I thoroughly enjoy reading novels about the places that I visit, that I live in, I find it an extremely rewarding way of learning about the local/regional culture, political setting and history. That's why I bought Costas Taktsis' The Third Wedding Wreath during my recent sojourn in Greece. Taktsis tells the story of a woman's life, her three husbands, life during occupation and the civil war, her move from Thessaloníki to Athens, her children and family in the broadest sense. The Third Wedding Wreath really is the Buddenbrooks without the nostalgic glorious past, told from a female point of view and much, much more reflective of Greek culture and history.
I'd learned never to be a snob until I got to know a person's worth; and how can you get to know a person well if you don't have coffee together?