Guilty pleasure – Why I love reading crime novels

I have often found crime novels to be listed among book bloggers’ «guilty pleasures» and more often than not I have wondered why would someone who generally loves books feel guilty reading a good suspense novel. It’s true, crime, mystery or detective are often poorly written, superfluous and/or shallow. But on the other hand, there are some really good detective novels out there! And they would require a whole other blog post to talk about them.

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The thing is detective, mystery, crime novels and thrillers are just so many and many authors have even admitted of hiring ghostwriters for their books. But which literary genre does not have such examples of badly written, shallow prose which makes you cringe? All of them do, I am positive on that. So why feel guilty for reading -and loving- crime novels?  

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I really don’t and here are some reasons I read them with pleasure:

  • They are definitely better than bad television.
  • They have plots, plot twists, flash backs, interesting characters (usually) and (always, guaranteed) a lot of passion.
  • They do not focus much on romantic relationships which can cause anxiety to an already depressed person (such as love stories, tales of long lost lovers and despair) and deal instead with facts. In fact I think they are the perfect genre to read when recovering from emotional trauma or when going through a rough patch in your private or business life. Because:
  • They demand your attention in a cold, scientific way: find the killer, the motive, save the intended victim and so on and so forth. No drama for you, only for the heroes.
  • They can keep you hooked and don’t dwell much on pointless descriptions of scenery and the heroes’ inner thoughts and feelings – they somehow acknowledge that  this is not why we read them and it should be left to the grand masters of storytelling and the classics.
  • They are often exotic in a refreshing kind of way: they take you to places you might or might not have been as every other good fiction novel does. (I have come to know all about Stockholm archipelago with all these scandi thrillers I’ve read lately)

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So where I’m going with this is:  there are badly written and beautifully written books in all literary genres. 
Just choose your poison wisely :)

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Do you agree or do you consider crime fiction a lesser kind of literature?

Βιβλία για το νησί! Books to take on vacation :)

Έτοιμη (από καιρό) για Χάλκη όπου θα πάω (fingers double crossed) σε μία εβδομάδα!

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Πρέπει να οργανωθώ όμως για να διαλέξω με προσοχή ποια και πόσα βιβλία θα πάρω μαζί μου για να μη βρεθώ χωρίς βιβλίο την ώρα που θα βρέχω τα ποδαράκια μου στα Κάνια ή θα αγναντεύω το Αιγαίο και τη Ρόδο απέναντι από το μπαλκόνι μου πίνοντας το μοχιτάκι που θα έχουμε φτιάξει στο δωμάτιο (ε, αγάπη μου;) :) Το καλό είναι ότι με το reader -και με το κινητό, ναι έχω φτάσει σε αυτό το σημείο εθισμού!- μπορώ να πάρω πάρα πολλά μαζί μου αλλά πρέπει να προσέξω να τα κατεβάσω πριν φύγω, στο καλό μου wi-fi γιατί αλλιώς μπορεί να φτάσω εκεί και να πρέπει να πληρώσω για να κατεβάσω τα δεδομένα (not that desperate! or maybe I am!).

assets_LARGE_t_942_16932781_type13031Αλλά θα πάρω και μερικά hardcover μαζί μου γιατί δεν υπάρχει τίποτα καλύτερο από το να γυρνάς τη σελίδα στο ρυθμό του φλιτς φλιτς του κύματος. Και το τάμπλετ δε βολεύει καθόλου μα καθόλου στον ήλιο! Για πείτε λοιπόν; τι θα μου προτείνατε να πάρω μαζί για 3 μέρες; Έχω ήδη το Αλεξανδρινό Κουαρτέτο αλλά είναι πολύ βαρύ (κυριολεκτικά) για παραλία!

Eπειδή έχω χαθεί με τις λίστες «καλοκαιρινά αναγνώσμα» και «ευπώλητα του καλοκαιριού» νομίζω ότι εμπιστευομαι πολύ περισσότερο εσάς για τις καλοκαιρινές μου αναγνώσεις! Ευχαριστώ!!!!

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As I’m ready to leave for Halki in a week’s time, I have to start organizing which books I’m taking with me as I don’t want to find myself there without a good book to take with me at the beach, or read at the balcony sipping my home made mojito (big plans for this holiday).

And this is where I need you!!!! Please make some suggestions as I’m lost in the lists everybody seems to be posting these days. I trust you more, my beloved book bloggers and readers!

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I need a travel break! A roundup of some awesome travel blogs!

Maybe you’re going on vacation this year, maybe not. The summer evenings, however, will always be there with you, and it doesn’t matter if you are on your balcony with a home-made margarita, or on a beach with the sounds of the waves and lounge music.  (OK maybe it does but lets pretend it doesn’t! I know that if I want to keep sane I have to!)

