Summer days by the sea – and more. Always with a good book at hand!

Αstralón’s team is super ready for vacation, and reading a good book is always included. Whether you are still making summer plans, having arrived at your ideal destination, or even if you have decided to enjoy the calmness of your home, we have picked some books for you. Happy vacation reading!

Chryssa suggests
Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen (1813)

(Spoilers ahead)
There are some classical books that seem so familiar, as if you have even read them in the past. Just like some wonderful songs that you hear over and over, and it is possible that you have never appreciated their beauty or understood their lyrics.

Jane Austen’s ‘Pride & Prejudice’ was the hidden treasure in the library that I decided to read after completing ‘Love & Friendship’, a book by the same writer. Having been intrigued by the author’s sarcasm, humor and innovative way for the 1800s to narrate a story through correspondence, I decided to start reading ‘Pride & Prejudice’ and I am thankful that I finally met Miss ‘Elizabeth Bennet’.

She is the main character of the novel, a brilliant and noble young woman whose character -I hope- has inspired thousands of girls and women. Elizabeth Bennet’s splendid personality and mind are the keystones of the plot, and for me, she stands with pride next to other vivacious heroines, like Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Papadiamantis’ women of stone and Doumas’ Lady of the Camellias.

Her silent monologues idealize honesty, morality, humbleness, and patience, her love for her family and her objective judgment as well as her radical ideas about women, marriage and wealth unfold flawlessly in her mind and on the lines of the book. And then she meets the wonderful Mr. Darcy, a man with a personality as ethical and majestic as Elizabeth’s. This classic romantic love story’s plot makes you anxious, the impressive writing makes you wish they end up together and you can feel nothing but happiness in the end, as pride won over prejudice.

Do read ‘Pride & Prejudice’, do think like Elizabeth once in a while.
Happy summer!

Plus one! Lady Sings The Blues, Billie Holiday co-authored by William Dufty (2012)

Anna suggests
Change: Method, Edouard Louis (2021)

Edouard Louis is a young writer from France. The reason I choose to write about him and specifically about his latest book entitled “Change: Method” is because in recent years I have been following his work, a series of books in the nature of autobiographical fiction. The book is published in Greece, like the rest, by Antipodes Publications, translated by Stella Zoumboulakis.

Edouard grew up in a poor family in a village in Northern France. The poverty, racism, alcoholism and homophobia that he faced both within his family and in the closed society would later become the subjects of his literary work.

After the presentation of his book at the Athens Law School, where we met the author and talked with him about his work and what exactly to expect from his latest book, I read the specific chapter of his autobiography, as one actually could say that each book of Edouard Louis is a separate chapter of the same story.

The theme of the new novel concerns Eddie’s transformation into Edouard. It is yet another storytelling of his difficult childhood and adolescence defined by family and social disapproval, to the transition to the well-known writer of today. How did he manage to open his wings for a world that the society he grew up in and his parents couldn’t even imagine? A journey that filled him with dreams, introduced him to new worlds, cultivated anger and alienation towards the past and made him try with great perseverance to become the Edouard he had dreamed of, to change radically and manage to climb to a higher social class.

In this book, Edouard Louis took us on his journey of change, a very personal telling of a man’s story that was the most honest and courageous “thing” I have read in a while.

Plus one! Open Water, Caleb Azumah Nelson (2021)

Ares suggests
Classics For Life: An Ideal Little Library, Nuccio Ordine (2015)

The current book is not a new release (the first publication came in 2015) but was brought to my attention thanks to the Greek publishing house’s bazaar, which was held in Kypseli Municipal Market by “Agra” last June. In the same month, and specifically on 10 June 2023, its author, Nuccio Ordine, unfortunately passed away, at the age of 64. 

Professor of Italian literature at the University of Calabria, with many publications, he became widely popular thanks to his manifesto “The usefulness of the useless”, which was translated into more than 26 languages. Big fan of the classics, at this particular reading of the ideal library, he collects 50 brilliant fragments from his favourite authors, accompanied by his brief personal comments.   

Nuccio Ordine’s purpose is to invite the readers to immerse themselves into each author’s great work, by quoting some selected words of these universal masters.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, William Shakespeare, Πλάτων, Thomas Mann, Nazîm Hikmet, Stefan Zweig, Jorge Luis Borges, Rainer Maria Rilke, Charles Dickens, Miguel de Cervantes, Goethe, Jonathan Swift, Montesquieu, Honoré de Balzac, Gustave Flaubert, Κ.Π. Καβάφης, Italo Calvino, Fernando Pessoa are among many others.

Discover them!

Plus one! Retrospective, Juan Gabriel Vásquez (2020)

Eleftheria suggests
Να Βρω Ξανά του Νήματος την Άκρη, Λέων Ναρ (2022)

Leon Nar’s book, entitled “To Find Again the End Of the Thread” (in free translation, as there is no Εnglish title), was released last summer by Patakis Publications. 

From the first day that it was released, it wasn’t so easy to get it in physical stores. One afternoon, in a bookstore in the center of Athens, I found one of the last two copies, which were bought simultaneously!

The book’s title is one of Thanasis Papakonstantinou’s best-known lyrics, and it forms the outline of the songwriter’s poetic biography, as stated on the cover. Leon Nar, writer, columnist and professor of Greek literature, decided to join and lose himself in the deeply poetic world of Thanasis Papakonstantinou, with the artist actively participating, answering the questions put to him, and Akis Sakisloglou to preface the book.

Filled with lyrics, questions, the author’s thoughts, tangible elements of inspiration and conclusions, this book is divided into two parts, analyzing the social implications of the lyrics, but also the influence of folk songs and other cultures’ music, Western and Εastern, and how they reflect on his melodies.

It is a poetic and only biography attempt or – in other words –  an entry into the mysterious world of the artist, who unites opposed concepts, tells stories, real and imaginary in the same poetic language, and puts his listeners in a special world, cruel, unfair, with infinite beauty and love, worth getting lost in. And for the same reason, along with the pens of Leon Nar and Akis Sakisloglou, every page of this book deserves to be read by everyone.

Plus one! Keep the Aspidistra Flying, George Orwell (1936)