The last book story, “Why?”, ended on February 28th. That seems so long ago. But the eternal question, “Why?”, seemed answered as best I could, and I cut the week off there. It was no epiphany. More like a “gut check.”
So much has happened since then…
March 1st, Wednesday, Ernest drove us down to a house call in Bethesda. Why did this one stand out enough to get me on the road when there is so much backlogged in the Frederick warehouse?
Well, the house call was referred to me by a fellow bookseller in Maine. He made it sound luscious. And important. He linked me with the widow, and a visit was set as soon as they were amenable. It was such a beautiful day. February, not known for friendly weather, had been wonderful. This last day didn’t break the trend. We took the van down I 270 to the Beltway. We got off on River Road and headed toward DC. At the entrance to the high-end development, a gardener was putting in pansies.
February was like spring… March came in like a lamb.
The townhome was stunning in its contents. A bookseller’s dream.
These are just some of the books.
On closer inspection, the books were just great. Only a few home runs that jumped out at me.
“The slipcased Ansel Adams is usually signed,” I said. Indeed, it was.
“He studied under Adams in the 70s,” she replied.
The other 7 or 8 Adams were also signed.
I didn’t have time to inspect every book, but none of them “spoke” to me. The spines were mostly just very good books.
More intriguing was the other stuff.
“Wow! My son is getting admitted to the Supreme Court at the end of March. This would be a great gift,” thinking out loud.
It was overwhelming. And I was just here for the books. After going through several other rooms, I told her I would email my thoughts and an offer that day or the next.
Then Ernest and I backtracked and got off on the Shady Grove exit to visit the Gaithersburg Wonder Book. We needed to pull some books for a Books by the Foot subject order, and they needed their van swapped out. Their van was full of books purchased from the public. But most of all, I wanted to see how the expansion project turned.
The front room of the many-roomed store houses the sales counter as well as the “New Arrival” and “Special Finds” sections. The books on those shelves are the bestselling group in the whole shop. It was only four bookcases wide. Behind those 4 bookcases was the underperforming and cramped sports section. I had been pulling sports books some weeks earlier when the “bones” of the bookstore spoke to me.
“…If we removed the middle two bookcases and pulled out the remaining two a foot or so… we could move sports elsewhere in the store… the new arrival section would be nearly trebled!… sports wouldn’t suffer, as we could cull other poor performing categories to accommodate it elsewhere…” I envisioned a kind of portal that would invite, pull in customers to browse nearly three times as many “New Arrivals.”
The contractor created a masterpiece. He was able to relocate the 4 bookcases (2 pair back to back) elsewhere. The staff embraced the new architecture and executed the changes brilliantly.
My vision was achieved. It doesn’t always work that way.
‘Why hadn’t I thought of this before?’ I wondered.
Well, I guess the landscape just didn’t speak to me until it was ready to.
Anyway, the customers and the books should be thrilled. More and better titles to be rescued.
The next day, I met with Joey and Clark to go over the three stores’ sales figures in February.
HOME RUNS. Three of them! All three stores were up double digits from February 2022.
It doesn’t always work that way.
Well, I’d like credit for some of it. But somehow, the physical stores are continuing the renaissance they’ve been experiencing since the COVID closures of 2022.
Customers are rediscovering the joys of browsing that very rare species—the Used Bookstore.
And the staffs! How lucky can we be? All three stores and the warehouse are a joy to be in.
It doesn’t always work that way.
Friday was Employee Appreciation Day. Everyone got free t-shirts. We had pizza at the warehouse. One of the managers had put out appreciation cards a day or two before. Their purpose was for people to voluntarily and anonymously express their appreciation for coworkers. I wasn’t supposed to be included, but a few people stuffed the ballot box.
I wish I knew who they were.
I make plenty of mistakes, but if you have a great week at home plate—well, I’ll remember this hitting streak.
I was… humbled.
The widow emailed and accepted my offer. We set a date after my return. If I get permission, I’ll write more details if everything doesn’t fall through.
Sometimes it works that way.
On board a flight to Frankfort. Final destination is Athens.
Chalk another one off the list.
It is a 5 p.m. takeoff from Dulles.
It will be a long day.
Or is it two days?
Monday was a very strange day. I had been sure to check my Globus travel pack. I had marked the calendar long ago.
Greece. March 8.
