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Top Ten Books Set in Spain

Essential Holiday Reading Spanish Vacations


Get the feeling for Spain before you leave or take one of these books with you when you come to visit.

Many of these books are also available on the Amazon Kindle. I can heartily recommend getting a Kindle for travel purposes. Click the link to find out why.

See also: Books Set in Barcelona

  1. Don Quijote by Miguel de Cervantes

    • Synopsis: A man reads too many books on chivalry and knights in shining armor, goes mad and embarks on adventures of his own with his faithful sidekick Sancho Panchez. The book is written from the point of view of a number of 'historians' - as the narration changes between storytellers, the depiction of Quixote changes and the boundaries between fiction and reality are blurred.
    • Language: Spanish. The Spanish language in the early seventeenth century contained words and even tenses that are no longer used. It is almost futile to try to read it in the original Spanish - you'll be learning new tenses to be able to read a single book. I suggest reading a good modern English translation. Alternatively, you could read a simplified Spanish version, although some of the rich language will be lost.
    • Compare PricesBuy a modern translation of 'Don Quijote' by Miguel de Cervantes
    • Compare PricesBuy a simplified Spanish version of 'Don Quijote' by Miguel de Cervantes
  2. The Poetry & Plays of Federico García Lorca

    • Synopsis: Federico Garcia Lorca is widely regarded as Spain's greatest writer of the twentieth century. A respected composer, artist, dramatist and poet, Lorca's works have been reproduced and reinterpreted numerous times since his murder by Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War seventy years ago.
    • Language: Spanish. The plays of Lorca can be read (or watched) in English, but the poetry should be read in the original Spanish or at least side by side with the original Spanish.
    • Compare PricesBuy 'The Collected Poetry of Federico García Lorca' (in Spanish with English Translations)
    • Compare PricesBuy 'Three Plays (Blood Wedding/Yerma/The House of Bernarda Alba)' by Federico García Lorca (in English)
  3. Travels With My Donkey by Tim Moore

    • Synopsis: One man's story as he embarks on the arduous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across northern Spain - and makes it worse for himself by deciding to do it on a donkey. As much a humorous look at man's relationship with animals as it is a book about Spain, it is one of those books that makes you laugh outloud in public!
    • Language: English
    • Compare PricesBuy 'Travels With My Donkey' by Tim Moore
  4. South from Granada by Gerald Brenan

    • Synopsis: Gerald Brenan spent much of his life in Spain and spent a considerable amount of time in the Alpujarras mountains. South from Granada is his account of life in a tiny village in the Alpujarras mountains after World War I. More famous in Spain than in English (despite writing his books in English) his knowledge of Spain is exemplary and his insights into life in Spain make essential reading.
    • Language: English
    • Compare PricesBuy 'South From Granada' by Gerald Brenan
  5. Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart

    • Synopsis: Another English language author who was enchanted enough by the Alpujarras mountains to write about it, occasional Genesis drummer Chris Stewart's account of life in the mountains near Granada goes more for humor than insight, though that isn't to say Stewart isn't very knowledgeable about the area. A modern classic - essential reading if you are considering relocating to rural Spain.
    • Language: English.
    • Compare PricesBuy 'Driving Over Lemons' by Chris Stewart
  6. Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

    • Synopsis: Orwell's personal account of life during the Spanish Civil War.
    • Language: English
    • Compare PricesBuy Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
    • Compare PricesBuy the audiobook version of 'Homage to Catalonia' by George Orwell
  7. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

    • Synopsis: Ernest Hemingway was fascinated by bullfighting in Spain and wrote two major works about it - this novel, from 1926 and the non-fiction Death in the Afternoon. Set in Pamplona Hemingway's first novel depicts life for the 'lost generation' after World War I.
    • Language:
    • Compare PricesBuy 'The Sun Also Rises' by Ernest Hemingway
  8. Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway

    • Synopsis: Hemingway's second book on bullfighting, the non-fiction Death in the Afternoon is the perfect companion piece to the fictional The Sun Also Rises.
    • Language:
    • Compare PricesBuy 'Death in the Afternoon' by Ernest Hemingway
  9. Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving

    • Synopsis: Washington Irving spent some time in the Alhambra in Granada and wrote a series of short stories, partly based on historical lengends from the are and partly composed by himself. Most people start reading it after they've visited the Alhambra and by the time they've finished it they want to go again!
    • Language: English.
    • Compare PricesBuy 'Tales of the Alhambra' by Washington Irving
  10. As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning

    • Synopsis: Laurie Lee's most famous work is Cider With Rosie, a biographical account of his childhood in England. As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning is the sequel and tells of Lee's time in Spain before the Spanish Civil War. The trilogy concludes with A Moment of War.
    • Language: English
    • Compare PricesBuy 'As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning' by Laurie Lee

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