Two Books to Give as Gifts and Add to Your Winter Reading List

December 9, 2019

NEW YORK – As the fall gradually turns into winter, it is, of course, the perfect time to cozy up with a good book. Books are also a thoughtful gift any time of the year and especially during the holiday season, they’re a great option even for those hard to shop for people we all know and love.

For those interested in fantasy adventure novels, Greek-American author Nick Mamatas’ latest book, titled Sabbath, grabs your attention from the very first page and is not to be missed. Fast-paced, violent, and witty, the novel is described as Highlander meets Seven.

The infamous eleventh-century warrior Hexen Sabbath is plucked from death and certain damnation by a being claiming to be an angel of the Lord, and finds himself dropped into contemporary Manhattan with no clothes, no weapons, no resources, and one mission—to track down and kill the living personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins before they bring about Armageddon. With time running out and his only ally a destitute art gallery owner, Sabbath must fight his way through New York’s elite and challenge the world’s most powerful man, or an eternity of suffering will be his, and our, only reward.

With roots in Ikaria, Mamatas is the author of several novels, including the instant cult classic Move Under Ground and the Lovecraftian crime novel I Am Providence. His short fiction has appeared on Tor.com and in Best American Mystery Stories, Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, and dozens of other anthologies and magazines. Mamatas lives in the California Bay Area, where he was formerly editor of tradebooks for VIZ Media and edits both Japanese science fiction novels in translation and books associated with Oscar-winning filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli.

For those interested in history, Greece: Biography of a Modern Nation by Roderick Beaton sets out to understand modern Greece on its own terms. Since most non-Greeks have some idea about ancient Greece, Beaton notes that the financial crises that have convulsed Greece in recent years and brought worldwide coverage revealed just how poorly many people grasp the modern nation.

The book sets out to answer how Greece became so powerfully attached to the legacy of the ancients in the first place and then explores how the nation defined an identity for itself that is at once Greek and modern. The book reveals the remarkable achievement, during the last three hundred years, of building a modern nation on the ruins of an ancient civilization. Recounting the story of the Greek nation-state, the book also examines the collective identity that goes with it. Not only a history of events and high politics, the book is also a history of culture, the arts, people, and ideas.

Beginning with the birth of the Greek nation-state, Beaton carries his story into the present moment and Greece’s contentious post-recession relationship with the rest of the European Union. Through close examination of how Greeks have understood their shared identity, Beaton reveals a centuries-old tension over the Greek sense of self. The difference between a geographically bounded state and the shared history and culture that make up a nation is also explored in the book.

By treating modern Greece as a biographical subject, a living entity in its own right, Beaton encourages the reader to take a fresh look at the people and culture so celebrated for their past, even as they strive to build a future as part of the modern West.

Beaton is Emeritus Koraes Professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature at King’s College London and Commander of the Order of Honour of the Hellenic Republic. He is the author or editor of multiple books, including, most recently, Byron’s War: Romantic Rebellion, Greek Revolution.


There are very few figures in history as compelling and as complicated as Lord Byron.

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