So, all my recent planning had been that I had until March 8 to get caught up on things, so I could feel comfortable leaving the empire.
Well, it turns out my arrival is March 8. Departure was 5:19pm Tuesday, March 7.
Panic didn’t set in. But avoidance had to be abandoned. I went through the January statements and annotated it for myself and the accountants. Then I went through three months of the 4 credit cards we use.
Both are dreary tasks. Dentistry and accounting. Necessary but always painful and expensive.
I discovered some irregularities. There were numerous charges from the company we buy our new posters from. We have those flippable metal and plastic displays for new posters. I guess mostly kids buy them for their rooms. Pokemon. Star Wars. Marilyn Monroe, Marvel comics stuff…
(The plane turned left in Delaware. We are headed directly toward Manhattan. I like maps. The interactive maps on planes now are cool. We will soon be over Coney Island. But the sun is setting, and we are too high to see much. 7 hours and 38 minutes to Frankfort. We will head north and arc over the curvature of the earth and then back south to Germany. I kind of understand that a straight line is always the fastest route?)
Well, there were 4 or 5 charges from the poster company each month. Seemed pretty high. My son orders the posters. I wrote out the dates and the amounts and texted him a picture of the charges.
“That can’t be right,” he replied.
He called the poster company, and they said our account had gotten merged with someone else. They apologized and said it would be corrected. Turns out, the overcharges go back many months. “Somebody” is dodgy. If we were paying someone else’s bills and no one noticed—well, it was months…
Then another strange line item.
“What is this $11,000 charge?” I asked one of the office managers.
She checked into it.
“It is our credit card processor. Somebody was trying to defraud us in November. We had over 100,000 attempted purchases come in before we caught it. It was all in a matter of hours overnight. The next morning, we set up something to prevent it in the future. None of the charges went through, but we were charged 10 cents for each attempt. They said they will fix it, but only this time.”
No one had told me. I guess no one here suspected it would blow up into 5 figures a month afterward.
Crazy business. I wonder how else we are getting cheated?
(The plane is heading for southeastern Connecticut. A lifetime ago, I went to college in New London. It was a good school. Liberal Arts. I learned something about a lot of things. That has certainly helped in the book business. Science, history, literature… I even took horseback riding. My old friend had a birthday on March 3rd. I emailed greetings. The only person I keep in touch with from those days, and it is mostly just twice a year on our respective birthdays.)
So, by challenging the statements, I made about $25,000 today—or recouped it, I suppose.
I drove the statements over the accountants.
There is an odd pie-shaped piece of property on the warehouse grounds. It has served no function but to be mowed. When we were brainstorming the warehouse building project, we had to find a place for a drainage pond. If we used the building site, it would eat into the leasable space. Each square foot of the new buildings earns dollars. We were in the builder’s high-tech office in August 2020 (when my best friend, John, dropped dead—not COVID.) We were looking at plats and drawings blown up on a big screen in their conference room. I knew the land intimately. Since we bought it in 2013, I would bike or walk or sit and ruminate in many places. I stood up and pointed at the pie shaped plot. It was like an appendage, like an appendix, that serves no purpose. But it had a very narrow strip of land connecting it to the big building sites on my land directly north of the existing warehouse.
“What about this? This piece of land serves no purpose. Can the water drain from the new warehouses and end up here?”
Another piece of the puzzle fell into place.
Well, today, the excavators moved onto the pie-shaped piece of land. They brought in 4 or 5 machines. One giant machine, an excavator, began clamping scrub trees in its jaws and lifting them from the ground. Roots and all. I stood watching in amazement.
(Don’t be upset. These were all feral, and many were non-native trees. We have contracted to offset these scrub trees with two groves of native trees on lawns on the existing warehouse grounds. It is hugely expensive, but, hey, we won’t have to pay to mow the useless lawns anymore. And I am really a tree lover. The place where I live is a designated Tree Farm. I’m proud of the sign they sent.)
(We exited the continent somewhere south of Boston. Now, we are heading north toward the Maritimes.)
I remember the summer I spent with my brother Jim in Marblehead, Massachusetts. He had a little dark-red colonial clapboard house he shared with his partner Chrissie. She was a model—a Playboy model later that summer. It was a surreal summer. Hanging out with rock stars. Seatrain was recording an album there—The Marblehead Messenger—produced by George Martin—the “5th Beatle.” Seatrain was the first group he produced after the Fab Four. It turned out good, but not great. Maybe Seatrain will get discovered some day. They were a “concert group”—that is—all their gigs were hugely popular and always sold out. Their first Capital LP sold half a million copies. The Marblehead Messenger only sold a quarter million. That was a disappointment to everyone involved.
