What We Are Reading Today: The Selected Letters of Nikos Kazantzakis 

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Updated 12 June 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Selected Letters of Nikos Kazantzakis 

Edited and translated by Peter Bien 


The life of Nikos Kazantzakis—the author of Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ—was as colorful and eventful as his fiction. And nowhere is his life revealed more fully or surprisingly than in his letters. Edited and translated by Kazantzakis scholar Peter Bien, this is the most comprehensive selection of Kazantzakis’s letters in any language.

One of the most important Greek writers of the 20th century, Kazantzakis (1883–1957) participated in or witnessed some of the most extraordinary events of his times, including both world wars and the Spanish and Greek civil wars. 

As a foreign correspondent, an official in several Greek governments, and a political and artistic exile, he led a relentlessly nomadic existence, living in France, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Soviet Union, and England. He visited the Versailles Peace Conference, attended the 10th-anniversary celebration of the Bolshevik Revolution, interviewed Mussolini and Franco, and briefly served as a Greek Cabinet minister—all the while producing a stream of novels, poems, plays, travel writing, autobiography, and translations.

The letters collected here touch on almost every aspect of Kazantzakis’s rich and tumultuous life, and show the genius of a man who was deeply attuned to the artistic, intellectual, and political events of his times.

What We Are Reading Today: Big Friendship

Updated 11 July 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Big Friendship

Authors: Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman

A close friendship is one of the most influential and important relationships a human life can contain. But for all the rosy sentiments surrounding friendship, most people don’t talk much about what it really takes to stay close for the long haul.
Two friends, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, tell the story of their equally messy and life-affirming Big Friendship in this honest and hilarious book that chronicles their first decade in one another’s lives.
As the hosts of the hit podcast Call Your Girlfriend, they have become known for frank and intimate conversations. In this book, they bring that energy to their own friendship— its joys and its pitfalls.
“An inspiring and entertaining testament to the power of society’s most under-appreciated relationship, Big Friendship will invite you to think about how your own bonds are formed, challenged, and preserved,” said a review in goodreads.com.
“It is a call to value your friendships in all of their complexity. Actively choose them. And, sometimes, fight for them,” it added.