Books are the gifts that keep on giving. Share the joy of Greece with someone you love this Christmas with one of these fantastic Greek-themed publications that make perfectly “novel” presents.
Stephen Fry: Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold
Fans of storyteller Stephen Fry’s wonderfully droll and elegant delivery will adore his new 21st century repackaging of the myths of Ancient Greece.
The much-loved British thesp has released Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold, just in time for Christmas; providing a classy and educational gift idea for that “hard to buy for” grecophile in your life.
Don’t expect to encounter the more famous jaunts like Troy and Odysseus, Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, Jason, Medea and the Argonauts or the Labours of Heracles though. Fry’s beautifully-designed 432-page opus concerns itself mostly with the birth of the universe to the creation of humankind: from Hesiod’s Theogony, Apuleius’s Latin novel The Golden Ass (Cupid and Psyche), and Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Arachne, Midas, Echo and Narcissus).
Through the actor’s inventive and erudite treatment, you’ll witness Athena born from the cracking open of Zeus’s great head; follow Persephone down into the dark realm of Hades. Experience the endless terrible fate of Prometheus after his betrayal of Zeus and shiver as Pandora opens her jar of evil torments.
We say: Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold (published by Michael Joseph and available from Amazon) is also available in audio CD for those who prefer the melodious charms of Fry’s voice to his witty scrawlings.
Adam Sisman: Dashing for the Post: the Letters of Patrick Leigh Fermor
The travel memoirs of flamboyant author and famous grecophile Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor have been hailed as the finest of his generation. His most popular works (A Time of Gifts, Between the Woods and the Water, and Roumeli: Travels in Northern Greece) are still cherished for their exuberant and descriptive prose.
If only “Paddy’s” inimitable baroque style didn’t feel a little too much like heavy lifting sometimes for our modern ADD sensibilities.
What an absolute treat then is this lively and free-flowing collection of his most entertaining letters, assembled by Adam Sisman and published last year. The late British war hero and incurable socialite, who spent his last decades in his beloved Kardamyli (until his death in 2011), was a prolific pensman. In fact, he wrote many thousands of letters in his lifetime and even blamed the habit for his “hopeless dilatoriness” in delivering manuscripts to deadline.
“Dashing for the Post” contains 174 candid, gossipy (and at times, gloriously risqué) specimens that will provide pure joy for Paddy’s legion of fans. As evidenced by this sample, where he vividly describes the new pavilion of his house in the Mani which “spreads a cool checky and lozengy carpet of shade, like tartan underfoot, that turns dogs as they trot through into momentary leopards and bipeds into harlequins”.
Amongst this treasure trove are jokey exchanges with fellow writers and poets such as Lawrence Durrell and George Seferis (whose memorable address to Sir Patrick was always “Panty, my dear”).
There’s also a host of apologetic letters to his long-suffering literary agent and romantic missives to his first great love, the Romanian princess Balasha Cantacuzene, as well as his cherished wife Joan Rayner (and to a string of libidinous liaisons on the side).
We say: Dashing for the Post: the Letters of Patrick Leigh Fermor (published by Hodder & Staughton and available on Amazon) is a great way to get under the skin of one of the most adventurous and talented personalities of the last century.
Greekisms for Dummies – Second Edition
Our hugely popular Greekisms for Dummies has just been re-printed in an expanded second edition, including 50 more hilarious entries and illustrations depicting Greek Life and the many linguistic quirks of the Hellenes.
Treat yourself or a loved one to this laugh-out-loud informative guide to the colourful linguistic secrets of the Greeks, written by Insider’s own John Carr (with Paul Anastasi), and accompanied by wonderfully humourous illustrations by Iason Iliades.
* What do you do when you “do the duck?”
* Why you don’t want to “eat soup” in Greece!
* What happens when you “become billiard balls”?
Discover the answer to these and many other quirky colloquialisms – including the enduring mystery of Mrs Alexander’s buttons!
We say: A perfect Christmas gift for anyone who intends to spend time in Greece and wants to get to grips with the local culture.
Greekisms for Dummies is available for *€9.99 from all leading international bookshops in Greece, including Compendium, Lexikopoleio, Public or from our Insider Publications on-line book shop HERE:
Insider Weekly, December 6, 2017.