When I moved here nearly two years ago a couple of my imaginary bloggy friends sent me books about Greece. Not the conventional guide books detailing hotels, listing opening times of museums or recommending restaurants but books that offered a different take on this country.
Lesley sent me a copy of Euydice Street which I enjoyed enormously, spending my time before living here preferring to read that than organise some of the more mundane aspects of moving. I was pleased that Sofka had as many problems finding somewhere to live as we did although she did end up eventually with something a lot better than we have. I suppose that’s the difference between coming to live somewhere knowing it is to be your permanent home rather than being the paying guest who will leave eventually for their own home. I’m going to read it again now that I can share more of her experiences.
It was Waffle who introduced me to Theo Dorgan and his wonderful book of poetry, Greek. Since receiving this I’ve pressed it on to many people urging them to read it. In some ways it reminds me of Douglas Dunn* – in particular, Nike.
This girl can tell you how much Nikes cost
but doesn’t know who Nike is or was.
Better dead than out of fashion – Oscar Wilde
would understand this pouting anxious child….
Winged victories were carved for girls like her,
to make them fleet of foot and never tire;
The goddess on her plinth above the square
is wall-eyed, blank – as if not really there.
And in a bookshop in Lyme Regis I found Athens by Elizabeth Speller. It’s a guide to walking around the city giving eight different routes, some of which cover the conventional, tourist areas around the Acropolis but some of the other routes take you away from the main, obvious areas. It’s a good book just to read even if you have no plans to visit Athens. (But why wouldn’t you? I think we’ve almost got a government and saved the Euro)
*Being compared to Douglas Dunn is a great compliment – don’t sue me.