Tuesday, 5 September 2017

#WorldReads - Five Books From Greece

If this is your first visit to my WorldReads blog series, the idea of the posts is to encourage and promote the reading of global literature. On the 5th of each month I highlight five books I have read from a particular country and you can see links to previous countries' posts at the end of this post.

This month's country is Greece! A nation with a strong and ancient literary tradition, I have chosen an eclectic mix books from ancient poetry and theatre to history and modern day experimental fiction.



Oedipus the King by Sophocles

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Buy the ebook from Kobo
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository
Buy the paperback from Waterstones

Read my original book review on Stephanie Jane

Oedipus The King was my second AudioSYNC audio download of the 2014 season. It took me about fifteen minutes to really get into this play of Oedipus The King. Not being familiar with the characters, I found it tricky to work out who was who purely from their voices - even failing initially to recognise Michael Sheen. The device of male and female voice speaking together with underlying echo was mystical, but also unclear via my headphones so I missed out on some meaning there. However, once the play took off it had great pace and a dramatic story.



Greek Fire and Its Contribution to Byzantine Might by Konstantinos Karatolios

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Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the ebook from Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I bought this short scholarly work after having seen the wildfire episode of Game Of Thrones and discovering that there was actually a historical reality for the dramatic weapon. Although the Byzantine 'Greek Fire' or 'Liquid Fire' doesn't seem to have ever been described as bright green! Karatolios has investigated a wide variety of ancient sources and chronicles for mentions of Greek Fire and this book is the pleasantly accessible result of his studies.



Theogony and Works And Days by Hesiod

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Buy the paperback from Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I love reading ancient work when I can find a good modern translation and Kimberly Johnson's work in translating Hesiod's two great poems here certainly fits the bill for me. It is amazing to think Hesiod's words were originally spoken getting on for three millennia ago, yet in his ideas about how people should live in order to be in harmony with themselves and nature, Hesiod is surprisingly relevant.



The Parthenon Bomber by Christos Chrissopoulos

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Buy the ebook from Kobo
Buy the hardback from Speedyhen
Buy the hardback from The Book Depository

Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Originally published in Greece seven years ago, The Parthenon Bomber has only now been translated into English and is an intense and unusual novella. The story is told from a number of viewpoints beginning with the testimony of a man known as Ch K who, inspired by a Second World War philosophy, charged himself with the destruction of The Parthenon. As readers we do not know if his words are true or even if they are genuinely his, but the confession is certainly compelling in its portrayal of insane single-mindedness.



Behind The Counter by Constantina Rebi


Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy the ebook from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the ebook via Payhip

Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Behind The Counter is a novella of about a hundred pages which illustrates the rapidly declining living standards of ordinary people in austerity-struck Greece. We see Athens through the eyes of a bank clerk, her friends and colleagues, and are gradually more aware of their fragile circumstances as the book progresses.


That's it for August's WorldReads from Greece. I hope I have tempted you to try reading a book from this country and if you want more suggestions, click through to see all my Literary Flits reviews of Greek-authored books! Please do Comment your own favourite Greek books below and if you fancy buying any of the five I have suggested, clicking through the links from this blog to do so would mean I earn a small commission payment.

If you missed any earlier WorldReads posts, I have already 'visited' America, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, ItalyNew Zealand, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.
In October I will be highlighting five books by Japanese authors. See you on the 5th to find out which ones!

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