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Reading Recommendations

We are traveling to Greece...islands and mainland....in mid March and would like some suggested titles to read before our trip. I would prefer historical fiction or light non-fiction to give us some background information. I know there is a lot to cover but we really enjoy doing some background reading before visiting a country.

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"Dinner with Persephone", by Patricia Storace A year in Greece
"Cretan Runner"written by the shepherd who ran messages behind the enemy lines to the British during WWII

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What Islands? If you are going to Crete, two must reads are Antony Beevors WWII history, Crete the Battle and the Resistence and, of course, Zorba the Greek. Also for a very romanticized view of the final years of Europe’s last leper colony at Spinalonga, The Island by Victoria Hislop.

Mary Renault wrote great novels set in Ancient Greece. Oh, and don’t forget
Robert Graves’ Greek Myths.

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2932 posts

A little light fiction: Nights of Rain and Stars: Maeve Binchy

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Hands down we recommend Corelli's Mandolin. All about occupied Greece before and after WW 11. The story largely mirrors the experiences that real people suffered on the Greek Island of Cephalonia.

For light reading I would recommend the trilogy by Marjory McGinn. All about their adventures in the Southern Peloponnese during the Greek economic crisis. "Things Can Only Get Feta." "Homer's Where The Heart Is." "A Scorpion in the Lemon Tree." Truly gives you a view of Greece life today.

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I enthusiastically second the Mary Renault novels. For light history, consider Thomas Cahill’s Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea.

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2932 posts

I agree, Captain Corelli's Mandolin is excellent.

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Thank you for all of these wonderful suggestions. My Kindle is loaded.....let the reading begin!

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396 posts

This is not reading, but I'm really enjoying this so wanted to mention a Great Courses series called "Understanding Greek and Roman Technology”. One way to get access is through Amazon Prime with an additional subscription to Great Courses content. For example right now I'm watching a lecture on ancient Greek ship building techniques and ship design. There was a lecture on building in stone, ancient cranes, catapult design, etc. The speaker uses an amazing number of scale models illustrating the technology in action.

I also just finished an audio version of a Great Courses series on the Illiad, which I think will enhance my trip because there are so many references to the Illiad in ancient Greek art.