By Stephanie Nikolopoulos
Whether you’re looking for a stocking stuffer or a stack of books for a bibliophile, here is a diverse selection of books written in English by Greeks and Greek-Americans. All were published or reissued in 2015.
For the person with opinionated family: Exploring themes of dysfunction and food, Annie Lionatas’s novel Let Me Explain You (Scribner) tells what happens when irascible diner owner Stavros Mavrakis emails his former wife and three grown daughters about how they can improve their lives—and then disappears.
For the sunbather with a taste for scandal: A bored married couple in the Midwest test the tipping point between fantasy and immorality as they dive into other people’s lives during a summer of lust, drugs, and escapism in Dean Bakopoulos’ humorous novel Summerlong (HarperCollins).
For the type-A personality: Arianna Huffington’s bestselling Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder (Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony), about the media mogul’s hard-won lesson on balance, is now in paperback.
For the sleuth: Famed crime-fiction writer George Pelacanos debuts his first collection of short stories, The Martini Shot: A Novella and Stories (Little, Brown and Company). In the title novella, a writer discovers the reality behind a television police show.
For the historical-fiction fan: The fate of the United States will be determined by new technologies in Peter G. Tsouras’ riveting reimagining of the winter of 1863, Bayonets, Balloons & Ironclads: Britain and France Take Sides with the South (Skyhorse Publishing).
For the person who likes a political thriller: U.S. President Charlotte Kramer thought it would be a routine day when she permits camera crews to document her and her staff—but then terrorist attacks break out across the country. Secrets emerge in Madam President (Atria/Emily Bestler Books), written by former White House Communications Director Nicholle Wallace.
For the outsider lost in a crowd: Dean Kostos, editor of Pomegranate Seeds: An Anthology of Greek-American Poetry, explores New York’s “Other”—the disenfranchised, the censored, the immigrant—in his new surrealist poetry book This Is Not a Skyscraper (Red Hen Press).
For the dramatist who likes absurd dark comedy: Critically acclaimed writer Peter Carlaftes pushes drama to its next level with Teatrophy: Three More Plays (Three Rooms Press), a trio that deals in the intense subject matter of government surveillance, psychosexual relationships, and vacillating sexual orientation.
For the modern classicist: Jeffrey Eugenides’ 1993 novel The Virgin Suicides about the five Lisbon sisters who commit suicide one by one over the course of a year was republished this year as a Picador Modern Classic.
For the family genealogist: Eighteen years after orphaned sisters survive the slums of Athens during the 1922 Greco-Turkish War, one leaves the other behind for the hope of a new life in America. Years later, a third-generation Greek American seeks the truth of his family history in Fotini Tsalikoglou’s English-language debut The Secret Sister (Europa Editions).