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Literature

Three Books to Add to Your June Reading List

June can be a busy time of the year as plans are getting underway for the summer, students are graduating from school, and we also celebrate Father’s Day. The following books are a great addition to any reading list and also make wonderful gifts for grads and dads.

A Deadly Twist is the latest book in the Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis mystery series by bestselling mystery author Jeffrey Siger, set on the island of Naxos. The 11th case for Chief Inspector Kaldis is a compelling murder mystery in the sunshine noir genre that doubles wonderfully as escapist travel writing. A Deadly Twist brings Kaldis to Naxos to track down both a missing national crime reporter and the deputy he sent to find her. The first book in the series, Murder in Mykonos, was also recently released in a new paperback edition, and a screen adaptation is coming soon.

Scorpionfish by Natalie Bakopoulos, published by Tin House, draws the reader in with strong characters and vivid descriptions of contemporary Athens in this captivating novel. Among Bakopoulos’ characters are expatriates, exiles, immigrants, and refugees in this moving story that seems so personal and yet so universal.

According to the book’s description, after the unexpected deaths of her parents, young academic Mira returns to her childhood home in Athens. On her first night back, she encounters a new neighbor, a longtime ship captain who has found himself, for the first time in years, no longer at sea. As one summer night tumbles into another, Mira and the Captain’s voices drift across the balconies of their apartments, disclosing details and stories: of careers, of families, of love.

Bakopoulos is the author of The Green Shore (Simon & Schuster, 2012), and her work has appeared in Tin House, the Iowa Review, the New York Times, Granta, Ploughshares, and The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories. An assistant professor of creative writing at Wayne State University in Detroit and a faculty member of the summer program Writing Workshops in Greece, Bakopoulos lives in Ann Arbor, MI.

The Greek community of Constantinople is highlighted in the charming debut novel A Recipe for Daphne by Nektaria Anastasiadou. The book features vivid characters and evocative descriptions woven together in a romantic drama that touches on the painful history that has indelibly shaped the lives of the Polites, the Greeks of Constantinople.

According to the book’s description, Fanis is at the center of a dwindling yet stubbornly proud community of Rum [the term used in modern Turkey to describe Greeks, i.e. the descendants of the citizens of the Roman Empire], Greek Orthodox Christians, who have lived in Constantinople for centuries.

When Daphne, the American-born niece of an old friend, arrives in the city in search of her roots, she is met with a hearty welcome. Fanis is smitten by the beautiful and aloof outsider, who, despite the age difference, reminds him of the fiancée he lost in the 1955 pogrom. Kosmas, a master pastry chef on the lookout for a good Rum wife, also falls instantly for Daphne. She is intrigued by him, but can she love him in return? Or will a family secret, deeply rooted in the painful history of the city itself, threaten their chances? This story of love, hopeful beginnings, and ancient traditions showcases Anastasiadou’s dynamic literary voice.

The books mentioned above are all available online and in bookstores.

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