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Enhance Your Greek Adventure: Essential Reads before you travel to Greece

Read a book about Greece (Small)
  1. Prepare for your trip to Greece by immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of Greek culture, history, and literature through the power of books. Before embarking on your journey to Greece, take the time to delve into captivating narratives that will enhance your understanding and appreciation of this multifaceted country. From exploring the myths of gods and heroes to uncovering the depths of Greek philosophy and literature, reading before your trip will enrich your adventure, offering insights that go beyond mere sightseeing. Dive into the pages of these books and let your imagination roam free, igniting your anticipation and excitement for the wonders that await in the cradle of Western civilization.

    We’ve compiled a list of our favorites – whether you’re looking to enhance & refresh your memory from your days in school studying Ancient Greece (however long ago that was!!). Perhaps you’re just looking to get carried away to a charming Greek island and can’t wait for your outbound departure date to arrive and want to jump start your holiday. We’ve curated list of books that will serve as your literary guide, offering a diverse selection that captures the essence of Greece. From historical epics and philosophical treatises to contemporary travelogues and memoirs, these books will inspire and inform, guiding you on a journey of discovery that parallels your physical travels. So, grab a book, embark on a literary voyage, and prepare to embark on an unforgettable adventure in the land of gods, myths, and legends.

Travel Writing

Dinner with Persephone 

by Patricia Storace

An award-winning American writer spends a year in Greece and offers up a fascinating insider’s look at the psychology of a country which exists uneasily between the West and the East. Her insights are splendidly entertaining and not found elsewhere in English language travel writing about Greece.

It’s All Greek to Me!: A Tale of a Mad Dog and an Englishman, Ruins, Retsina–and Real Greeks

by John Mole

After falling in love with an incredible view John Mole found himself owning a pile of stones and 20 years of goat dung. With no water, electricity or even a road his family were unamused. This is the warm and funny story of the Mole family’s dream of making a home in a whitewashed island house with a blue door near a beach and a taverna, and ending up in a tumbledown ruin in a near deserted village. A vision of the simple life in a timeless, idyllic Greece flounders on the blank incomprehension of the Greek villagers. His infatuation with the idea of Greece comes up against the harsh reality of making a home. Want to put up a traditional ceiling? First cut your reeds in a snake-ridden marsh. Invite the neighbours round for a barbecue? cultural and linguistic confusions there is charm and humour on each page. There is plenty of Greek sun and sunstroke, sea and sickness, golden sand – and gravelly cement. Anyone who has been to Greece, if only on a package holiday, will have met in one guise or another the warm, generous and garrulous characters that cram the pages. This charming comedy has something to say about people learning to live, laugh and drink Ouzo (and decent whisky) together.

The Island

by Victoria Hislop

The Petrakis family lives in the small Greek seaside village of Plaka. Just off the coast is the tiny island of Spinalonga, where the nation’s leper colony once was located—a place that has haunted four generations of Petrakis women. There’s Eleni, ripped from her husband and two young daughters and sent to Spinalonga in 1939, and her daughters Maria, finding joy in the everyday as she dutifully cares for her father, and Anna, a wild child hungry for passion and a life anywhere but Plaka. And finally there’s Alexis, Eleni’s great-granddaughter, visiting modern-day Greece to unlock her family’s past.

A richly enchanting novel of lives and loves unfolding against the backdrop of the Mediterranean during World War II, The Island is an enthralling story of dreams and desires, of secrets desperately hidden, and of leprosy’s touch on an unforgettable family.

 

Eurydice Street: A Place in Athens

by Sofka Zinovieff

Sofka Zinovieff had fallen in love with Greece as a student, but little suspected that years later she would return for good with an expatriate Greek husband and two young daughters. This book is a wonderfully fresh, funny, and inquiring account of her first year as an Athenian. The whole family has to come to grips with their new life and identities—the children start school and tackle a new language, and Sofka’s husband, Vassilis, comes home after half a lifetime away. Meanwhile, Sofka resolves to get to know her new city and become a Greek citizen, which turns out to be a process of Byzantine complexity. As the months go by, Sofka discovers how memories of Athens’ past haunt its present in its music, poetry, and history. She also learns about the difficult art of catching a taxi, the importance of smoking, the unimportance of time-keeping, and how to get your Christmas piglet cooked at the baker’s.

Reflections on a Marine Venus: A Companion to the Landscape of Rhodes 

by Lawrence Durrell

Lawrence Durrell introduces us to the Dodecanese island of Rhodes, circa 1945. The title refers to a statue found in the harbor. In a Lindos devoid of hotels (imagine!) the mayor takes the traveling Durrell into his home for the night.

North of Ithaka: A Granddaughter Returns to Greece and Discovers Her Roots 

by Eleni N. Gage

In North of Ithaka, Eleni Gage returns to the remote Greek village of Lia, where her father was born and her grandmother murdered, to rebuild the ruins of her namesake’s home and come to terms with her family’s tragic history. In doing so, she leaves behind a sparkling social life and successful career to continue the tale of a family and a place which her father, Nicholas Gage, made famous over twenty years ago with his international bestseller, Eleni. Along the way she survives humorous misadventures, absorbs fascinating folklore, and comes to understand that memories of the dead can bring new life to the present. Part travel memoir and part family saga, North of Ithaka is, above all, a journey home.

Not Even My Name: A True Story

by Thea Halo

Not Even My Name is a rare eyewitness account of the horrors of a little-known, often denied genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of Armenian and Pontic Greek minorities in Turkey were killed during and after World War I. As told by Sano Halo to her daughter, Thea, this is the story of her survival of the death march at age ten that annihilated her family, and the mother-daughter pilgrimage to Turkey in search of Sano’s home seventy years after her exile. Sano, a Pontic Greek from a small village near the Black Sea, also recounts the end of her ancient, pastoral way of life in the Pontic Mountains.

Prospero’s Cell: A Guide to the Landscape and Manners of the Island of Corfu

by Lawrence Durrell

Durrell convinced his mother, siblings and wife to move from England to Corfu (Kerkyra in Greek) in the 1930s where he remained until the war forced him to evacuate. His deep thoughts and reflections memorialize this romantic Ionian island.

Hellas

by Nicholas Gage

Gage captures a feeling – the special intensity of this land, the magical presence of the Parthenon, the sense of something that is lovely, perverse, crazy, delightful and beautiful. Readers who have never been to Greece will want to go and those who have will want to return.

A Traveller’s History of Greece

by T. Boatswain

In A Traveller’s History of Greece, the reader is provided with an authoritative general history of Greece from its earliest beginnings down to the present day. It covers in a clear and comprehensive manner the classical past, the conflict with Persia, the conquest by the Romans, the Byzantine era and the occupation by the Turks; the struggle for independence and the turbulence of recent years, right up to current events.

This history will help the visitor make sense of modern Greece against the background of its diverse heritage. Illustrated with maps and line drawings, A Traveller’s History of Greece is an invaluable companion for your vacation.

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