriage, and relationships forever. The author shares research on the startling legacy of brain injury and its role in our criminal justice system, our culture, and even highlights historical figures who’ve lived through this trauma.

My Greek Books review

In Sex with a Brain Injury, Annie Liontas gives us an inside look at what it’s like to live with traumatic brain injury. (TBI). Annie bares their thoughts and fears, their darkest moments, to reveal the impact of these injuries on their life, work, and relationships. While those with TBI may look fine, their brains often work against them, and they can’t do things we take for granted. It’s not always “just a bump on the head”. They’re changed forever. This powerful story will make you rethink what you know about concussions, recovery, and the long-term effects. It will validate the experiences of those who live with TBI, as well as those closest to them. Ultimately, it’s a guide for all of us.

Website

A Rope of Vines: A Journal from a Greek Island by Brenda Chamberlain; Foreword by Shani Rhys James

(Parthian Books, 2009 – Originally published in 1965)

About the author

Born in Bangor in 1912, Brenda Chamberlain trained as a painter at the Royal Academy Schools in London. During WWII, while working as a guide searching Snowdonia, she gave up painting temporarily in favor of poetry. She worked with her husband, the artist-craftsman John Petts, on the production of the Caseg Broadsheets, a series of six which included poems by Dylan Thomas, Alun Lewis, and Lynette Roberts. Following her divorce, she lived on a tiny island called Bardsey (Ynys Enlli), then moved to Hydra for six years. She returned to Bangor near the end of her life. The author, poet, and artist died in North Wales in 1971.

About the book

When Artist, Poet, and Author Brenda Chamberlain moved to the island of Hydra in the 1960s, she captured her experiences, including the sights, sounds, and landscape of the island, plus her new friends and neighbors. Her sketches from her time there are included throughout the book. She takes us along to monasteries and other treks, and reveals the changes the island inspires in her.

My Greek Books review

A Rope of Vines does not read like a typical journal. Brenda Chamberlain’s eloquent prose, her honesty, and personal reflection are revealed on these pages. I haven’t been to Hydra (it’s on my list!) but I think of all the artists who walked its paths—I am sure there is something very special there. This is a gorgeous story of a personal journey and another testament to the transformative powers of Greek light, sea, and air. Pick up a copy.

Repacking for Greece: A Mediterranean Odyssey by Sally Jane Smith

Journeys in Pages (April 20, 2024)

About the author

Australia-based Author Sally Jane Smith has lived on 5 continents. An intrepid traveler, to date she’s visited 33 countries. She credits Greece with turning her into a writer. Sally co-hosts 2 book clubs and participates in organizing a biennial book-themed competition. In 2018, she completed a residency at Varuna, the renowned Writers’ House in Australia’s Blue Mountains. Her story of her great-great-grandmother’s extraordinary life appears in the anthology Itchy Feet: Tales of Travel and Adventure. Sally’s exploration of travel and grief is included in the Newcastle Short Story Award Anthology 2022.  Sally’s work has also been published in Gulf News, TripFiction, Women’s Ink!, and Brevity Blog. Learn about her first book, Unpacking for Greece, here.

About the book

Repacking for Greece follows Sally back to Greece. It opens with the story of how she ended up going to Greece in the first place—a rejected visa application by Canada due to a long-forgotten, Apartheid-era arrest in her native South Africa. Armed with her mom’s old travel diary, she explores places her mother visited, but she also discovers many more. While her first book was about healing and letting go of regrets, the author says this book is about “abandoning anxiety and finding joy”. In this volume, Sally connects the dots between history and legend, but also ties in contemporary literature.

My Greek Books review*

*NOTE: I had the privilege to get a sneak peek at this book in late 2023. Full disclosure: I enjoyed her first book so much that following my review and getting to know Sally a bit, I worked with her to promote it. When I read an early version of this new book, I was not working with Sally in a professional capacity. We have teamed up again this spring to promote this new release. What you see as my review here is basically what I shared with Sally after that beta read.*

Sally Jane Smith takes us along on her return to Greece. Her descriptions are so vivid, I traveled right along side her. During her travels, she experienced so many incidences of serendipity, and the synchronicities she encountered are nothing short of amazing. I love how she ties in contemporary literature, connecting the stories to their settings and the rich history of the area. While her first book was about finding herself, in Repacking for Greece, she truly blossoms.

My Greek Books—April 2024 Edition

Well, that’s it for this month. Add these memoirs to your list. ‘Til next time, read more books!


Read more:

REVIEW: Greek-American Author Amalia Gouvitsas Balch’s ‘Lost Child of Greece’

REVIEW: Greek-American Author Sophia Kouidou-Giles’ New Memoir, ‘Sophia’s Return’


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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