The idea for this post ocurred to me as I am currently reading more than usual, and some of the books I´m reading are related to Spain or to Spanish places.
Here are some of the books I have particularly enjoyed recently.
- Passion India by Javier Moro This is about a Spanish girl from Malaga who is swept off her feet by an Indian Raj. This story is a TRUE story and an amazing read. One of those couldn’t put it down books. Wonderful descriptions of the Indian landscapes and regal finery she becomes accustomed to. Anita Delgado is chosen by the Rajah of Kapurthala to be his wife and moves over to India. Expat life to the extreme. Some photos are included in the centre of book so you get a real feel for the time and the setting.
- The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon Set in Barcelona, after the civil war, the city is under Franco´s regime, a dramatic backdrop for the story, a carefully woven tale with intrigue, mystery and romance throughout it 544 pages. It´s a huge tome, but don´t let that put your off, from the first page you will be hooked. The gothic scenery of Barcelona´s winding shadowy streets in the story are beautifully described. Having lived for over 9 years in Barcelona I know the city well. My favourite spot in the old part of city is the Square which appears in a scene of the book, Plaza San Felip Neri. The magic of Ruiz Zafon´s novel is at any time, the reader can visit Barcelona and retrace the steps of Daniel Sampere, the main character in the story. The eloquent descriptive style brings to life the winding labyrinthine streets of the Barri Gotic of Barcelona. For Spain lovers this really is a must read!
- The Seamstress by Maria Dueñas This novel about a young women who is swept off her feet by a handsome man in her hometown Madrid, but he turns out not as wonderful as she first thought, the tale begins in Madrid but has many twists and turns leading us to Tetuan, Morocco. She ends up in Morocco alone and penniless all of a sudden, the war is raging in Madrid preventing her return. There are many interesting characters in the book providing depth and richness to the novel. As well as the trails and tribulations that the protagonist experiences personally, the political situation in Spain at the time provides a dramatic backdrop to this captivating novel. (btw the Spanish title Entre Costuras) We are taken through streets of Tangiers, Tetuan, Lisbon and Madrid with wonderful descriptions, the destroyed and desolate city of Madrid is also a feature towards the end of the book. The novel has romance, mystery and intrigue as well as historic references to some of the key characters in Spain at the time.
- Driving over lemons by Chris Stewart Set in the area close to Orgiva in Granada province, we learn how the multi talented Chris Stewart turns a rundown farmhouse into his family home and how he manages to negotiate with the locals. This gives a real idea of how rural life in Andalucía really is and makes you laugh out loud in places. I really could relate to some of his anecdotes. There are two others books, Parrot in a Pepper tree and The Almond blossom Appreciation society if one isn´t enough.
- City of my Dreams by Lorenzo Bohme A book to take you around the lesser known streets and corners of the city of Granada. Just like being guided by a well-informed local. Illustrated with hand drawings. A fascinating read.
- South from Granada by Gerard Brenan This was written in 1957 but the feel of rural Andalusia still feels authentic today, years on. The descriptions of the people and the landscapes have barely changed. A wonderful read with clear prose to transport you the white villages of the Alpujarra and the Granada coutryside. This was also a film which I saw a few years back but I prefer reading the book.
- Learning Spanish for Children. I bought my niece & nephew the great books from Jajaja books for Christmas, they are in english with keywords in Spanish added in. Lucy & Lucia Play Hide & Seek and also Phillip & Felipe Become Best amigos They make Spanish words begin to be familiar.
You´ll be wondering what my next read is going to be… I have just started reading Voices of Angels so I´ll let you know if it´s good when I finish the book.
[…] novel and transporting me to another place while turning the pages. A recent post of mine Books related to travel includes novels set in different places such as Portugal, Morocco and Spain. As you can see I […]
Hi there, found your blog searching for Granada as I am planning a visit there soon. Love it, very informative and I have taken noted of some of your recommendations, thank you for sharing your secrets about Granada and around!
And thanks for book recommendations, have read Shadow of the wind and loved it. Will look into these too. See you have Winter in Madrid on your shelf, have you read it and do you recommend it?
Hi, Thanks for reading! Winter on Madrid still pending unfortunately but understand this is a very good read! Rgds Molly
Great blogging Molly, keep it up! Featured you in my best of Jan series here: http://myspanishadventure.com/2012/best-of-the-spanish-travel-blogs-january/
[…] Molly’s Playground Books About Spain […]
It is a good selection but I would add a classic such as Tales of the Alhambra by Washington Irving
I read about half of this recently. I enjoyed the prologue about their journey from Sevilla to Granada. After that, I found the style too florid and repetitive. The (very old) edition I had was also full of typos and inconsistencies.
A classic though, innit?
Ghosts of Spain, by the Guardian’s Giles Tremlett, is excellent and very readable.
Thanks for that suggestion! I have the book on my shelf (unread) once I have finished reading I will consider to add to the list.
Thanks Molly, a couple more there to add to the never diminishing list of “must reads”.