Traveling to Spain soon or simply want to learn a bit more about the country? The following five books about Spain go into its history, culture, and cuisine. And they might take you into a magical world full of mystery :-)
Books about Spain
1. “Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past”
In “Ghosts of Spain”, The Guardian editor Giles Tremlett exposes the country’s painful past that was kept “silent” due to what Spaniards call the “pact of forgetting”. He asks questions that no one dares to ask behind major historical and political events and expounds answers to these. These include: Who caused the Civil War? Why Basque terrorists kill? Why Catalans hate Madrid? He also discusses how these events affected and changed the present consciousness and mentality of the Spanish people. This book is definitely a revelatory and insightful read about the ghosts of Spain’s past.
2. “The New Spaniards”
First published in 1986 under the title “The Spaniards”, John Hooper’s award-winning revised and updated bestseller “The New Spaniards” talks about Spain’s transition from dictatorship to democracy after the death of Francisco Franco, also known as “El Caudillo” (The Leader), a military general who ruled Spain from 1939 until his death in 1975. Hooper shows how daily life, traditions, norms, and beliefs have changed for the ordinary people in contemporary Spain following the restoration of democracy. He discusses a variety of subjects including religion, politics, music, the role of women in society, gambling, sex, housing, education, and a lot more.
3. “Discovering Spain: An Uncommon Guide”
Penelope Casas is considered one of the experts in Spanish cuisine. She has published several Spanish cookbooks and has also written articles about food and travel for the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and Food & Wine. In “Discovering Spain: An Uncommon Guide”, she takes readers on a culinary journey around Spain, featuring the best that each of the twelve regions has to offer, including the Balearic and Canary Islands. She also recommends hotels and shops, as well as sample itineraries with tours to historical sites.
4. “The Shadow of The Wind”
“The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is set in postwar Barcelona and it revolves around the story of a young boy named Daniel Sempere who is taken to a secret “The Cemetery of Forgotten Books” by his father. He finds a book in this mysterious and hidden library that unexpectedly sets him off on a life-changing adventure filled with mystery, magic, betrayal and forbidden love. The main character’s love for books is the central theme of the story but the author also references the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War in the book.
It’s one of the first books I read about Spain and still a favorite.
5. “The Last Jew”
“The Last Jew” by Noah Gordon tells the tale of Yonah, who crosses Spain on his donkey Moise trying to stay out of the hands of the Inquisition while holding on to memories of Jewish culture. He answers questions about his past, finds love and creates a role for himself in society playing an Old Christian physician while feeling and thinking like a Jew. This is a beautiful story filled with adventure, love, and history.
Do you know any good novels set in Spain or books about Spain? Let me know in the comments!
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