Odd… every few years, I get an email out of the blue from one of Jim’s old friends. I guess they find me from the blogs. If you do a Google search of my brother’s name… you sometimes end up with me.
This week he wrote:
…Earlier I referenced a book by Jim Rooney regarding a story that I imagine connects your brother to a Garth Brooks song, Friends in Low Places.
I went back through his book and can’t find the story, but did find it on a Wikipedia page about the song.
Regardless, Rooney probably knows the writer and could confirm my belief that the writer gave Jim an IOU for the lunch they described at the Tavern on the Row. If I ever reconnect with him, I’ll share the answer.
But as I recall Jim’s work chronology, in the late 80s he did put in lots of hours both working and socializing at the Tavern on the Row, so I absolutely see him behind the incident related in the “writing” section of the article below.
Thanks for the Seatrain link—I am planning on listening all the way through in the next few days.
I’ve been thinking about how fortunate you were to have Jim as a brother, given that it was a uniquely heady experience to just know that you were directly connected to so many legendary songs and artists of our times, and as they were hot. Wow!
On the Janis front, he told me once that she had toured with Seatrain so they knew each other, and the two of them were having a bite one night at some diner in Sausalito when conversation drifted into the Mercedes Benz song, and how she was stuck trying to figure out an arrangement. Jim just started slapping out the rhythm on the table, and going through the verses with her, and told her she didn’t need a band. He was a bit surprised when he heard the cut on the radio.
[Jim was very close with Janis. On one of his calls home, I was on a third extension, with Mom and Dad on the others. A woman came on an extension at Jim’s end. “Jimmie, where are you?! I need you!” She hung up. Jim said, “That’s Janis; I’ve got to go.” I was soon to learn about Big Brother and the Holding Company on the radio.]
And though Jim would share good anecdotes, he never name-dropped, so I probably never knew that he and Kristofferson knew each other.
But it may explain why the woman I was dating in 1983 who found me the apartment in Jim’s building told me she ran into Kristofferson in the alley by our dumpster, waiting for a ride, one afternoon when she was parking to come visit.
She said she looked at him like, “Are you…?” and he looked back at her with a “Yup” twinkle in his eye.
We always figured he had just been to see a publisher… maybe he’d been visiting inside our building instead.
Anyway, it’s special to have a good collection of quality insider memories, and Jim gave you a lot that will buoy you for life…
Jim never told me about the Mercedes Benz song.
It is evocative when the past returns via an unexpected source. We shared 6 or 8 emails reminiscing about my brother dead 20 years ago. I think the dialogue still has a ways to go. I was lucky with all 3 brothers, but Jimmie holds a special place. Long before he was a rock and roll writer, he was the closest to me in age. And he stayed “home” longer than Joe and Tony. Joe went to the Naval Academy. Tony to the University of Pennsylvania. Jimmie stayed local for a while and went to UB—the University of Buffalo. So, we hung out some when he wasn’t with his poet friends and girlfriends and revolutionary friends. I remember he talked Mom and Dad into taking us to see a Van Gogh exhibit at the Albright Knox Art Gallery. After, he led us to a tiny French Bistro—a hole in the wall. They advertised frog legs on a chalkboard out front. I drew the line at that! I was likely 10 at the time. I think it was about then that he tried to talk my dad into buying a Renault Dauphin—I suppose because it was the hip car of his crowd at the time. That didn’t get very far, either. Then things began to get revolutionary. People like Allen Ginsberg and Robert Creeley came to UB to… foment, I think.
At some point, UB got hold of everything in James Joyce’s final apartment. It was quite a collection. Jim was scholarly about that and actually gave a lecture about the Irish writer. He also had a little book published about the Irishman. I saw the book long, long ago in Buffalo, but not since. I can’t even find it on WorldCat. Maybe it was a very small print run. It would be wonderful to come across a copy.
