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Culture

Great Gift Ideas, Fascinating Books for Father’s Day

Books make a great gift option for Father’s Day for those looking for something other than a tie for Dad. Whether he enjoys sports, fitness, history, or mysteries and thrillers, there is a book for every taste and temperament.

How to Sculpt a Greek God Marble Chest with Push-ups (Bodyweight Bodybuilding Tips Book 1) by Anthony Arvanitakis and illustrated by Lela Arvanitakis is a good choice for dads interested in getting into shape. Arvanitakis is a graduate of the University of Thessaloniki where he earned a degree in Sports Science and Physical Education and is a motivational personal trainer in the Netherlands. As with any new exercise program, consult with your physician before beginning.

History buffs will note that June 11 marks the centennial of the accession of King Alexander of Greece whose short three year reign ended with his death at the young age of 27 from sepsis after a monkey bite. His marriage to the Athenian Aspasia Manos caused some controversy at the time because of her status as a commoner.

Their compelling story is recounted in the book Alexandros kai Aspasia (Alexander and Aspasia) 1915-1920 by Alexandros Zaousis, a doctor and historian. Starting with the outbreak of World War I, Zaousis traces the turbulent history as well as the romance which began in 1915 and ended so abruptly just five years later. The book is available in Greek.

For those interested in literature, Modern Greek Writers: Solomos, Calvos, Matesis, Palamas, Cavafy, Kazantzakis, Seferis, Elytis (Princeton Essays in European and Comparative Literature, No. 7) edited by Edmund Keeley and Peter Bien is an excellent collection of essays. Written by ten critics and scholars on the theme of Modern Greek Literature and it European Background the book includes Zissimos Lorenzatos’ discussion of the nineteenth century poet Dionysios Solomos and Peter Bien’s analysis of Nikos Kazantzakis’ fervent demoticism. The essays are evidence of the creative activity of Greek writers in all genres as they turned outward to Europe and inward to Greek culture to form a unique modern literature. First published in 1972 by Princeton University Press, the 2015 Princeton Legacy Library edition is available in paperback online.

Mystery fans will enjoy Che Committed Suicide by Petros Markaris, translated into English by David Connelly. An Inspector Haritos mystery, the book finds the convalescing inspector under pressure to solve the mystery that is lurking behind a series of public suicides, unveiling the secrets buried in the victims’ past.

First published in 1855 and widely considered Greece’s first realistic social novel, Thanos Vlekas by Pavlos Kalligas, translated into English by Thomas Doulis, depicts life after Independence in the newly established modern Greek nation. The book recounts the story of Thanos a young farmer struggling to improve himself in spite of the derision of his mother, who prefers instead her more “heroic” son, the brigand Tassos, who seems to embody the virtues that helped Greece win independence. While Thanos farms, his brother uses robbery and murder to get ahead, exploiting his ill-gotten gains and political connections for his own personal gain. Kalligas criticized the romantic image of the brigands that was so popular in the newly independent Greece.

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