Gift Ideas for Mom and Books for Her Reading List

The Notary by Alexandros Rangavis. Photo: www.eptbooks.com

It can be difficult to shop for mom, but books are always a thoughtful gift. From mysteries and thrillers to travel and theatre, there is something for every taste in reading to choose for a Mother’s Day gift or a gift any time of the year. Add the following books to your reading list or to mom’s and enjoy.

The Notary by Alexandros Rizos Rangavis, translated by Simon Darragh, tells the story of a wealthy count on his deathbed, his libertine nephew, an upstanding young clerk, and a scheming notary who stops at nothing to protect his daughter in this iconic tale of suspense, intrigue, love, and murder. The classic mystery by Rangavis, is set on the island of Kefalonia on the eve of the Greek War of Independence of1821. Modern Greek literature’s contribution to the tradition of early crime fiction, The Notary can be compared to works by E.T.A. Hoffman, Edgar Allan Poe, and Wilkie Collins.

Rangavis was born in Constantinople in 1809 and was among many things a poet, author, translator, and historian of literature. He was a prominent figure in Greece, serving as a professor of archaeology at the University of Athens, minister of Foreign Affairs, and ambassador to Washington, Constantinople, Paris, and Berlin. His scholarly works included Hellenic Antiquities (1842-1855), Archaeologia (1865-1866), and the first History of Modern Greek Literature (1877). The Notary was among his collection of fiction. Although he spent a great part of his life abroad, in his later years, Rangavis lived in Athens where he died in 1892. The Notary in English translation and the Greek original are available online.

Walking in Athens with Constantine Cavafy, written by Cavafy after his first trip to the Greek capital with his brother Alexandros. The Alexandrian poet was 38 years old at the time, summer 1901, on vacation from his job.

Walking in Athens with Constantine Cavafy. Photo: www.eptbooks.com

A fascinating map is included so readers and travelers can compare present-day Athens to the Athens Cavafy describes in the book. Many of the buildings, cafes, and theaters Cavafy mentions did not survive the volatile years 1922-1949, but the general outline of the city center has remarkably stood the test of time. Seeing Athens through Cavafy’ eyes, comparing it to the experience of the modern city, will undoubtedly add layers of interest to the reader’s contemporary Athenian experience, allowing the discovery of a multifaceted city, the cradle of ancient civilization, and a dynamic, modern Mediterranean capital. The book is available at www.etpbooks.com.

The Oberon Anthology of Contemporary Greek Plays (Oberon Modern Playwrights) by various authors includes M.A.I.R.O.U.L.A by Lena Kitsopoulou, translated by Aliki Chapple; Angelstate by Nina Rapi, translated by the author; Wolfgang by Yannis Mavritsakis, translated by Christina Polyxroniou; Hunger by Charalampos Giannou, translated by the author; and Juliet by Akis Dimou, translated by Elizabeth Sakellaridou. The book highlights the work of established and up and coming playwrights who should be more well-known outside of their native Greece. The collection includes a foreword and introductions to each play by prominent academics in Greek contemporary theatre.

The Oberon Anthology of Contemporary Greek Plays. Photo: Amazon