Like I said, I was about 10. By then, big brother Joe was off to fly Sea Lion twin rotor helicopters for the Marines in Vietnam. Tony was taking a hard left turn at Penn. He gave up Pre Med. He started volunteering for Headstart. It was a very confusing time for everyone—especially an impressionable kid with siblings and parents who were becoming such opposites. There were dinner table debates—especially when all the brothers were home for holidays. At some point, Jimmie “marched” in Buffalo. The arguments got more heated. Jim used the family home at his convenience—when he needed food or laundry or couldn’t find anywhere else to crash. The house was only a few blocks from UB. He also brought some strange friends home—guys and gals.
I don’t know what caused the final blowup. I remember the yelling and rushing downstairs to see what was going on. The argument ended with Jim telling my dad, “F*** you!” My dad told him to leave. I had never heard the word before. I had no idea what it meant.
We are flying south over the Alps. Stunningly beautiful snow-capped mountains far as I can see from 30,000 feet up. The plane was late out of Frankfort. The plane was late arriving. The fully booking boarding was slow. Everything is facial recognition now. Then the wings needed to be de-iced. I’d never seen this before. Trucks with cranes atop them pull up to the wings. Two guys are in a high cockpit to run the crane and the high-powered hose at its tip. The liquid paints the wings a yellow green. I suppose it is so that there is no spot missed. It is about a 4-hour flight to Athens. I think by the time I get my luggage and find my transfer to the hotel, I will have been on the move for 24 hours.
I was reluctant to leave home. That seems to be the usual. This time, it was more stressful. The gardens are blooming like crazy.
That is less than ten percent of the blooming.
I hate to miss even a week of the Spring Show on the mountain. There’s till plenty to come. Daffodil season goes into May.
And the construction of the new warehouses is getting to interesting phases. The walls will start being lifted by the giant red crane. We finally got the FAA permit. I asked people to take pictures of the progress.
I hate to miss all these things. But the trip was booked months ago.
Last night, I guess now the night before last, after the contractors left, I walked over the ground in the pie-shaped piece of land. A hawk was perched atop a stump, calmly prying pieces of flesh off a pigeon.
Mt Suribachi—the old pile of dirt that was covered with scrub brush and a few trees had been flattened. All the groundhog battles fought (and lost) there are over. They likely fled across the street and into the woods beyond the vacant lot that has the “Will Build to Suit” sign. Tuesday morning, the contractors were hauling away the brush and firewood. I’d taken about 20 pieces of the old sycamore the big excavator pushed over after it had trenched the roots round the trunk. It was part of a fencerow long ago. There had been three when we moved in—all in a straight row that didn’t reflect any pasture border now. One was dead. I harvested the wood for that. The other two were dying. I lifted the smooth gray barked chunks of wood into the back of my pickup truck.
Damn, I’m going to miss so much!
During the layover, I used the laptop to find the hotel’s location. I think Athens will make sense. I’m looking forward to walking.
Hmm… spring and daffodils on the mountain and big machines doing big things on my warehouse property versus Greece. As usual, I’d rather multitask and do it all.
We are now over the Aegean. I spent some time transposing poems from paper to the laptop.
Back to last week…
We had an order for 4 gaylords of LPs. They end up looking like this.
There were around 3/4 ton of LPs in each gaylord—probably over 10,000 LPs in the order. They were ordered for concert venues. They will be shelved in the green rooms where performers hang out before the show. The idea is that the musicians can pull out records and entertain themselves before going on stage.
We do some strange recycling things.
Speaking of recycling—we somehow ended up with a set of the National Union Catalog. They used to call it the Green Wall. The books are huge—14 inches tall and a few inches thick. It was once an important tool for librarians and booksellers. Now, it is as obsolete as an encyclopedia. I haven’t been able to bring myself to pulp it. It has just sat collecting dust for years.
Then it occurred to me… they are the largest books we have a lot of copies of… what if we wrapped them in linen!
Designers might like these as accent pieces!
I stained one of the prototypes with tea. That would make the spine look “toned”—or aged by time and exposure.
So the weekend came, and my goal was to get all the current cartloads of books sorted. I’d be going away, so I wanted to put as many chores behind me as I could.
Man! I was motivated. I sped through cart after cart. There were some fun finds. There always are. But every once in a while, I find one that knocks my socks off.
‘It couldn’t be,’ I thought.
I opened one of them to the back—the colophon page.
Dove’s Press! One of thirteen copies in vellum! Embellished by hand throughout both volumes!
