Books about Spain
There is a fantastic range of books on Spain and all things Spanish available in the English language.
You can order from Amazon here. They list over 600 items under the search “books about spain”.
Accordingly, no book list could ever claim or even hope to be complete. The list on this page is intended for those who want an overview of Spain and the Spanish and is particularly directed at those who are considering moving to the country. I would be very grateful for any suggestions and amendments.
Going Native by Jane Cronin
My favourite book about Spain and a superb way to get a glimpse into Spain and the Spanish people is Jane Cronin’s “Going Native”
If you only read one book about Spain, make sure it is this easy-too-read, difficult-to-put-down bestseller.
Going Native is a professionally-presented e-book containing 37 short chapters about different aspects of Spanish life and language. Written by language teacher Jane Cronin, Going Native will bring the life and language of Spain home to you in an entirely new way. Its light-hearted style will strike a chord with all ages, and will inspire you with the confidence you need to practise your Spanish next time you visit. Going Native is about discovering Spain and learning Spanish, but it’s also about much, much more than that. Going Native explains all those little everyday things that happen in Spain that you’ve never quite understood. It is full of fascinating observations on the way things are done and is overflowing with tips on how to break through the language barrier and start communicating with the people around you. The book is delightfully illustrated by humorous drawings from the artist Eva Gold Young.
It can be obtained from
Going Native in Catalonia by Simon Harris
Whilst Jane’s book is about Spain in general and expatshire in particular, Simon’s superb book is entirely focused on Catalonia. In just 190 pages he captures all that is Catalonia – its language, history, culture, heritage and much much more. For anybody going to Barcelona/Catalonia it is an absolute “must-read”.
Simon says that it is a A Guidebook To Catalonia That’s Not for Tourists
Why? Well, if you pick up any guidebook to Spain and chances are it focuses on the same old landmarks, beaches, food and attractions. That’s all well and good if you’re only staying for a week or so but what about the growing breed of longer term travellers – also known as ‘vagabonds’ – who take extended time out to really become one with their new home?
With longer-term visitors and new natives in mind the latest book from NativeSpain.com sets out to inform and enlighten readers on the finer points of living in Catalonia: from the history, mindset, stereotypes, humour and loves of the people to their food, quirks and ‘non-standard’ routines.
“Going Native in Catalonia” comes 2 years after the first book in the series, “Going Native in Murcia” and again is written by an outsider, who over the years, has made the region his home.
In Simon Harris’s case, “Going Native in Catalonia” draws on his 30+ years’ experience as his ‘short-term’ stay led him to marry a Catalan woman, appear on TV as a musician, become a father and eventually become a University lecturer.
Simon says, “You may already know that Barcelona is in Catalonia and that the natives ‘speak different’ compared to the rest of Spain. But beyond that – unless you’d spent a lot of time there – you’d be forgiven for thinking that the people, architecture, customs and way of life in Catalonia are just like any other in Spain but they’re not.” He continues, “What I’ve found, living amongst my Catalan neighbours for over three decades, is a place and a people unlike any other on earth. They party harder than anyone and have a unique pride in fair play and hard work. I love it here and I want to help other outsiders thinking of living here to really understand the real Catalan culture too!”
Things you’ll discover in the book include:
* why Catalonia is not just another part of Spain
* the quirks of the Catalan people and language
* a brief history of Catalonia and its politics
* intimate guided tours of key towns and cities
* advice for short, long and medium term stays
* personal photographs from the author’s travels
* Catalan culture, art, style and partying
* witty anecdotes and interesting facts to share
* the inside scoop on Catalonia’s culinary delights
* tips on ‘going native’ yourself and making a home here
Debbie Jenkins, Simon’s publisher and author of “Going Native in Murcia”, says, “Our ‘Going Native’ guides are written with a rare type of traveller in mind… longer term visitors who want to become a true part of their new home. Whether their stay is a month or a lifetime we aim to give them everything the tourist guides won’t.”
“Going Native In Catalonia” by Simon Harris ISBN-1905430302
You and the Law in Spain by David Searl, Santana Books, 84-89954-22-4
This book should be mandatory reading for everyone thinking about moving to Spain and absolutely essential if you live here. It is revised almost every year and is the most accurate and up to date book available. The latest edition even covers the new traffic laws.
Live and Work in Spain by Jonathan Packer, Vacation Work 1-85458-186-4 Not as good as Hampshire’s book and 7 years between editions means that it is not so up to date. Nevertheless a worthwhile general guide.
Living and Working in Spain by David Hampshire, Survival Books Ltd, 0-9519804-2-4
A more general book than ‘You and the Law in Spain’ but equally valuable. It covers the legal side but is much better for the nitty-gritty of living in Spain. For instance it even explains the format of a Bullfight and describes all the major lotteries! Again absolutely indispensable.
