Keep Ithaka always in your mind.

Arriving there is what you are destined for.


LONDON Hockney who? “If you find yourself in London, don’t miss the Hockney exhibition at the Tate.” Of course I didn’t. Yet the book I picked up at the Tate Shop was not Hockney’s exhibition catalogue, no; it was journalist Geordie Greig’s Breakfast with Lucian, a well-written study of another very important C20 British artist, Lucian Freud. It kept me the best of companies on my flight back to Greece and proved a great insight into Freud’s life.


USA After rules changed, in 2014, to include anyone who writes, or has been translated into, English, British writers are getting increasingly upset with the Booker Prize. It has now been awarded, for the second time in a row, to… an American, from Texas.


BOOK REVIEW “I wonder what they talk about”. We often wonder this very thing when faced with a brilliant man getting married to a woman whose intellectual quotient is not her forte. Yet we never wonder about the opposite – about how tiring it must be for an ordinary woman to live with a genius at home.


INTERVIEW The woman who gives voice to Jo Nesbo’s stories in Greek is a poet, with the curriculum vitae and the academic studies of an all-around polymath, and an exuberant personality that’s hard to hide, even if – like me – you’ve never met her in person. In a state of constant leave-taking, due to her “conscious craving for adventure”, she’s managed to shrink the Globe, as only true cosmopolitans can. And yet she travels not only in space, but in time as well

The Bookseller that gave away his bo

EDINBURGH Edinburgh is a city that exudes culture. So does the quotidian behaviour of its inhabitants. The Scottish capital – a Unesco World Heritage Site – can boast the highest percentage of highly qualified professionals in the UK. The University of Edinburgh has scored among the world’s 15 best universities for many years in a row. The city plays host to the biggest arts festival in the world every summer, and admission to the city’s museums is free.


GREECE I spent my entire summer island-hopping in the company of W. Sommerset Maugham’s Rain (brilliantly – just brilliantly – translated by Palmyra Ismiridou for Agra Publishers), Angie Saltabasi’s Berlin (Polis Publishers; my copy still holds traces of sand and simit in it), and art catalogues aplenty. Ok, so I did step on land now and then (deep, deep inland) but the point is I kept oscillating between the easy come of Maugham and Saltabasi, and the easy go of – heavy – theory.

Join John

INTERVIEW-GREECE Yannis Dardes, was born and raised in Athens. His Instagram pics reveal a passion for archaeology and architecture, but life had other plans in store for him: he’s been working on electronic audio and video processing for years. He’s one of the most genteel presences in the world of advertising. To let some steam off –his own words, mind you– he started DJ-ing for various bars in Athens and in 2013, encouraged by radio producer Aphrodite Simitis, he was recruited by join radio.

Greek tsoureki: yes; Greek books: no

INTERVIEW - EUROPE Seven Greek readers who live and work outside of Greece talk to us about their relationship with literature and books, the difficulty of getting hold of Greek books abroad, how they keep up to date with new releases, and explain their own reading habits and the reading habits of their fellow city-dwellers.

On loving first-person narratives

INTERVIEW GREECE Dionysis Malouhos is at the helm of Trito, proving that his administrative talents are as impressive as his artistic and educational capacities. He has been a consoling choice for all of us who still think of Trito as a child of the prodigious composer Manos Hadjidakis – in other words, as a cultural oasis of art and talk.


GREECE As happens often in Nordic noir, rain pours in vertical curtains from the sky right before the crime is committed; and right afterwards. Rain turns the path to the journalist’s cottage into mud, rain fogs up the windows in inspector Wisting’s office, rain washes away all traces of the murder – or exposes them, if it’s just a drizzle – rain obstructs, rain facilitates, rain soaks everything, helps solve the riddle, or thwarts police efforts.

Lolita is more interesting than Vlad

INTERVIEW-GREECE She’s been working away quietly in the publishing industry for over 20 years, in every imaginable post: as a series editor, PR manager, reader, book fair & events coordinator. Books are her natural habitat. Poetry is her oxygen. This year, she’s up for the Anagnostis magazine Best Poetry Collection award, with her book 4 Seasons on The Road (published by Apopeira).


GREECE When we’re young, our grandmothers are a sort of primitive, Hollywood-like film industry: they become our first film projector, our very first movie theatre. They usher us to our comfortable pillow seats –to their Executive Gold bosoms – and put us to sleep by sweetly deceiving our minds. All we need to have is the right password (love); and the right sort of age. Granddads are alright too.

Rooms with a view to literature.

GREECE At the moment I am writing this, there must be around three thousand summer reading lists doing the rounds of Greek websites and blogs. I wish there were lists like that for all other seasons too: to some of us, they are far more appealing and far more conducive to reading


BOOK REVIEW I happened upon a newspaper article a couple of days ago, regarding the large numbers of Greek migrants abroad: their renewed chances of finding work, getting promoted based on merit, assuming key positions, and earning enough to live on. Their prospect of establishing new businesses, having left behind a country that drained them of their energy, ignored, and even oppressed them.


INTERVIEW The power of radio is, of course, immense. it’s the only medium that remains unaffected – if not empowered – by the spread of the Internet. What has changed, though, is its quality. And not in a good way. It is highly unlikely that a foreigner in Greece would learn flawless Greek off radio producers speaking it property – which is to say, in the same unorthodox manner as my Ukrainian friend learnt English off the BBC.

‘Tis a long, hard summer without cri

INTERVIEW-GREECE She was born and raised in Thessaloniki, where she studied Greek Literature and Historical & Balkan Linguistics. She speaks three languages and is a far cry from your traditional nighthawk: she doesn’t drink or smoke, she’s a year-round swimmer, and a compulsive reader.


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Τι ακούει η Εύη όταν διαβάζει αστυνομικα

Greek tsoureki: yes; Greek books: no

INTERVIEW - EUROPE Seven Greek readers who live and work outside of Greece talk to us about their relationship with literature and books, the difficulty of getting hold of Greek books abroad, how they keep up to date with new releases, and explain their own reading habits and the reading habits of their fellow city-dwellers.

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