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books BOOKS books

Many of the mini-markets and tourist shops will have a small selection of novels in the English language but, compared to the UK, they tend to be expensive so, if you bring a couple with you, you’ll probably find somewhere in resort where you can swap them, most likely a tour office or bar – especially if an ex-pat Brit works there. If you like Greece you might enjoy reading some, or all, of these books recommended by GGi readers:

ebook Kefalonia - An Insider's Guide, by Mike Leonidas
Kobo, Nook, Sony, etc / Kindle UK / Kindle US / paperback
The best of the GGi website in a handy ebook, ideal for reading on holiday.

Blue Skies and Black Olives, by John Humphrys
In a moment of mad impulse, newsreader John Humphrys decided to buy a semi-derelict cottage with stunning views over the Aegean. What could possibly go wrong?

It's All Greek to Me!, by John Mole
A beautiful view and a persuasive local prompted the Mole family’s impulsive purchase of “a tumbledown ruin on a hillside with no water, no electricity, no roof, no floor, no doors, no windows and twenty years of goat dung!”

Greece on my Wheels, by Edward Enfield
Mounted on his trusty steed, Edward Enfield (father of comedian, Harry Enfield) explores the beauty and history of the Pelopponese in a travelogue that combines wit, charm, and scholarship.

Crying Blue Murder, by Paul Johnston
Originally released under the title Deeper Shade of Blue, this is the first in a series by Scottish author Paul Johnston, who struck on the ingenious idea of inventing the character of Alex Mavros, an Athens-based private investigator who is half Scots and half Greek, and these books are detective stories, a genre almost totally unknown in Greek literature: The whitewashed walls of paradise hide acts of chilling depravity. When Alex Mavros is hired to find American tourist Rosa Ozal, it looks like a straightforward missing person case for the Athens-based private detective. Arriving on the Greek island where Rosa was last seen, he finds something deeply wrong. As he begins to unravel the mystery, Mavros discovers an island steeped in horrors beyond his wildest imaginings.

The Last Red Deathby Paul Johnston
Now they’re back and ready to take their final revenge. In the 1970s, Iraklis was a Greek terrorist group targeting capitalist politicians in a spate of gruesome ritualistic slaughters. Now two high-profile businessmen have been dispatched with deadly efficiency. Athens’ wealthy elite fear Iraklis is back .
"With this gripping, vicious thriller, Paul Johnston proves yet again why he deserves his place on the crime-writing pedestal beside Ian Rankin and Quintin Jardine"  Daily Record

The Golden Silence, by Paul Johnston
The Father and Son are back – and in demand In an explosion of gang rivalry, brutally tortured bodies have been turning up all over Athens. Nobody dares speak the names of the Father and Son, but it appears the deadly duo of enforcers is back and more ruthless than ever.

Silver Stain, by Paul Johnston
Hired by a Hollywood film company to trace a missing employee in Crete, private investigator Alex Mavros is plunged into a vortex of hatred. The company is shooting a movie about the invasion of Crete by the Germans in 1941 – and their activities are stirring up old resentments among the islanders.

The Green Lady, by Paul Johnston
Set against a glorious Greek backdrop, an intriguing new mystery featuring half Greek, half Scots PI, Alex Mavros. Hired by the wife of one of Greece’s richest men to find her missing fourteen-year-old daughter, Mavros faces an uphill battle.

The Black Life, by Paul Johnstone
" powerful novel on many levels…harrowing in places, it’s a gripping private eye-novel that offers a chilling snapshot of modern Greece" - Declan Burke, Irish Times

The White Sea, by Paul Johnstone
"Multifaceted…all these separate strands come together in a tremendously exciting conclusion which was worth waiting for…" - Eurocrime

The Illegal Gardener, by Sara Alexi
Driven by a need for some control in her life, Juliet sells up on impulse and buys a dilapidated farmhouse in a tiny Greek village, leaving her English life behind. The house is liveable by local standards, but the job of restoring the garden is too big. She needs help.

Black Butterflies, by Sara Alexi
At thirteen Marina meets the love of her life. At fourteen she is married off to a man twice her age whom she has never met. But Marina has a dark secret that she has kept closely guarded for most of her life. Not even her daughters know that as a young girl she spent a lonely and deeply disturbing summer on an island, and the events that unfolded then have haunted her ever since.

The Explosive Nature of Friendship, by Sara Alexi
Mitsos has spent the last twenty years trying to comes to terms with the events of a single day and all that led up to it. In his twilight years a suprising turn of events gives him a chance to rectify his biggest wrong and give himself the peace he is seeking. But is what he has wanted for the last twenty years what he still wants now?

