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Summer Reading: Our Favorite Books about Greece

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books about Greece, Henry Miller Colossus of Marousi

One of my favorite summer pastimes is reading, especially on the beach following a refreshing swim. I typically read numerous books during my summer breaks, reserving those related to Greece for that particular time. 

Here are a few of my beloved books about Greece that I'd love to share with you, in case you're seeking some reading inspiration. Whether you're planning your next adventure to Greece, reminiscing about past travels, or simply longing for the Mediterranean vibes, these books will take you on a literary journey to the heart of Greece.

Peel Me a Lotus by Charmian Clift

Set against the backdrop of the picturesque island of Hydra, Australian writer Charmian Clift invites readers on an unforgettable journey through her experiences in 1950-60s Greece. This captivating memoir captures the essence of island life as Clift navigates the vibrant community of artists, writers, and locals who call Hydra home. 

A Theater for Dreamers by Polly Samson

Also set against the backdrop of Hydra in the 1960s and Leonard Cohen's bohemian community, this fictional book is inspired by Charmian's memoir as well as the rich photographic archive from those times. I re-read this one every time I visit the island as you can still explore most places described in the book. 

The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller

A poetic exploration of Greece in the 1930s. In this travelogue, Henry Miller captures the allure of Greece through vivid descriptions of its landscapes, people, and customs. Miller travelled extensively throughout the country, visiting Athens, Epidaurus, Hydra, Crete, among others, and has written some of my favorite words about the country: “The light of Greece opened my eyes, penetrated my pores, extended to my whole being. I went back to the world having found the true center and the true meaning of cosmic rotation”.

Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese by Patrick Leigh Fermor

A literary journey through the rugged landscapes and ancient traditions of the Mani peninsula. This one is another travel memoir, offering a glimpse into a timeless land and its people. Mani is a companion volume to Patrick Leigh Fermor’s Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece.

Scorpion Fish by Natalie Bakopoulos

Set against the backdrop of contemporary Athens, this novel delves into the complexities of family, identity, and belonging. As Greece grapples with economic turmoil and social upheaval, a diverse cast of characters navigates the challenges of love, loss, and reconciliation. We had the pleasure of interviewing the author, Natalie Bakopoulos, for our Greek Women in Business series so you can get to know her better.

Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis

This is one is a true classic. Join the unforgettable journey of Zorba, a lively and free-spirited man, as he becomes friends with a reserved Englishman. Set on the island of Crete, this timeless novel is a celebration of living life to the fullest, cherishing friendship, and embracing the essence of Greek culture and spirit.

Where the Wandering Ends by Yvette Manessis Corporon

I got introduced to this book at a Book Club event by Hellenic Professional Women and had to share! A vivid, character-driven historical saga set in Corfu at the end of WWII and on the verge of the Greek Civil War, blending real history with Greek mythology. 



Let us know what's on your reading list for this summer! 

1 Response

John Xanthopoulos
John Xanthopoulos

June 06, 2024

Phenomenal books. Recommend them highly. How can you go wrong with kazantzakis and Miller? You cannot. Happy reading.

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