Dove’s Press books are almost as desirable as Kelmscotts. (If you’re not a bibliophile, you may not get what I’m talking about. But if you saw these in person, you see that they are works of art—printed works of art.)
My nephew wanted to bring me some stuff. He also wanted to refund me for the bogus Elvis check he had sold me. I told him we would work out a trade. The kid (“kid”—he is in his late 50s) is so excitable about the things he finds. I think he wants to impress his uncle. And he does—quite often. He was like the little brother I never had when I was growing up.
“No earlier than 4:30!” I texted him.
He snuck up behind me around 4. I jumped out of my skin.
“Goddamn it, Gerry!”
He has heard that plenty. His dad, my brother, swore like a Marine. He WAS a Marine. When his kids and I got a boat to spread his ashes in the Chesapeake off of the Naval Academy, one of us honored him by saying as we shook his ashes into the sea:
We all replied in kind, laughing. Joe would say that so often—especially when driving.
Gerry started chattering…
“Stop! We can chat later. Let’s see what you brought.”
“[… chatter… chatter…]”
Eventually, we went out to the parking lot, and he started pulling stuff out of his black pickup. It is one of those with two rows of seats.
“Fossils, Uncle Chucky!”
Box after box. A few thousand shark teeth, at least. He actually knew what he had.
“This is shark poop! If you slice it, it is very colorful—like onyx.”
I was impressed.
“Hippie blue jeans, Uncle Chucky!”
“I looked these up. The maker is famous. They are museum pieces. Worth a few thousand dollars…”
I haven’t had a chance to research the pants yet. (Researching pants! LOL… anything for a buck, Chuck.) There are “signed” with a kind of vernacular tag sewn on. I’ll let you know what I find out when I get around to it.
We went to New Market Vineyards after I wrote him a check. He gave me back the Elvis check.
“I don’t want it back.”
Elvis is now pinned to my office wall. You never know…
Then I had all day Sunday to get ready to go. At least, I thought I had. I could get some office stuff done and maybe even get into things I’d that had been on the back burners—for years… and years.
I was wrapping the final carts in the morning when, in my peripheral vision, a cart appeared from the distant stacks toward the back of the building. I knew Travis was working back there. We need to constantly empty shelves to make room for fresh stock. We use a pretty complex equation. Prices are lowered and lowered and lowered again until the books just stop selling regardless of anything we can do. Then we start salvaging the remaining books. This weekend, Travis was eliminating books from a category we rarely touch: old and antiquarian books. With modern sections, he will bring me a cart or two of books he thinks I need to see. Today, cart after cart was brought—I almost felt “snuck” up behind me. Every 10 minutes or so, another cart would appear. I was losing ground!
“How many more Travis?”
“Just a few, I think.”
I love sorting through books, but this “windfall” was poorly timed. I threw myself into the task. There were good finds.
“Why didn’t these early 20th century Brontes sell? Must’ve gotten lost in cyberspace somehow. I’ll give them another try.”
Sunday ended, and there would still be carts to work on Monday morning—Monday morning when I discovered I was leaving Frederick early Tuesday afternoon—NOT Wednesday.
Monday was a whirlwind, as was Tuesday morning. I had to leave for Dulles Airport about 1 pm. I think you know the rest of the trip until the Lufthansa flight landed at the Athens airport. There was a young man just outside the building holding a small sign with my name on it. His English was flawless. I was to learn later that English is mandatory in Greek schools. I was exhausted, but we chatted. I was his only passenger, so I felt obligated to be sociable.
“I will take you to your hotel the back way through the city. There are demonstrations downtown and streets are blocked… I recommend you don’t go downtown. There was a horrible train crash last week. 56 were killed. Mostly kids. The protesters are marching against government incompetence and responsibility. Some are calling it murder. Stay away. There will be a lot of pickpockets, but it will just be crazy—not dangerous. Unless you see people in black clothes and masked. Antifa. Stay away from them.”
The hotel, The Stanley, was a venerable old thing—a little run down at its heels—on Odisseos Street. Odisseos has a lot of derelict buildings on it. The time was about 2:30. They checked me in after a short wait. My room was… on the first floor—enough said. I unpacked and pulled out the envelope of Euros I’d brought with me. They were British pounds?! I hoped that was my worst oversight. I went down and asked at the desk where I could change dollars. I’m very old school. I don’t know how to use an ATM. I never had cause to learn. They offered to do it there, but the rate was dreadful. They told me there were some… downtown. The bellman had a tourist map. He circled the location of the hotel, and I headed out. Everything to see and do was downtown. I walked a few hundred yards toward a square that looked interesting on my map. When I turned the corner, I heard people shouting slogans on bullhorns. Across the square, I could see marchers—lots of them.