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Summer evenings and warm nights are here to stay (for a month, at least) and we should all make the most of them, turn the TV sound down, have our friends over, enjoy a book or two and forget for a while all  about this dreadful mess. I really want to do this as I’m in desperate need for a getaway.

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So you can browse (for as long as we still have wi-fi) some awesome travel blogs and die from wanderlust! Check out Girl vs Globe’s Summer plans, read about travel blogging from fabulous Adventurous Miriam , check out some ticket deals with Kristin from Be my travel muse or think of what you would like to tell to your children about travel and different cultures with Stephanie Be from Travel Break or follow Alex in Wonderland for beautiful destination ideas or read Darling Escapes’ tips for Meeting people in new cities.

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Or you can also read some really interesting books and articles from A year of reading the world!

Book of the weekend

I’ve read 3 Lars Kepler novels and I have to say The Fire Witness is by far my favorite!

Take it on a plane with you and you will not lift your head once (OK maybe for refreshments)!

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Take it on the beach and I guarantee you will be Brown Sugar Babe by afternoon (remember to change sides often)!

Begin it at home and be prepared to stay fixed on the couch until you finish it (make sure you’ve done your grocery shopping before beginning)!

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The past holds the secrets to the future

Flora Hansen calls herself a medium and makes a living by pretending to commune with the dead. But after a gruesome murder at a rural home for wayward girls, Hansen begins to suffer visions that are all too real. She calls the police, claiming to have seen a ghost, but only one detective puts aside his skepticism long enough to listen: Joona Linna.

Linna has spent more time at the scene of the crime than any other detective would. The case seems obvious on the face of it: One of the girls at the home escaped in the middle of the night, leaving behind a bloody bed with a hammer under the pillow. But why does Hansen insist that the murder instrument was a stone, not a hammer? And what’s the story behind the dark red grain of sand, almost like a splinter from a ruby, stuck beneath the dead girl’s fingernail? As Linna refuses to accept easy answers, his search leads him into darker, more violent territory, and finally to a shocking confrontation with a figure from his past.

Joona Linna is a great detective, although a controversial figure, very clever and intuitive and the plot is so well crafted that doesn’t leave you hanging and waiting for the detective to explain what he has discovered; it is like you are learning and thinking things at the same time with him, therefore forming your own theories and testing them along with Joona. A really good crime series. Have you read any Joona Linna mysteries by Lars Kepler? What did you think? In Greek it has been publishes by Patakis publications.

5 + 1 Summer Things I love in 2015

Recession-friendly beachy things I guiltlessly love this summer!

Because they are simple everyday things that make me forget the nationwide stress, the economic crisis, the VAT increases, if only for a while.

1. My sunscreen (s) ! Scared of wrinkles, freckles, discolourments – guilty! If there were a higher than 50 SPF filter I’d wear it! I’ve tried this Vichy one but can’t say I’m 100% happy with it. A little on the heavy side for my skin I’d say. The Laroche-Pochay I had last year had great texture but I ended up with a few more freckles so bye-bye Laroche sunscreen (I <3 their other products, though).

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2. Happy print swimsuit: who needs the perfect body when you have the most fun, uplifting, sexy bikini which makes you -and others- smile? Not me, apparently :P

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3. Books books and more books. In my reader, my mobile and in my bag I carry them with me 24/7.

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4. My new obsession: my sketch pad! Yes, when I wrote in my birthday post Death and Taxes and my Birthday that I’d like to learn something new this year I meant it! I’ve purchased a 1,5 euro aquarelle block, a 6B soft pencil and an eraser and…. I enrolled in a Comics Crash Course (fingers crossed I’ll sit through all the tutorials) which is real fun because they send you the class video and you can take it whenever you like, with your coffee or with your daquiri, anytime!

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Art-Classes-Fall-2012-Main-Landing-Page25. My boho summer scarf! Doubles as beach dress, evening scarf/pashmina, head turban, beach pillow! Not a bad deal :P From our friends’ shop Islands Jewellery!

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6. Summer Eating! OK here’s something I enjoy all year long but in summer there are so many fresh healthy and delicious things to try!!!!!!!

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And in summer it is so much easier to have friends over for dinner.

Sometimes that’s the only therapy you need!!!

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And you? What are your favorite summer / beach-y things ? I’d love to know!!

We love Greek islands!!! (esp. the Dodecanese) :)

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Μπορεί να βρισκόμαστε σε ύφεση και τα εισιτήρια να εξακολουθούν να είναι πανάκριβα αν δε θες να ταξιδέψεις αποκλειστικά μεταξύ Αθήνας και Θεσσαλονίκης, αλλά τα ελληνικά νησιά είναι και θα είναι πάντα ο παράδεισος που ονειρευόμαστε!!!