Captain Corelli's Mandolin, by Louis de Bernières
A classic love story set on Kefalonia during the Second World War and the subsequent Greek Civil War. Read it and shed a tear - for the heroine, for the heroes, for humanity.

Birds Without Wings, by Louis de Bernières
Set against the backdrop of the collapsing Ottoman Empire, the Gallipoli campaign and the subsequent bitter struggle between Greeks and Turks, Birds Without Wings traces the fortunes of one small community in south-west Anatolia - a town in which Christian and Muslim lives and traditions have co-existed peacefully for centuries.

The Island, by Victoria Hislop
The best-selling fictional drama about the leper colony on the Cretan island of Spinalonga.

The Thread, by Victoria Hislop
A young Anglo-Greek hears his grandparents' life story for the first time and realises he has a decision to make. For many decades, they have looked after the memories and treasures of the people who were forced to leave. Should he become their next custodian and make Thessaloniki his home?

The House of Dust and Dreams, by Brenda Reid
A house in ruins. An island at war. A love affair just beginning… Greece 1936. A young British diplomat and his wife have been posted to Athens. Hugh loves the life there but his spirited and unconventional wife, Heavenly, finds it hard to fit into the whirl of endless parties and socialising.

The Magus, by John Fowles
A classic tale of passion, pretence and intrigue, perhaps inspired by his experiences as a master at the Anargyros College on Spetses.

The Corfu Trilogy, by Gerald Durrell
The Corfu Trilogy consists of the popular classic My Family and Other Animals and its delightful sequels, Birds, Beasts and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods. All three books are set on the enchanted island of Corfu in the 1930s, and tell the story of the eccentric English family who moved there.

The Magic in the Receiver, by Paul Dillon
Tragedy strikes the Katros family following the Great Ionian Earthquake and nine-year-old Ioannis joins thousands in a mass-evacuation of the Greek island. Sixty years later, accompanied by his American daughter Elena, Ioannis returns to attend a mysterious mountain festival and lay his ghosts to rest. Embracing her Kefalonian roots, Elena extends her stay on the island. A chance encounter...

Eleni, by Nicholas Gage
An utterly harrowing and deeply personal account, vividly and graphically told by the author, of his mother's life and his discovery of the truth about her execution by the Greek communist army during the civil war.

North of Ithaka, by Eleni Gage
A follow up to Eleni by her daughter, it's the story of her return to her family's old house.

Oil Paint and Greece, by Peter Hemming
On April 3rd 2001, part time artist Peter Hemming arrived on the Greek island of Kefalonia for what was to be a six month painting holiday, a relaxing summer in the sun! He stayed a little longer.

The Greek Myths, by Robert Graves
The definitive interpretation of the classical myths in two volumes, from The Creation to Odysseas.

Tales of Greek Heroes, by Roger Lancelyn Green
A slightly different interpretation of the Greek myths and not as detailed, but an easier read.

Zorba the Greek, by Nikos Kazantzakis
This classic novel, the basis for the Oscar-winning 1964 film of the same name, vividly portrays the complex and multifaceted friendship between a young Greek intellectual and Alexis Zorba, a sixty-year-old swashbuckling Romanian-born Greek whose bullish charm and self-professed excellence as a chef, miner, and musician immediately draws the young man to hire him as a foreman in an ambitious new mining venture in Crete.

Not (yet) available as ebooks but by local authors and *may* be found locally:

A Guided Walk to Old Skala, by Jean Baker

Old Skala - Memories of the Earthquakes of 1953, by Jean Baker

The Promised Journey (Pontus to Kefalonia), by Sophia Kappatos
Sophia from Tara Beach in Skala has written her father's story during and since the troubled times of the exile of Greeks from Turkey.

Nagis - Growing up in Kefalonia 1940-1950, by Panagis Spiliotis
A local lad from Ratzakli describes his early life growing up during WW2 and the Civil War that followed. This book is available from Aeolis Hotel, Skala.

The Roads of Cefalonia, by Helen Cosmetatos
 Helen Cosmetatos was curator of the Koryialenios Museum and compiled a fascinating guide to the history of the roads of Kefalonia.

Point and Counter Point, by Nicholas Enessee
Two stories run in parallel - the history of the island of Kefalonia and that of a remarkable woman, Nicholas' mother, Helen Cosmetatos, “who had landed on Cephalonia from England in the middle of the war, armed only with her violin”.

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