I skirted around the edges and headed toward a street that looked pretty commercial. The protesters went on forever. They were in groups like brigades. 50 to 200. At the front was the leader—a man or woman chanting through a bullhorn in the cadence of protest. It turns out each “brigade” was a union of some kind or another. Just behind the leader was a banner held by a few or a dozen. The banners were hand painted in bold—mostly red—letters. It was getting to be late afternoon, and small groups of people were walking away from the protesters. It appeared to be attrition. The people looked fine—not crazy—from teens to late middle age. I no longer felt in danger—at least not immediate. And I wanted Euros. So, I skirted along the edges—up on the sidewalks. Sometimes the groups were right behind one another. Other times there were large gaps. Some of the streets were littered with flyers.
“Ephemera!” I thought. “Live collectibles being trampled.”
I stepped into a gap between groups and bent to pick up some of the 4 by 7 inch sheets. I couldn’t read a word of it.
I found a place to get Euros.
“How many Euros do I get for $100?”
I wandered around the edges of the protests. The focus was parliament. I didn’t head in that direction. There were thousands of protesters. When a group broke off and headed down a new street, motorcycle police would appear and block traffic, so the protesters could pass.
I never saw any Antifa, but their symbol was spray painted on walls here and there. Graffiti is everywhere in Athens. I’ve never been in a city that has such a public counterculture.
I wonder what this storefront is for? I haven’t seen a hammer and sickle on display for many years.
Eventually, I headed back to the hotel. They have a bar on the top floor with a view of the Acropolis.
I ordered a Mythos beer and sat out on the roof. The sun was setting.
The name of the bar is Cloud 9. It is aptly named because it is on the 9th floor.
It is also aptly named because I felt like I was in heaven.
I’ve always wanted to see the Parthenon.
You don’t realize from the pictures just how high the Acropolis is.
I wanted to see the Champion League games at 10 p.m. It was Paris versus Munich and Milan versus London (Tottenham.) I took a nap. I headed back to the roof. They were showing the games on big screens in the Cloud 9 bar.
I ordered a Negroni. I had a late dinner of Black Orzo—sliced grilled cuttlefish in orzo (rice like pasta.) The whole dish is blackened by squid ink. I’ve outgrown my fear of strange dishes. I’ve actually had squid ink pasta in the states—but this was on another level.
The concurrent games ended about midnight. The only downside was a trio of British yobs at the next table. The leader kept chanting things like, “F***ing Tottenham is f**ing shit!”
It is Friday. 6 a.m. US time. We just left Mycenae—the house of Atreus. Agamemnon’s tomb. The Lion Gate. Heinrich Schliemann…
The tour bus stopped at the marble palace of a restaurant for lunch. The guide said there were pictures of notables who had dined here. Jackie Onassis to George Bush Sr…
I’m alone out on a shaded marble patio typing away. I don’t usually eat lunch. And I need to send this out—across the Ionian Sea and the Mediterranean and the Atlantic to Frederick, Maryland, USA.
It has been an interesting week, and the next 8 days we will be seeing Greece—land and sea…
Pretty lucky. Luck and hard work. Well, books are work.
There’s a quote in the movie Jaws. The ship captain is talking about rum.
“Anyway, rum’s not drinkin’, it’s survivin’!”
I can say the same about books.
4 Comments on Article
Sounds like another great trip. My wife and I were in Athena back in 1979 using Fromner’s Europe on $20 a day. My most vivid memory other than the acropolis and the Parthenon was drinking Retsina. Definitely a taste you’ll remember. Be sure to try it. I’ll let you decide what it tastes like and whether or not you like it. Enjoy the rest of the trip!
I’ve had it !
Overtones of turpentine!
But an acquired taste.
Thanks for writing. An amazing place!
I happen to be reading Gerald Durrell’s Corfu Trilogy. His descriptions are vivid and beautiful. Enjoy your trip!
I’d like to get to that side of Greece – esp Ithaca!
I need to read more Durrell