Σε συνεργασία με τη Dodekanisos Seaways, τη ναυτιλιακή εταιρεία που δραστηριοποιείται εδώ και χρόνια στη δωδεκανησιακή ακτοπλοΐα εκδίδουμε για 5η (!!!) συνεχή χρονιά τον οδηγό προορισμών για τα αγαπημένα μας Δωδεκάνησα. Η μεγαλύτερη δυσκολία ήταν να καταφέρουμε να αποδώσουμε με τα κείμενα και τις φωτογραφίες τη μοναδική ομορφιά των  νησιών μας και να μεταδώσουμε στον επισκέπτη και αναγνώστη την αγάπη μας γι’ αυτό τον τόπο που μπορεί να είναι «ευλογημένος» από τη φύση αλλά είναι συχνά παραμελημένος από τον ανθρώπινο παράγοντα.

η απόλαυση είναι διπλή όταν βλέπεις τη δουλειά σου να γίνεται κάτι όμορφο και ταυτόχρονα χρηστικό, μια δουλειά που αναδεικνύει την υπέροχη ιδιαίτερη πατρίδα μας και βοηθάει τον επισκέπτη να τη γνωρίσει και να αγαπήσει κάθε βράχο, λιμάνι και χωριουδάκι της!

Ίσως φέτος το μόνο που θα καταφέρουμε να είναι να τον ξεφυλλίσουμε και να ταξιδέψουμε νοερά, το σίγουρο όμως είναι ότι θα θαυμάσουμε τη μοναδική ομορφιά και την ξεχωριστή μαγεία του κάθε νησιού:

από τη μοναδική αρχιτεκτονική επιβλητικότητα της Σύμης στο απέραντο γαλάζιο της Χάλκης, το κόκκινο της πέτρας και του ηφαστείου της Νισύρου, την ιστορία της Κω, την άγρια φύση της Καλύμνου, τη γραφική κατάνυξη της Πάτμου, το πράσινο και τα αρώματα της Τήλου, τη μοναδική απλότητα της Λέρου και την ανόθευτη ομορφιά των Αρκιών, των Λειψών και του Αγαθονησίου, τα νησιά μας είναι η περιουσία μας, η παράδοση και η κληρονομιά μας. Ας τα φροντίσουμε και ας τα αναδείξουμε όπως τους αξίζει!!!

Data we are ashamed of

Kυριακή πρωί, καφές και ίντερνετς [sic] είναι μια μικρή απόλαυση της ζωής. Δυστυχώς όχι για όλους: εκτός από το facebook, το lifestyle και τις ωραίες εικόνες για να ταξιδεύει το μυαλό, το ίντερνετ είναι η σπουδαιότερη πηγή πληροφόρησης σήμερα καθώς μας δίνει πρόσβαση σε πληροφορίες τις οποίες δύσκολα επικοινωνουν τα κλασικά κανάλια ενημέρωσης.

Διαβάζοντας λοιπόν για το πόσο αυξάνονται τα περιστατικά βίας σε περιόδους κοινωνικών και πολιτικών αναταραχών βρέθηκα να προσπαθώ να καταλάβω νούμερα και στατιστικές. Μέχρι που εντόπισα ένα εγχειρίδιο με πολύ απλούς [και σοκαριστικούς αν σκεφτεί κανείς τα μεγέθη] πίνακες   και infographics σχετικά με τους κινδυνους και τις συνθήκες ζωής γυναικών και ανηλίκων και τη βελτίωση της ζωής τους από το ινστιτούτο Guttmacher.

Designed to provide and contextualize a wealth of data on adolescent sexual health and rights in 30 countries, as well as provide guidance on how to apply the data to advocacy, education and service efforts. The guide was designed to be a resource for youth advocates, sexuality educators and service providers as well as others working to advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people around the world.

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Death and taxes and my birthday!

«Two things are certain in life – death and taxes»

And very few things in life are both free and make your happy: D R E A M S is one of them. Inspired by Girl vs Globe‘s post on her bucket list and my birthday being tomorrow (omg I know!!!! I’m so depressed!!!) I decided to make a post about things I would love to do this year and promise myself to do at least some of them!!!!

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1. Go on a trip! Walk on a cobblestone alley in Italy, Amsterdam, Frankfurt or anywhere really! Just to breath some different air, see some new things, forget about my work related stress, drink some wine and just relax!!!

2. Learn something new! I’ve always been a creative freak (not always successfully :P ) but I want to learn how to do something which will not only fulfill my creative streak but might lead to new things. Set up an indie boutique in London, maybe?

3. Live with less! It is not that difficult and I find it very satisfying to get rid of impulse buying and stocking up things I already have and never will use/wear. It makes you feel so light!


