Spain is a country with a rich history and culture, and there are many books that explore its diverse offerings. Whether you’re looking for a guide to the country’s best sites or want to learn about its cuisine, there’s sure to be a book that fits your needs. Here are just a few of the best books about Spain.
In this post, we will talk about some best books about Spain or books set in Spain that might be interesting for someone who wants to know more about the Spanish culture or just wants to read something in their spare time on vacation.
Best novels set in Spain
Spain is a beautiful country with a rich culture and history. With such an impressive backdrop, it’s no wonder that some of the world’s best novels are set in Spain. From Ernest Hemingway to John Grisham, here are the must-read books set in Spain.
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
The novel For Whom the Bell Tolls is a true masterpiece. Written in 1940, this story tells of Robert Jordan’s heroic efforts to blow up an important bridge during World War II. From his days as a young man living on his family’s estate outside Madrid to when he came face-to-face with death at the front lines near Segovia, Hemingway gives readers unparalleled insight into the thoughts and feelings of one soldier bravely fighting for what he believes in and how it feels to fight that battle against all odds
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
A work so famous that some of its threads have penetrated into the culture, and phrases have penetrated the dictionary. Everyone knows the concept of “fighting with windmills”, but not everyone had the opportunity and pleasure to learn about the other adventures of the Knight of the Dark Face. Don Quijote is a good picture of the old La Mancha region. It is a complex and multi-threaded novel – there are not only adventurous and satirical elements but also social, moral, and even philosophical elements – trying to touch human nature.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Location is a key component of any story. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, written in 1926 and set against the backdrop of post-World War I Europe, follows protagonist Jake Barnes as he lives with his injury sustained during the war while trying to cope with life after being bested on love too many times already.
The book moves from Spain into Austria before finishing up in the Swiss Alps, where it all started for Jake when he was involved in an accident that left him unable to consummate or have children ever again due to its effects on his genitals.
This is one of Hemingway’s first books. The author placed his heroes in Pamplona during the fiesta, which he described with full fantasy and extensive knowledge running of the bulls.
Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving
Washington Irving’s Tales of the Alhambra is a gorgeously written story about life in court during Muslim rule. You’ll experience tales of romance and intrigue, as well as battles with Christian conquistadors who were trying to seize control from Isabella and Ferdinand in Spain!
The fictional work “Tales of the Alhambra” by Washington Irving takes place under Islamic Rule in Andalusia (Muslim Spain). It recounts stories ranging from love affairs to clashes between Muslim warriors against Spanish Christians. With an often lighthearted tone, this book will keep you on your toes for diverse mysteries that are resolved one after another throughout its pages.
All This I Will Give To You by Dolores Redondo
You might be thinking that this book is just about a woman going through her day-to-day life. But you’d only be half right because Dolores Redondo has written it with such detail and passion, detailing everything from the way she brushes her teeth to how she interacts with strangers on public transportation during rush hour in Madrid; all of which makes for an immersive reading experience unlike any other I’ve had so far. It was the most popular fiction novel in Spain in 2017.
Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner
Ben Lerner’s book is a heart-wrenching yet humorous coming-of-age story that follows young American Adam Gordon as he travels to Spain for his art fellowship and falls in love with the country. He quickly becomes entangled in its ancient culture and history, but when faced with the choice between following an academic career or staying abroad indefinitely, he has to make some tough decisions. Leaving Atocha Station paints an unforgettable portrayal of one man’s search for meaning while traveling through time on foot across Europe.”
Books about living in Spain
If you’re thinking about moving to Spain or are just visiting for a few weeks, you may be interested in picking up one of these books. I’ve read almost all of them and can attest that they are worth reading!
Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
A book that is both a political and personal journey, Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell embodies the ideals of freedom. Spanning from Barcelona in 1937 when he enlisted as a soldier for the Spanish Loyalists to his homecoming at Ingsoc, where Big Brother looms over London on giant TV screens; this account tells more than an objective story about war: it offers insight into one man’s psyche during tumultuous times through reflections such as “Every line of serious work.”
