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What to read ?

Headed to Greece soon for a guided non-RS tour. What should we read or what movies should we watch to prepare us?

Posted by
1070 posts

Something beautiful happened or when the cypress whispers. Both are by Yvette manessis corporan

Posted by
2795 posts

Nights of Rain and Stars: Maeve Binchy

Posted by
1956 posts

Edith Hamilton- "The Greek Way"
Marjory McGinn- Peloponnese Series: "Things Can Only Get Feta," "A Scorpion in the Lemon Tree," "Homer's Where the Heart Is."

Posted by
3993 posts

Anything by Victoria Hislop, who sets her novels in Greece. The Island is my favourite.

Posted by
2416 posts

Kathy, share more, to get most useful info. WHERE is this tour going? Peloponnese? Rhodes? Cyclades? Crete? Do not waste time with movies like "Sisterhood of Traveling Pants" (Santorini) or "Shirley Valentine" (Mykonos) -- not realistic for today's Greece, and actually Fantasy, for any era. A movie of how island culture can affect & change people, an italian movie "Mediterraneo" is delightful... it's about Italian Soldiers being placed on a small isolated island in WW II to "guard" it, and how it changed them instead. And of course, Fake ancient history movies like "Hercules" etc are bunk. Of course popular fiction by Maeve Binchy etc are entertaining, but more romance or mystery-themed than anything else.

If you are interested in ancient history/culture etc, Mary Renault's excellent, readable & authentic historical novels are still the Gold Standard -- available online in Paperback new/used or digital for Kindle etc: For various regions/topics:

CRETE/MINOAN -- "The King Must Die" ... legends/history mingle... Minotaur, palaces, kings, excitement!
GOLDEN AGE of ATHENS - "The Last of the Wine" -- the famous & infamous, love, war, heroism, the arts
RISE of DRAMA - "The Mask of Apollo" -- traveling actors and the birth of Tragedy/Comedy


MODERN GREECE -- My fave, revealing Greeks of today (written just before the big economic crisis but still apropos) --
"Euridice Street" -- written by a woman anthropologist from ENgland who married a Greek Diplomat in Europe & they &2 young daughters moved fulltime to Greece to live, in about 2000 -- how she observed daily life, echoes of the past in the present, and her daughters "becoming Greek." Insightful & amusing.

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3 posts

If you like podcasts, there's one called Literature and History that has several on Greece, including an overview of the Hellenistic period and also on several of the Greek plays. It's like listening to one of Rick's audio guides!

Posted by
6047 posts

Shirley Valentine (movie) is wonderful for Greek island/seacoast scenery - will definitely get you in the mood.

Posted by
36 posts

Reply to Janet: We start in Thessaloniki, move down the east coast, head to the Peloponnese, and back to Athens for several days. It is a church group with a local guide: tourism, some biblical sites (only in Philippi, Thessaloniki, Verea, Corinth, Athens), 2 days working with refugees in Thessaloniki and Athens, and last day on a 3-island tour out of Athens.

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50 posts

Like kduranduran66, I would highly recommend the Literature and History podcast as well. https://literatureandhistory.com/ His episodes on the Illiad and the Odyssey are incomparable.

After listening to these, I decided to take a copy of the Odyssey with me to read in the Peloponnese last year.

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187 posts

Salonica, City of Ghosts by Mark Mazower is an excellent history of Salonica/Thessaloniki