4. Keep up my good reading pace! Since this spring I have managed to find a few books I really liked and spent some beautiful relaxing afternoons and evenings (often late nights) reading, sipping my gin n’ tonics or lounging on my balcony (the few days when the wind allowed, in any case). This is simple and true happiness.

As you might have read in a previous post I discovered Forensic Archaeologist Ruth Galloway by Elly Griffiths and I loved her stories! I’d definitely recommend her to crime/mystery lovers!

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5. Restart my Phd or take a new course – MA in Children’s Lit., BA in Pre-school education. Things that will keep me motivated and will perhaps open up new opportunities for the future.


6. Keep fighting for my translation business, looking for new ideas, new venues, new projects to feel passionate about. So much of our lives are about our job, day and night, when we’re present at the office and when we’re not so I’ll try my best to make it fulfilling and interesting. Never a dull day #i’dpromiseifIcould !

7. Make a difference. As I read of all those wonderful superwomen out there I really want to do something to help people around me, work for my community, mentor, write helpful articles or do actual work for those in need. Difficult times are ahead us, that is for sure.

8. Be in love! No need to say much about that, do I? :)


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These might not be all but they are at least a few things that would make me smile, sleep well at night and enjoy my little time on this beautiful and unforgiving world. 

What about you? What about your dreams, wishes and aspirations? Do you get all hopeful on birthdays or depressed and sad? 

Book of the weekend #1

A book I loved this weekend full of news, referendum updates and politics.

Silent Voices by Ann Cleeves. I really like Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope and I enjoyed this more than Cleeves’ Shetland series.

Dysfunctional low personal self-esteem but very efficient professionally detective, interesting characters, a decent plot and a nice setting.

Add a relaxing Sunday morning, a freddo cappucino, an ice-cream treat from my <3 and you get the picture.

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When DI Vera Stanhope finds the body of a woman in the sauna room of her local gym, she wonders briefly if, for once in her life, she’s uncovered a simple death from natural causes. But a closer inspection reveals ligature marks around the victim’s throat – death is never that simple.

Doing what she does best, Vera pulls her team together and sets them interviewing staff and those connected to the victim, while she and colleague, Sergeant Joe Ashworth, work to find a motive. While Joe struggles to reconcile his home life with the demands made on him by the job, Vera revels being back in charge of an investigation again. Death has never made her feel so alive.

And when they discover that the victim had worked in social services, and had been involved in a shocking case involving a young child, then it appears obvious that the two are somehow connected. Though things are never as they seem…

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BE A GOOD HUMAN Book Tag

One of the most interesting book tags lately, it calls for books that have changed our view of the world and ourselves and helped us understand cultures, beliefs, and feelings of people very far away or sometimes very close to us. One of these for me has been a book I read in my English lessons and which I recently decided to re-visit, along with a good friend of mine: To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee for racism, racial as well as social and innocence lost. 51grMGCKivL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ download (14) dfaf The help is another powerful book on racism, which deals with the inner workings of a household in Jackson, Missisipi featuring extraordinary women with determination to start a movement of their own. 4667024 All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque For the absurdness and cruelty of war

«This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped (its) shells, were destroyed by the war.»

9780812985535_p0_v1_s260x420 all-quiet And a Greek one, which I really think everyone should read once in their life: Mission Box, by Aris Alexandrou  article_1242722318 A dangerous mission of transporting a Box from City A to City B during the Greek Civil war ends in a single survivor, the narrator, jailed and sent to a secret trial. A story of lies, diplomacy and dirty games and above all, the utter futility of wars and slaughter. A book that will rock your faith in authorities and and institutions. The book is also available in English and French. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, a modern classic book on the brutal Nazi regime and the Holocaust, about hate and the tragic price the innocent pay for being pawns in the games of others. boy-in-the-striped-pyjamas1 Bruno, an 8-year old boy moves with his family in the «countryside» befriends a boy his own age, a prisoner in the nearby camp. The two boys know nothing of the situation and Bruno thinks the Bruno thinks that the striped uniforms that the other prisoners wear are pyjamas.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

TreeGrowsInBrooklyn For friendship and the coming of age. Some might say it is outdated but the issues it discusses can easily relate to the modern day. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time 51Js6G5I9PL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow. Although the hero’s symptoms point to autism and Asperger’s, this is not a book about Asperger’s….if anything it’s a novel about difference, about being an outsider, about seeing the world in a surprising and revealing way. I could name many others, such as The Lord of the flies by William Golding, or The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, Fahreneit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and I couldn’t leave out a personal favorite 

Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?

DoAndroidsDream I’d like to thank Eleni from All over the place for tagging me in this series and reminding me of my strong belief that books can and will change the way people see life and the world in general.