01 North of Ithaka, by Eleni Gage
The writer picks up where her father, US-Greek journalist Nicholas Gage left off in Eleni – the 1983 bestseller which chronicles his return to Greece to find the men responsible for the death of his mother, Eleni Gatzoyiannis, during the Greek Civil War That book was made into the 1985 film, Eleni, starring John Malkovich. In North of Ithaka, the granddaughter returns to the village, Lia, in the northern mountains of Epirus to rebuild the family home. The book charts the story of a rebuilding of more than just bricks and mortar.
02. The Holy Madness of Modern Greeks: An introduction to the Ways of the Greeks, by Theodore Pagiavlas
This may be the book to give to someone who wants to understand how and why modern Greeks behave in the way they do. Pagiavlas delves into Greek history, literature, music and culture to help explain who the Greeks are.
03 Something Will Happen, You’ll See by Christos Ikonomou
Something Will Happen is a set of short of stories that focuses on the lives of working class people of Piraeusstruggling to survive during the economic crisis of the past decade.
04 Why I Killed My Best Friend by Amanda Michalopoulou
Michalopoulou tells the story of two girls whose families came from Africa and France to settle in Athens. The girls become friends as they adjust to life in Greece but go begin to differ as they get older.
05 On the Unhappiness of Being Greek by Nikos Dimou
The book which was written during the years of the military junta, was published after its fall in 1975. His observations of Greek life and identity made him unpopular with some who were to label him a traitor.
06 Greece a Traveller’s Literary Companion by Artemis Leontis.
This is not a travelogue. It serves as an introduction of Greek culture politics and history through 24 stories and essays ranging from ancient myths to modern times.
07 Ashes by Sergios Gakas.
Gakas is a writer of “noir” novels who explores the darker seams of modern life in his novels. In Ashes he produces a gritty story of corruption, and revenge that unravels during the investigation into the death by fire of a former actress.
08 Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.
The 2002 bestselling novel earned Eugenides the Pulitzer Prize. The author of Virgin Suicides (also a Pulitzer winner) and The Marriage Plot, in Middlesex Eugenides recounts a coming-of-age story loosely based on his own life and views of his Greek heritage, the American Dream and gender identity.
READ MORE: Jeffrey Eugenides: writer and modernist romantic
09 Rebetiko, David Prudhomme.
The award-winning graphic novel looks at how the unique Rebetiko music style was able to flourish despite efforts by the dictator General Ioannis Metaxas to stamp out the music style because it was deemed to reflect Turkish influences. The book charts a day in the wild life of a group of Rebetiko musicians in Athens in 1936.
10 Lament from Epirus An Odyssey into Europe’s Oldest Surviving Folk Music, by Christopher C King
American writer, music producer, and sonic archaeologist Christopher C King was browsing through a shop on the Asian side of Istanbul when he came upon early vinyl records that featured the haunting folk music of Epirus that is the oldest in Europe. This book published in 2018 and illustrated by Robert Crumb, describes the voyage of discovery that those records represented as King looks for two long lost masters of the music. Its virtuosos and adherents include the Roma people. King looks deeply into meaning and importance of music in our lives.
READ MORE: The healing power of demotic music