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15 September 2006

Books Again on Wednesday

Bookshops, Catchers, Songlines, and The Cruel Sea

Sometimes I wonder why I go to Papasotiriou book shops at all when I look for english books. All they have is Dan Brown style fast food. "Politia" at Akadimias has a much better section, much more serious. They have stacks of e.g. John Steinbeck and Bukowski, where Papasotiriou has a single token Bukowski. So I went there next on Wednesday after work...

Before anyone chimes in on the topic of english language book shops in Athens, don't get me started on Eleftheroudakis and their one floor of english books. They are just a mess, as if a computer was doing the ordering at random, not a person. Which can not be, because a computer couldn't select the most boring books with such a certainty.

One book Politia didn't have was "Catcher in the Rye", which I had erroneously looked for under John Steinbeck while admiring the large display of his books, but which is of course by J.D.Salinger. My apologies to these authors, but the book isn't there under Salinger either. Which made me think. So short after the 5 year anniversary of the american "Reichstagsbrand" 9/11, given the current terrorism craze, the name of that book springing to mind had reminded me of the movie "Conspiracy Theory", in which Mel Gibson plays a psyched out political killer with a compulsion to buy the book. The reported background is that the murderer of John Lennon and the guy who attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan both seem to have been obsessed with the book. I amused myself in believing that the absence of the book was a political statement or a kind of censorship. More likely it just wasn't in stock.

What I bought in the end are two wildly differing books. One is what we call in German a "Schmöker", a big, fat, easy book without much depth, but written good enough to keep reading for a weekend (or - if you are slower - for a vacation). I could have gotten some of them at the Papasotiriou fast food counter, but I got a weird book written 1948-50 about the war in the atlantic ("The Cruel Sea", by Nicholas Monsarrat). Like all books about war it is essentially dumb and bad. I'm somehow sorry for having bought it, to my defense I might only say that there was no cyberpunk science fiction to be had and I needed something to read.

The other one is Bruce Chatwin's "Songlines". Now this could be considered literature. I've read some of Chatwin's short stories and somehow liked them. I guess this book will be demanding more attention to read and maybe comprehend, but in the end will be more rewarding too. There is a special reason I bought Chatwin's book, of which I likely will tell in another post (leaving you with a slight weblog cliff-hanger here).

See also: The list of all "my" English language book shops in Athens.

Posted by betabug at 01:02 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (1)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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Re: Books Again on Wednesday

Why not try reading Four Walls in English, by Greek author Vangelis Hatziyannidid which most of the English sections of bookshops in Athens have - it's an interesting take on Greece and well translated by Anne Marie Stanton-Ife, who lives in Athens....


Posted by: Catheryn Kilgarriff at November 03,2006 10:52
Re: Books Again on Wednesday

thank you for the recommendation! I will certainly have a look at it. Maybe I could even buy both the Greek original and the English translation to improve my Greek language skills.

Posted by: betabug at November 03,2006 11:19
Bookcrossing in Athens

Looking for good books (in English) in Athens can be quite a challenge sometimes, especially if you're looking for a non-bestseller title.

I joined and this has been very rewarding.

You can view my virtual bookshelf there - I have plenty of titles 'available.' At the site you can join in the Greek Forum and post a query for a specific title you are looking for. And you can always "Go Hunting" Bookcrossing-style!

Posted by: okyrhoe at December 05,2006 17:55
You can trackback to:
Books Hunted, 1001 Books Listed

Looking through a list of Zwiki example sites I came across one very nice
wiki called thinkubator.
In its refreshing but not very wikilike pages I found a reference to a
book with a list of 1001 books one should read, complete with a list of
the authors and titles. A long count showed me that I have read 60 of
them and am into number 61 now... because as I happened to have visited
a friend in Kolonaki and was slowly going back to the bus station, I
stumbled upon a bookshop that has some english books. I went in to
discover a small selection, but amongst them I found 3 books that I
bought. So a big selection isn't really everything. What did I get?

Read the linking post here: ch-athens at November 15,2006 23:23