Grape, Olive, Pig: Deep Travels Through Spain’s Food Culture
This collection of essays is a hybrid between travel literature and food writing. In it, the author chronicles his time in Spain, where he sampled all sorts of fried delicacies to see how they compare with each other as well as their counterparts back home. His travels include visits to olive orchards, vineyards filled with grapes ready for making wine, and pork farms that house pigs who never get fat because they are so happy at the end! He also talks about visiting what many would call “gastronomic” hotspots like San Sebastián (a small fishing village in Spain’s Basque country), which is famous not only for its tapas but also hosting an annual international cooking competition called La Tomatina – tomatoes.
Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past by Giles Tremlett
Giles Tremlett’s Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past is a wonderfully rich account. This book not only explores the many different types of buildings that make up Spanish culture but also talks about how people interact with them in their everyday lives. The author does an excellent job recounting his travels around the country while exploring this very complex history through personal anecdotes as well as building perspectives on these sites he visits from other experts who are natives to each area – they know more than just what it looks like!
Giles Tremlett’s book is a must-read if you are planning a trip to Spain.
South from Granada: A Sojourn in Southern Spain by Gerald Brenan
Gerald Brenan has traveled the world and is a seasoned traveler. In his book “A Sojourner in Southern Spain,” Gerald recounts stories of visiting castles, farms, vineyards, and ruins; all places which to this day are still very much representative of how life was back then as well as what it means for tourism today. His account paints vivid images not only for readers who have been there before or will be traveling abroad soon themselves – although they would probably enjoy reading about these sights regardless – but also for anyone else looking to escape into another time period through words alone!
Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Spain by Chris Stewart
Driving through lemons is a rare case: a fun, ambiguous book that enchants from the very first pages and makes running a farm in Spain seem like the only right thing to do. Chris Stewart takes us to Alpuharra, an extraordinary land south of Granada, where we witness a series of fun adventures and mishaps involving villagers and shepherds, New Age travelers, and ex-hippies. However, the main character here is the farm that Chris and Anna bought, El Valero – a patch of mountains covered with olive, almond, and lemon groves – located on the wrong side of the river, with no access road, no water, and no electricity.
Granada: The Light of Andalucia by Steven Nightingale
Andalucia. The land of Granada, Sevilla, and Cordoba. This is the home to many poets, from Fernando Pessoa to Federico Garcia Lorca, who are celebrated on this side of the pond for their poetic genius; but it’s also a place where people fall in love with one another or experience heartbreak (or both) like anywhere else across our planet Earth – there’s no other country as diversely populated by its inhabitants’ emotions than Spain itself! Join Steven Nightingale as he documents his travels through Andalusian history-rich cities such as Seville and Málaga during what some could be called “The Lost Generation” after World War I had taken so much life away because the
Expats Spain: No Bull Truth about Living in Spain by Mark Shearman
The Spain travel guide, No Bull Truth about Living in Spain by Mark Shearman, is a must-have for anyone planning to move to Spain. The author writes from his own experience and also offers advice based on the many years he has spent living as an ex-pat himself. There are chapters devoted to topics like “How do I find work?” or “What if my partner refuses to come with me?”. It’s packed full of information that will be invaluable when you’re packing your
Historical fiction books set in Madrid
Madrid is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, with a rich and storied history. When you visit Madrid, don’t just see the sights – immerse yourself in Spanish culture by reading some of these historical fiction books set in Madrid.
The Time in Between by María Dueñas
You may not have heard about the book The Time in Between by María Dueñas, but it is a gripping and captivating book that will take you back to World War II. Set during WWII, this story follows Maria’s life as she navigates childhood with her family before moving on into adulthood when they are all exiled from their home country of Spain due to Franco’s victory over the Spanish Republic. With stunning writing and beautiful prose throughout its pages, readers can be taken through various stages of tragedy while also being shown remarkable resilience amid despair for an illuminating read any time period or genre fanatic should devour!
Winter in Madrid by C.J. Sansom
1940. Madrid is in ruins after the Spanish Civil War, and its people are starving. Germany continues its unstoppable march through Europe. Britain is left alone, and General Franco ponders whether he should abandon neutrality and go to war. Harry Brett enters this uncertain world, a veteran from Dunkirk after a difficult experience, recruited by the British secret service as a spy. He is sent to sneak into the trust of an old schoolmate Sandy Forsyth, who does backsliding in Madrid. Harry discovers that he is becoming part of a dangerous game – and that he is surrounded by memories everywhere.
Historical fiction books set in Barcelona
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe is Barcelona, Spain. And if you want to read about it, there are many books out there that will let you do just that!
