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Literature

Two Books to Add to Your 2020 Summer Reading List

Catching up on summer reading is an ideal way to spend time this year, especially in view of the global coronavirus pandemic that may have curtailed vacation plans. The staycation offers a great opportunity to put a dent in that to be read pile bibliophiles have accumulated. The National Herald’s readers are often very helpful in providing recommendations and even their own works to be added to our reading list. One reader noted that the closure of their local library led them to re-examine their own bookshelves and rediscover works just waiting in plain sight to be read or re-read as the case may be. And if you have already exhausted your supply of books at home over the long months of quarantine, there;s no need to fret. Some public libraries, including a few branches in New York City for example, are scheduled to reopen soon with safety measures in place, such as picking up books you can request online. So, now is the perfect time to replenish your summer reading list.

For those interested in nonfiction, Warrior of the Light: A Fighter's Journey through the Rise of Mixed Martial Arts by Greek-American Derek Galanis, and edited by Dovid Diamand, offers insights through the author’s personal experience in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). As noted in the book’s description, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) burst on the scene in 1993, showcasing the effectiveness of an art little known at the time, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It took more than a decade for MMA, a quasi-legal phenomenon, to become a legitimate and recognized sport. In 2019, the UFC and what had become known as Mixed Martial Arts debuted on ESPN. The hard-fought journey was just cresting; MMA was now in the heartland of sports legitimacy. Galanis takes the reader through the rise of MMA using his own life as the foil, reflecting the stunning highs and unfortunate lows of the world of traditional and mixed martial arts. Along he answers questions that fans have long pondered: How prevalent is doping in the sport? What makes a great trainer? How are prospects determined? The answers may shock you. There is an unwritten code that what happens in the training room stays in the training room. The author breaks that code and tells all in the same engaging style in which he previously revealed the world of underground financiers and the mafia in, Greed and Fear: The Galanis Crime Family. Galanis is a life-long martial artist and fighter whose dream is to have a Combat Sports non-profit where children can learn about the positive benefits of martial arts like he did.

The Greek Persuasion by Kimberly K. Robeson is the author’s debut novel which follows a Greek-American professor, Thair Mylopoulos-Wright, consumed by a myth about Zeus, a magic sword, and soul mates, who has spent much of her life searching for her Other Half. At thirty-one, she spends a summer in Greece; there, alone on a tranquil island, she begins writing stories about her grandmother’s experiences in 1940s Egypt, her mother’s youth in 1960s Greece, and finally, her own life in contemporary America, trying to make sense of her future by exploring the past.

Robeson is a Greek-American assistant professor at Los Angeles Valley College. She grew up in Greece, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and California. She holds a master’s degree in comparative literature and has taught English in Greece, Peru, and the United States for the past twenty-seven years. Robeson, like her yiayia, has always been a storyteller, and Greece is always in her heart. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Hugo, and their three bulldogs, Achilles, Oia, and Opa.

The books mentioned above are available online.

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