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Culture

Books to Add to Your December Reading List

December 18, 2017

December can be a busy month for many people. With so much to do, books might be the last thing on your list this holiday season. It should be noted that books make great gifts. Family and friends will appreciate the thoughtfulness when you give a well-loved tome as a gift. Even if you don’t get a chance to read them until next year, add the following books to your reading list.

A Greek Folk Journey: Travel, Culture and Gastronomy by Terina Armenakis is a wonderful resource for those who love traveling to Greece and discovering the unique festivals, foods, and fun throughout the country and throughout the year. The book is organized by the months of the year and begins in January with various festivals that kick off the year in the homeland including the many celebrations of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Introductions to each section and for each event offer valuable information for those interested in attending. It is possible to attend a festival in every part of Greece at almost any time of the year with this book as your guide. Helpful reader’s notes at the end of the volume include a pronunciation key, definitions, a glossary, regional index with the pages of the events held in each particular region, and a detailed bibliography as well as a bibliography for the regional dishes mentioned in the book.

Illustrated with many colorful images and photographs, A Greek Folk Journey will inspire the reader to visit Greece as soon as possible to enjoy the many distinctive flavors and festivals the homeland has to offer. The book is available online.

In a recent article, The National Herald reported on the students from The Cathedral School visiting a photography exhibit at the Consulate General of Greece in New York and the creative writing inspired by the photographs. The inspiring images appear in Daily Bread: Stories from Rural Greece by Beatrice Hamblett, a fine-art book of photographs and stories culled from Hamblett’s 10 years of road trips through Greece. Daily Bread: Stories from Rural Greece offers distinctive images of the country while presenting the stories of the people.

As noted on the author’s website, “The ‘Greek story’ has been much in the news but Daily Bread presents a Greece instead with real people plucked from rural villages.Determined to break the stereotype of  news stories publicizing only the economic crisis, photographer/storyteller Hamblett, brings a multitude of voices to her work. The reader will meet farmers, bakers, fisherman—people living simple lives in small villages held together by family and traditions.”

Among the people whose stories are included in the book is “Litza, a young woman who rises at 4 am daily to open her bakery in a small mountain village near Albania; Elias will come to life, a handsome, rugged man living alone with his herd of 500 sheep above the meadows of Kato Pedina; and Takis and Riko, a sheep farmer and his Albanian assistant, who speak of the toils of milking and tending animals, year in year out.”

The powerful photographs and moving stories provide a unique look at Greece with “moments that distill the essence of character and occasion, moments that celebrate the ancient traditions, the love of family,  the courage and dignity of a people as they embrace the 21st century.”

Daily Bread: Stories from Rural Greece by Beatrice Hamblett is available online.

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