Books about Greece

Please see detailed below a selection of books that have been recommended by our members, complete with a link to amazon to purchase if you wish to.

Beryl Darby – The Cretan Saga

I am sure many of you will have come across this author before but for those of you who haven’t read on.  I found this author and her “Cretan Saga” while I was trawling Amazon for something else – as you do. I noticed that there was a remarkable number of 5-star reviews for the books and bought the first in the series “Yannis” for holiday reading but having read the first few pages I had to keep going until I finished it. “Yannis” was inspired by Cretan leprosy patient Beryl Darby met and is based on his life history. What followed was the twelve volume “Cretan Saga” covering events that affect his family from 1918 up to the present day.

The second book “Anna” (already on the kindle) follows the story of his sister, especially during the war. There are seven 5-star reviews on Amazon for this book.

So who is she? Thirty years ago Beryl Darby wrote the first guide book to the island of Spinalonga. There is a suggestion that she had to self-publish the books because no mainstream publisher was interested which is probably why they have not had the publicity, and therefore the national sales success that they deserve.  I am happy to try, in a small way, to put that right. All books can be found on Amazon (Kindle and book form). Well worth a read!

PASSION FOR GREEK COOKING - £5.50 [including P+P]

This cookbook has been compiled from all the winning recipes from the club’s cooking competitions as well as the ones mentioned by the judges as good but not good enough to be winners.

To order contact Nick Kontarines  on 07837288887
or email: nkontarines AT btconnect.com
(replace the spaceATspace with the usual symbol you see in email)

Cookbook - member recipes from variouys cooking competitions

Falling in Honey by Jennifer Barclay

Jennifer is a freelance editor and writer and now lives her dream life on Tilos (population 500), having spent much time in Greece and other countries.

After a relationship break up Jennifer 'gifts' herself a month in Tilos, and finds herself falling in love.... with an island, this book details what happens next. If you have been to Tilos you will recognise a lot of places.

"It's All Greek to Me! is John Mole's gentle tale of converting a stone ruin into a family home on the island of Evia, a fabulous insight into Hellenic village life." Book of the Week, Daily Express

"Anecdotes come thick and fast... Mole's affable style suits the subject, and his self-deprecatory tone is a bonus." The Good Book Guide

"John Mole writes with clarity, honesty and humour...whether you are new to the country or share Mole's passion for all things Greek, this book offers an entertaining glimpse of life in rural Greece." Saga Traveler’s News

"It's All Greek to Me! represents travel writing at its best. Mole's descriptions of the people and places he encounters do for Greece what Peter Mayle did for France in his bestselling A Year in Provence and Frances Mayes for Italy in Under the Tuscan Sun."

George Psychoundakis was a young shepherd boy who knew the island of Crete intimately.
When the Nazis invaded by air in 1941, he immediately joined the resistance and took on the crucial job of war-time runner. It was not only the toughest but one of the most dangerous jobs of all. It involved immense journeys on foot, carrying vital messages, smuggling arms and explosives and guiding Allied soldiers, agents and commandos through heavily garrisoned territory.
George did not escape capture and torture on some of his many forays. This brilliant account of George’s activities across mountainous terrain, come blazing summer or freezing winter, is a gripping story of bravery against impossible odds. The preface to the book is written by Patrick Leigh Fermour who spent time with George on many adventures throughout the dark days of 1941 to 1944.
Psychoundakis was later awarded the BEM for his work in assisting allied troops.

Panos Karzenis takes you to a very strange world in Little Infamies.
It is that of an obscure Greek village where you are introduced to the idiosyncratic inhabitants-the barber, the priest, the prostitute, the doctor, the mayor and the seamstress, you are given insights into the lives of a series of strong characters, and drawn ever deeper into a novel yet very strange society. 
Panos Karnezis is like a magician who distracts with his left hand while performing sleight-of-hand with his right. In fact, the village here is a magical place: other inhabitants include the occasional animal: a parrot that can recite Homer, a horse called History-even a centaur. All these strange lives cross over, and in such a cloistered village, few secrets are kept hidden for long. Everybody learns about the eponymous little infamies that the human race commits.

Blue Skies and Black Olives - by John and Christopher Humphreys

This is a light and most entertainingly written book by BBC reporter John Humphreys and his son Christopher, in which they recount their experience building a house in the Peleponnese on a beautiful site overlooking the Aegean. Christopher is a professional musician, playing the cello in an Athens orchestra and married to a Greek girl. John had decided to invest in Greek property, having been captivated by Greek life and scenery and encouraged by his son.
The project is fraught with difficulties - both in terms of the bureaucracy involved and also the strange unreliability of some of those they employ to do the building work. those factors, couple with the fact that John is apparantly not known for his patience, provoke some very amusing stories. For those who, like me, struggle to master the complexities of the Greek language, the chapter on this subject is particularly funny - John comments that when he hears Greek males conversing it sounds to him as if they are about to kill each other.
Personally I was encouraged to read that 'Greek is a hard language. That is official. The Foreign Office leangue table of languages......rates Greek harder than any average European language, and not far off the real monsters such as Mandarin and Finnish'.
An entertaining read - Tony Smith

The Island by Victoria Hislop.
On the brink of a life-changing decision, Alexis longs to find out about her mother’s past - all she admits to is growing up in a small Cretan village before moving to London.
Arriving in Plaka, Alexis is astonished to see that it lies a stone’s throw from the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece’s former leper colony. She finds Fotini, and at last hears the story that her mother has buried all her life: the tale of her great-grandmother Eleni and her daughters and a family rent by tragedy, war and passion. She discovers how intimately she is connected with the island, and how secrecy holds them all in its powerful grip...