Thursday, 18 July 2013

Book review: Sunlight in the wine

Sunlight in the WineSunlight in the Wine by Robert Leigh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this book when on holiday in Andros last year. A summer later, having just come back from Greece (and feeling a bit homesick already), this was just the perfect reading for me. An Englishman's personal account about life in a village up the valley (probably Menites?), which is full of interesting observations about Greek island life and its colorful characters. I recognized many of the villager 'types' from my own experience, I brought back to mind some of the beautiful scenery of wind-ridden Andros, with its fertile inland (due to the many streams of course), beautiful captain's houses and nice beaches.

This having being written by an Englishman, I also loved the points about the differences in mentality between the two peoples, something I also get to experience daily- being married to an Englishman myself!
For example, this: "I should have been used to them by now but I still finished exasperated beyond measure sometimes by what I saw as lack of reason and proportion in the way they (i.e.Greeks)talked about things. One the other hand, I had lived in England long enough to know that what is rational language there reflects more of a desire for order than anything else and often makes people strangers to each other".
Spot on on both points (and I am sure my husband must feel like that sometimes too!).

A few examples of good descriptive writing scattered throughout contribute to the level of satisfaction, even when the topic of conversation did not interest me as much (the priests' chapter).

All in all, nice personal account, which reminded me how much I love Andros. I hope to be back soon!

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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Recent read: Highway and byways

Hauptweg Und Nebenwege: Erinnerungen Eines KunstsammlersHauptweg Und Nebenwege: Erinnerungen Eines Kunstsammlers by Heinz Berggruen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An unexpectedly enjoyable read, which I now consider a must literary supplement for anyone who is even remotely interested in modern art.
I of course happened to be reading the English translation as I don't speak German! And that one, by the Pilkington Press, is of exceptionally high printing quality, with nice and heavy glossy paper and excellent prints of the artworks, something that is rare to come by these days.
Berggruen's life memoirs are full of anecdotes from his brush with some of the most famous artists of the 20th century, incl. Picasso, Klee, Rivera, Kahlo, Matisse, Tzara, Man Ray, even Simone Signoret (so not just painters!).
As an art dealer and avid collector of Picasso especially, he has an undiluted and genuine enthusiasm for modern art, which he manages to convey to the reader.
And he seems like a genuinely likeable and down to earth character, who enjoys the artistic creation for its own sake, and invites us into his world and his musee imaginaire (as he calls his art collection) in the most compelling of ways.

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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Alcohol is free (we wish!)

This so Greek it makes me smile. Some hints of Balkan, some hints of the Mediterranean, a love of life and dance and alcohol! The bagmalamdaki rocks, and Agathonas' moustache too! Good job guys!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

The Reason of my Hiatus: Anna Sophia

She is cute, adorable, simply amazing. Born on the 21st of March, Alex's younger sister has brought us immense joy and is keeping us really busy. If you also take into account that Alex is 17 months old and a very cheeky and inquisitive toddler, (making me and Colin run after him all day long... Life in this household is no longer quiet or boring (well, it never was boring really!). And the best times are yet to come.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

I read a book

Φιλμ νουάρΦιλμ νουάρ by Dimitris Stefanakis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Αδύναμη η δομή, μια και ο Στεφανάκης δεν μπορεί να αποφασίσει τι θέλει να γράψει: ιστορική βιογραφία ή λογοτεχνικό μυθιστόρημα. Η παράλληλη αφήγηση δεν πείθει για την σκοπιμότητά της, και δεν προσφέρει απολύτως τίποτα στην εξέλιξη της δράσης, οι διάλογοι πολλές φορές ηχούν ξύλινοι και "κατευθυνόμενοι" στην προσπάθεια του Στεφανάκη να γράψει τελικά ένα μυθιστόρημα. Στα συν, η αψογη χρήση της ελληνικής γλώσσας, η εις βάθος έρευνα που φαίνεται ότι έχει κάνει ο συγγραφέας, και το φως στην ενδιαφέρουσα και ξεχασμένη προσωπικότητα του Ζαχάροφ. Ομως όλα αυτά θα είχαν βρει καλύτερη έκφραση σε μία ιστορική βιογραφία, που είναι αυτό που τελικά θα ήθελα να διαβάσω. Ο τίτλος επίσης, "πιασάρικος' μεν, άσχετος του περιεχομένου δε.

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