Buying a Home in Spain by David Hampshire, ISBN 0-9519804-4-0 Survival Books Limited
Buying a Home in Spain is essential reading for anyone planning to purchase property in Spain and is the most comprehensive and up-to-date source of information available. Whether you’re seeking a castillo, villa, farmhouse, townhouse or an apartment, a holiday or a permanent home, this book will help make your dreams come true.
Spain (Buying a Property) by Norman Renouf Cadogan Guides; ISBN: 186011878X
Whether you’re looking for a castle or an apartment, a holiday home or a place to relocate to for good, the guides offer all the latest information on buying property. They cover all the regions that are popular with home-buyers and provide in-depth information on what to expect from each area: its climate, economy, facilities and even levels of English speaking among the local population.
Living and Working in Spain: The Complete Guide to a Successful Short or Long-term Stay, How To Books; ISBN: 1857032780
Spain has been popular as a holiday and retirement destination and has become important as a focus for commercial life. This second edition has been updated and revised to provide information for anyone planning to live in Spain, either on a temporary or permanent basis and whether for business, professional purposes, study, leisure or retirement. The book offers an account of Spain’s variated lifestyles and how to cope.
The Best Places to Buy a Home in Spain Survival Books Limited; ISBN: 1901130967
This guide is essential reading for anyone planning to buy property in Spain. It covers all the popular destinations including the Balearics, Canaries, Costa Blanca, Costa Del Sol, other Costas, the major cities and other popular areas.
Buying a Property in Spain by Harry King How To Books; ISBN: 185703791X
This guide to buying a property in Spain offers first-hand advice on where to stay, dealing with estate agents and builders and the types of properties available. It covers building your own home, renovating a ruin and renting a cosy cottage.
The Complete Guide to Buying a Property in Spain by Anthony I Foster,
Property Search Spain, 0-9523639-1-7
Written by an Englishman who has lived in Spain for 19 years and worked in the Estate Agency business there. It covers the mechanics of buying or building a property in Spain with considerable detail on what should be included in any contract you sign. For those wishing to build their property or even extend their existing one it covers building licences in detail and even gives the fines for non-compliance!
Costa Blanca (Sunflower Landscapes series) Walks, Car Tours and Picnics by John and Christine Oldfield.
Special Places to stay in Spain and Portugal, Alastair Sawday, ASP Publishing 1-901970-03-5
Not just another hotel guide! This has some really lovely little places(and some big ones) to stay at if you fancy a bit of touring when you get fed up with your personal ‘Costa’. They are often in out of the way places and you are unlikely to come across them by accident. Most are privately run and the book gives very good details with prices and directions. They have all been selected by the author.
Expand your Spanish by Linda Hall de González, Santana, 84-921229-6-X
This is different from the hundreds of run of the mill ‘teach yourself Spanish’ books. It concentrates on Spanish as it is ‘spoke’. It covers all the difficult words that can mean very different things if put in the wrong context. As the author appears from her name to be an Englishwoman married to a Spaniard it gives her the ability to explain what these words and phrases mean in colloquial English – not easy for a Spaniard. She has a regular column in SUR, the major English language weekly newspaper on the Costa del Sol.
The Daily telegraph Guide to Living Abroad. ISBN 0-7494-2790-6
The Blevins Franks Guide to Living in Spain. ISBN 0-9524179-5-2
DK Eyewitness to Spain. ISBN 0-7513-0106-X
Insight Pocket Guides – Costa Blanca. ISBN 9-62421-528-6
Lonely Planet Publications; ISBN: 1864501928
As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee ISBN 0-233-97803-8
Lonely Planet Spain by Damien Simonis (9781740593373)
This monster guide to Spain provides details on getting around, places to stay, places to eat and entertainment options. Whether you’re keen to sip sangria on a palm-lined Balearic beach or snow-ski down the Sierra Nevada, this practical guide will show you why Spain is a número uno destination. This is just one of over 30 Lonely Planet guides to Spain and its regions. Whilst more directed at tourists and visitors Lonely Planet knows Spain in great detail.
Going Native in Murcia by Debbie and Marcus Jenkins A Brit’s Scrapbook 0 9545681 4 1
Now this is very interesting as the whole book is available as an e-book in PDF format too!(You can even get a 47 page sample at)
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Coastal Spain’s Hottest Property Region
Full of useful tips straight from a British couple who bought their cave-house high in the Murcia hills with sea views of the Costa Cálida amid acres of olive trees and almond trees, A Brit’s Scrapbook: Going Native In Murcia will reveal all the little secrets for successfully finding your ideal holiday home, investment property or simply enjoying your stay by going native.