Victus: The Fall of Barcelona – Albert Sanchez Pinol
The Fall of Barcelona is a novel by Robert Payne that chronicles the city’s fall to the Francoist forces during the Spanish Civil War. The book follows a group of characters from different walks of life as they experience the brutality of war and the looming threat of defeat.
Despite the bleak subject matter, it is an incredibly powerful and moving novel that highlights the resilient spirit of the Catalan people. Payne expertly captures the fear, hope, and desperation of those who were caught in the middle of one of the most brutal conflicts of the twentieth century. The Fall of Barcelona is an essential read for anyone interested in learning more about one of the most pivotal moments in Spanish history.
Shadow of the wind Carlos Ruiz Zafón
An incredibly addictive book about the magic of books with Barcelona plunged into the darkness of secrets. A crime story, a romance, an adventure novel all in one, and maybe much more, because you can also feel a slight breeze of fantasy in it.
Daniel Sempere is a young boy led by his father to the Forgotten Books Cemetery to choose the only one to take care of and save from destruction. Ten-year-old takes with him The Shadow of the Wind. This book will change his life and draw him into a whirlwind of dangerous puzzles
The shadows of Barcelona by Marc Pastor
It’s hard to find a better read than Barcelona. The author, Marc Pastor, is an expert at creating suspenseful and engaging narratives with plenty of twists and turns that keep the reader on their toes until the end. One thing I really liked about this book was how smoothly he transitioned between past events in Spain and current ones continuing today- it makes such great reading!
The shadows of Barcelona definitely stand out from the genre, at times gravitating more towards a horror story than a detective story. In addition, the book was inspired by real events.
Barcelona, Robert Hughes
Barcelona’s history goes back to Roman times, and it goes that far in Robert Hughes’s book. Traveling through the centuries, he tells about this unique city through the fate of the people who shape it; he also does not avoid curiosities and anecdotes. The axis of this monumental biography, however, is the history of art, including architecture, and its links with the politics of the region and its history.
Cathedral of the Sea, Ildefonso Falcones
The Cathedral of the Sea is a novel by Ildefonso Falcones set in fourteenth-century Barcelona. The story follows Arnau Estanyol, a young boy who is orphaned and must find his way in the world. He eventually becomes involved in the construction of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar, which comes to symbolize Arnau’s journey from humble beginnings to success. Though the novel is historical fiction, it brings to life the vibrant city of Barcelona during this time period. The characters are richly drawn and the prose is beautiful. The Cathedral of the Sea is an engaging and transporting read.
The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
In the dark, dangerous and restless Barcelona of the 1920s, a young writer, living with obsessive and impossible love, receives an offer from a mysterious publisher to write a book that has never been before, in exchange for a fortune and, perhaps, something more.
With remarkable fictional precision and in his characteristic, stunning style, the author once again takes us to Barcelona’s Cemetery of Forgotten Books to give us extraordinary intrigue, romance, and tragedy through a maze of secrets, where the charm of books, passions, and friendship intertwine in a masterful tale.
The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
1957. The business of the family bookstore, Sempere, and Sons, is going as poorly as ever. Daniel Sempere, the protagonist of The Shadow of the Wind, lives a sedate life as the husband of beautiful Bea and the father of little Julian. Next in line to leave the bachelor class is Daniel’s friend Fermín Romero de Torres, an individual as colorful as he is mysterious: his past fate still remains shrouded in mystery. All of a sudden, Fermin’s past knocks on the bookstore door in the guise of a disgusting old man. Daniel had long suspected that if a friend did not want to tell him his story, he must have a good reason. But when Fermín finally decides to reveal the dark facts, Daniel will learn “things Barcelona would like to forget.”
The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Barcelona, the fifties of the last century, the dark days of the regime of General Franco. Alicja Gris is a beautiful, intelligent and unscrupulous agent. One day he receives a commission from the highest spheres of power. The case is top secret and concerns the mysterious disappearance of the Minister of Culture, Mauricio Valls. This seems to have something to do with the past when Valls was director of the formidable Montjuic Prison. Alice, along with the police captain assigned to this investigation, has several days to find the minister. During the search, she finds the seventh volume of the series “Ghost Labyrinth” belonging to Valls. This book will lead Alice and the reader around Barcelona.
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