CULTURE

Enjoy some lazy summer reading with editions published this year

Having time to read is one of the summer’s many pleasures. Kathimerini English Edition looked for new books that suit the season and found four for children, a cookery book and crime novel. Have you ever wondered what happened after Little Red Riding Hood escaped from the wolf? Christos Boulotis takes up the story a generation later in «Oi dodeka kokkinoskoufitses» (Twelve Little Red Riding Hoods), published by Papadopoulos. Little Red Riding Hood has given birth to six sets of female twins, who grow up enchanted by their mother’s heroic past. Planning to act out their fantasy in a forest of their own making, they order a clockwork wolf from an itinerant Chinese peddler. Then they meet a real wolf, who has more traditional notions about where the story should go. Slightly surreal The slightly surreal illustrations by Vassilis Papatsarouchas are a perfect match to this quirky sequel. Ingenious angles highlight the contrasting jaw-lines of the two wolves – a jagged row of fangs for the real one, a series of screws and bolts for his clockwork counterpart – and offer an aerial view of the real wolf as he prepares to enmesh the Red Riding Hoods. Makis Tsitas has a special feeling for the relationship between parents and children which shines out of his latest picture book «Vres poios eimai» (Guess Who I am) from Ellinika Grammata. Petros rings his father every day, making him guess who’s calling. Each guess is pictured – a baby elephant, a talkative parrot, a lazy grasshopper, a rowdy street musician, an extraterrestrial – all of whom, curiously, have the same curly brown hair. Only when his father finally guesses right: «a terrible beast from the jungle,» can he go and collect his young son with the curly brown hair saying: «Now my scary beast, it’s time for bed.» Mark Weinstein’s humorous illustrations play up the connections between Petros’s playthings and his imaginary characters. A handsome new volume by Maria Angelidou «Elliniki mythologia: Apo tous theous stous anthropous» (Greek Myths: From Gods to Men), from Papadopoulos retells these timeless tales in a captivating fashion. Dreamy, atmospheric illustrations by Svetlin Vasilev complement the evocative prose. From the cheeky infant Hermes nestled at the foot of a tree, making a lyre for Apollo, to Atalantis observing her quarry, Athena and Arachne competing to weave the best, Europa and the bull, or Herakles locked in combat with the fearsome Lernaean Hydra – his pictures invite us into a world both familar and strange, where archetypal passions and desires play out between gods and men. «O polemos tis hamenis pantoflas» (The Battle of the Lost Slipper) is the latest in Eugene Trivizas’s antiwar series published by Minoas. The illustrations are by Stephen West. The King of Svouristan’s slipper is missing, a fancy slipper in deep red velvet decorated with ivory flowers and a large red ruby, lace bows and the royal coat of arms embroidered in precious thread. A great search proves fruitless and the king is persuaded by the wily General Taratatzoum to declare war on the people of Trimbouflavia, who the general claims are plotting against the kingdom. The general’s somewhat convoluted war plans encounter obstacles from an unexpected direction. The army bugler is unavailable and Patatias Patatrak, his putative replacement, seems incapable of remembering the difference between advance and retreat. But there’s a noble motive behind the young man’s feigned incompetence and war is avoided, the slipper found, the bloodthirsty general demoted to a slipper hunter, and the bugler’s talents employed in helping the king keep his waistline. It’s a classic Trivizas recipe, lots of fun wrapped round a serious message. KItchen fun Ilias Mamalakis brings the same verve to his cookery books that has won him a faithful following for his television programs. His new book, «Elate stin kouzina mou» (Come Into My Kitchen), published by Modern Times, offers readers a ringside seat as Mamalakis tries out new dishes, puts unusual spins on old favorites, and draws inspiration from the flavors encountered on his travels, be that at a feast in Morocco or a simple lunch cooked by Indian workers at a friend’s place on Myconos. Mamalakis has an appealing way of sharing his experiments, even the failed ones, with his readers. He talks about his efforts to create certain effect and offers tips for alternatives. Trying to balance the slight bitterness of endive, he experimented with chicken livers and toast before finding the right complement with oyster mushrooms. His approach is encouraging to amateurs who want to branch out – there’s nothing cut and dried here, nothing subject to unchanging rules. He puts a Greek spin on standard recipes, producing dishes like salmon in tsipouro and sea bass on a pillow of lentils, while remaking Greek favorites. For example, we all love stuffed tomatoes, he says, but it’s really the stuffing we like, so here’s how to make them without the tomatoes. His steamed mussels with coriander and saffron is Mamalakis’s take on the classic moules marinieres, but some dishes are his own. For a very different desert, try the prunes soaked in green tea, served with syrup of espresso coffee and vanilla ice cream. Crime Holidays wouldn’t be holidays without at least one crime novel in your luggage, and «Kinigos fantasmaton» (Ghost Hunter) by Athina Kakouri offers intrigue and entertainment in equal measures. First published by Pleias in 1974 and reissued by Hestia this year, the story has lost none of its appeal. Kakouri deftly crafts a complex plot that is driven forward by the characters’ passions and rivalries. It’s summer in Corfu, and the petty conflicts among an odd collection of neighbors intensify to the danger point when one family calls in a ghost hunter to investigate strange occurrences in his villa. When the investigator promptly offends most of the group, his murder the following day comes as a not particularly unwelcome surprise to all but the culprit, whose identity remains a satisfying mystery till the very last page.