Beginners Greek: A Novel

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If you are Peter Russell , the main character in "Beginner's Greek," you rush off to your hotel, suddenly and inexplicably forgetting the woman you've been waiting to meet all your life. In the bustle of afternoon business meetings and conference calls, Peter loses Holly's phone number. This turn of events, however unlikely, is also predictable, given that it occurs within the first 30 pages of James Collins' first novel; clearly the fates have to pace themselves.

Denied true love by his impossible stupidity, Peter returns home to New York. He spends the next few years rising in the ranks at his financial firm.

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He finds a conventional, chattering girlfriend, whose pauses he trains himself to meet with the right smile, accord or sympathy. One day his best friend, a successful, attractive and womanizing writer, asks Peter to come meet his new girlfriend, the stunning and lovely and long-lost but unforgotten Holly. Many other improbable plot twists, redolent of made-for-TV movies, drive Collins' novel. These include a fatal lightning strike on Peter's wedding night; various spontaneous revelations of objective truths by otherwise dense characters "Looking back, it all became obvious to her, [ In keeping with the cinematic story line is the convenient alignment of everyone's desires: Despite rampant infidelity and breakups, the major players all turn out happy, undergoing no moral crises or hard feelings along the way.

In the end, only the villain gets hurt, and even he is quickly ushered offstage to spare the reader any excesses of schadenfreude. There is even a case of mistaken identity that leads Peter to punch out one of the characters. With the mistaken identity comes the titillating suggestion of lesbian sex.

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Still, the renderings of these two-dimensional types are often cringe-inducing. As the book is contemporary with our century and not Edith Wharton 's, it stacks up more as a romantic novel than as social commentary. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Monitor Daily Current Issue. Monitor Political Cartoons. A Christian Science Perspective. Monitor Movie Guide.

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James Collins's first novel gives romantic comedy a gentle tweak. February 5, By Yvonne Zipp yvonnezipp. Related stories Gen. Share this article Copy link Link copied. Subscribe to continue. I expected it to be a chore which it was not. Petropoulos is a free-thinking poet, collector of songs and an expert in the ways of the Greeks who was put in prison by the Greek Junta for his massive book Rembetika Tragoudia.

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Until Emery finishes the translation of Rembetika Tragoudia this book should hold you over. Journal of Resistance by Mikis Theodorakis was published in France in while the Junta was still in power in Greece. Greece's most famous composer describes his three year ordeal from going underground to his arrest, imprisonment, internal exile and internment to the negotiations that enabled him to leave Greece for France. House Arrest by Helen Vlachos is another book about the events of , written by the daughter of one of Greece's best known journalists George Vlachos.

Helen was the publisher of the daily Kathimerini and the only newspaper owner who refused to publish under censorship.


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Because of this she was imprisoned by the dictatorship until she was able to escape to England where she published the book in The book is about her experience under the junta but also contains recollections of the occupation and the civil war. The book is one of the most heart rendering and enlightening that I have ever read.

The introduction is a historical outline of the Jews in Greece. Difficult to find. Life in the Tombs by Stratis Myrivilis is a Greek masterpiece that has been translated into a dozen different languages, only recently into English. This is a realistic account of trench warfare on the Macedonian Front during the First World War written in journal form by a young intellectual who in the spirit of patriotism and idealism volunteers to serve on the side of Venizelos and the allies.

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This book was banned by the Metaxas regime and during the Nazi occupation. The Trial of Socrates by I. Stone is a classic by one of America's most well-known and respected journalists. The book is a fascinating examination of Athenian society and the trial that led to the death of one of the most brilliant men who ever lived. Stone argues that while the Athenian verdict cannot be defended, it can be understood: Socrates was an anti-democratic reactionary whose philosophy posed a genuine threat to liberal ideals.

Whether you agree or not Stone's book is an excellent work to read to prepare you for reading Plato. Plato was probably the most important thinker in western history and the death of his teacher, Socrates convinced him that until philosophers became rulers and rulers became philosophers, there was no hope of curing the ills of society.

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The Histories by Herodotus was written by the 'father of history' "to prevent the traces of human events from being erased by time". The story centers on the early days of the Greek city-states and their war against the invading army of the Persian empire at the beginning of the 5th Century BC. The book was finished in BC and is a detailed description of life, people, animals, plants and pretty much everything. The Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan is an account of the struggle between Athens and Sparta and their allies which led to the collapse of the Athenian society that had been the fountainhead of western thought and culture.

It was a period of enormous destruction and loss of life which was written of by Thucydides who was a contemporary but died before the war ended. Good book to have by the side of your bed for when you wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep. The Cretan Runner by George Psychoundakis is the author's story of his war-time work in the Cretan resistance against the Germans. His journeys involved smuggling arms and explosives, carrying vital messages, guiding allied soldiers, agents or commandos through occupied Crete, all told with humor and humanity.

The book is translated from Greek by Patrick Leigh Fermor and includes a 40 page introduction by the greatest of the philhellenic writers. This is an exceptional book and a remarkable story. This book was originally published towards the end of the war and reprinted by the Efstathiadis Group in Athens.

It tells the story of what might have been the most courageous stand by the allies, the defense of Crete and its fall to the Germans. Plato for Beginners by Robert Cavalier introduces readers to the philosopher who helped shape the way we think about the world. It includes a look at Socrates whose martyrdom led Plato to form a new system of knowledge based on reason. In this 'documentary comic book' Plato's life unfolds in a lively and humorous way, teaching the reader the classic dialogues of the greatest of the Greek philosophers in a way that is fun for any age. Introducing Aristotle by Ropert Woodfin and Judy Grove s guides the reader through an explosion of theories from systematic logic to the earliest rules of science.

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Like the For Beginners series, Introducing Aristotle is a documentary in comic book form and gives the reader a whole lot of knowledge in an extremely palatable way. Have you found it entertaining as well as useful? You can also book at Booking. Return to Books About Greece Index. Greek History Books.

It is a facinating book, written with passion and love and able to evoke these emotions in the reader. The movie I thought was disappointing and even if you have seen it and feel like you know the story I still urge you to read this book. It is very powerful and if you are not familiar with this period of Greek history, a real eye-opener.