An adventure fit for a novel in Santorini and the best summer reading
Hidden among the alleys of Oia, on the island of Santorini, a one-of-a-kind bookshop recommends the best summer reading.
When Craig Walzer and Oliver Wise met in Santorini on a night in 2002, they realized that there was no bookshop on the island. Both loved to read, so they decided to open one, which they called Atlantis Books. The island’s volcanic cliffs, its white architecture and the impressive views of the Aegean Sea became irresistible for this pair of young students from the United States. Their idea was to create something similar to Shakespeare and Company in Paris, the famous bookshop and refuge for travellers.
Almost 15 years later, this little shop heads the list of National Geographic’s world’s best bookstores. There’s no one better than Craig, one of the founders, to recommend what titles we should pack in our bag for our holiday:
1 For having fun in silence: The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis and Can’t and Won’t
These two works, both by the U.S. author, are some of the most revolutionary short story books in recent years. Craig says one of the advantages for travellers is that Lydia Davis, who is possibly the best English-language writer alive, has one short story that is only 16-words long, so it won’t weigh you down:
Title: “Her birthday”
105 years of age:
She wouldn’t be alive today
Even if she hadn’t died.
2 For summertime adventures: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.
It’s the first novel by the Ghanaian-born author. She was only 25 when she wrote this story of two sisters who leave Africa’s Gold Coast to Mississippi and Harlem and whose paths are destined to part. Generation after generation, it’s a story that will follow you wherever you go.
3 To understand myths: House of Names by Colm Tóibin.
The Irish author immerses himself in Greek history and mythology, bringing new life to the classic stories of Electra and Orestes, fictional characters who were the children of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae. With tenderness, but also cruelty, Tóibin justifies the reputations of the two characters as true stars of their generation.
4 To not get irritated: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson
The founder of the Atlantis bookshop regrets acknowledging that this chronicle of flight from drugs is very relevant today. This “savage journey to the heart of the American dream” includes motorcycles, casinos and continuous references to Jefferson Airplane, the rock band that revolutionised the 1960s in the United States. It’s an intense book, pure adrenaline on every page.
5 For the first love: The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy.
This New York author wrote novels, biographies, plays and articles for The New York Times, Esquire and Vogue. Sally Jay Grace is charming, ingenious and infinitely entertaining. She captures the glamour and charm of 1950s Paris in this classic, a perfect book for your off-the-wall sister or to prepare yourself for the day that someone like this arrives in your own life.