The authors bought their hideaway in 2002 and have seen their investment double year on year. But buying and renovating Spanish property isn’t entirely easy. In fact it can be fraught with little problems and setbacks that the authors found out for themselves first hand.
Anyone even considering buying in (or even visiting) this up-and-coming Costa Cálida region would do well to consult this book first.
A Season in Spain by Andrew and Lesley Grant-Adamson, Pavilion, 1-85793-305-2.
An English couple who fulfilled a dream by spending a year in Spain in a rented house in the Alpujarras south of Granada, the same area as covered in ‘Driving over Lemons’. An equally good read if you are interested in the ‘real’ Spain.
Snowball Oranges (One Mallorcan Winter) by Peter Kerr.
Mañana Mañana (One Mallorcan Summer) by Peter Kerr.
Driving Over Lemons (An Optimist in Andalucia) by Chris Stewart.
The Parrot and the Pepper Tree (A sort of Sequel to D.O.L’s) by Chris Stewart.
Spanish Lessons (Beginning a new life in Spain) by Derek Lambert.
Broadway Books 0-09-187924-8
Written like an adventure novel!
Jávea/XÁ bia A Year in the Life of a Spanish Town by Charlene Quince, ISBN 84-605-9704-0
Life in the Campo by Maggie Hutton, Bookworld España
Good bedside reading, it tells the story of a middle aged English couple who retire to Spain and end up buying an Avocado farm in the Campo. Originally published in the local English paper as ‘Snippets’ of life in Spain, it is now available in book form.
Morbo by Phil Ball, WSC Books 0954013468
Revised and updated paperback edition of Phil Ball’s acclaimed history of Spanish football. Morbo is the unique element that gives Spanish football its special flavour. More than mere rivalry, it is the expression in a thousand provocative ways of the feeling between clubs divided by history, language and politics. At its most bitter between Barcelona and Real Madrid, the same spirit courses through the uncompromising politics of the Basque Country, hangs over the divided city of Seville and marks Spain’s attitude towards its national team. In this new edition of his acclaimed history, Phil Ball also examines the emerging power centres of La Coruña and Valencia and weighs up the impact of David Beckham on the morbo in Madrid
Practical Gardening on the Costa Blanca by ‘Greenfingers’. ISBN 9-788460-728276
Mediterranean Gardening – A waterwise approach by Heidi Gildemeister, Editorial Moll, 84-273-0749-7 An excellent book with good photos. It concentrates on which plants are suited for which
conditions, particularly those that require little water.
The Mediterranean Gardener by Hugo Latymer, Francis Lincoln (in association with
the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) 0-7112-1828-5
A good all round guide again with some good photos.
Gardening in Spain by Marcelle Pitt, Lookout Publications
A basic ‘How to do it’ guide – drawings rather than photos but well priced.
Wild Flowers of the Mediterranean by David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley 0-7513-2671-1
An excellent paperback guide. Very easy to locate the plant you are looking for and really nice coloured drawings.
The Tío Pepe guide to the Seafood of Spain and Portugal, Alan Davidson,Santana, ISBN 8489954216
Alan has written many fishy books. This one concentrates on fish we are likely to find on the Iberian peninsular (or to be more exact, swimming around it!). It’s not a recipe book but if you see a strange fish in the market, this book will tell you what it is. It has good drawings of the various species and gives all the likely Portuguese, Spanish, Catalan and Gallego names.
A Spanish woman’s Kitchen by Pepita Aris, Cassell 0-304-34308-0
Good Spanish cookbook, the recipes are quite authentic and each chapter covers a different region of Spain.
Cooking in Spain by Janet Mendel, Mirador Books, 84-88127-02-2
Written specially for those of us who come to Spain and want to recreate some of the local dishes. The recipes are authentic and easy to follow. There is also an absolutely invaluable introduction that describes all the raw materials with their names in Spanish.
Spanish Narrow Gauge Steam Remembered by Lawrence Marshall. ISBN 84-95178-46-X
Photography In Franco’s Spain Publio López Mondéjar ISBN 3-8290-2223-9
They say a picture paints a thousand words. Perhaps this book filled with many previously unpublished photos explains a little of what happened in the Franco years.
Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell. About the Spanish Civil War.
Orwell in Spain (containing ‘Homage to Catalonia‘) by George Orwell.
Unbiased(?) and independent view of Spain at the time of the Civil War, circa 1936.
Death in the Afternoon, by Ernest Hemingway.
Bullfighting, pre 1931.
For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway.
Civil war fiction.
South from Granada by Gerald Brenan.
Classic about village life in Spain before the civil war.
Spain is a country with a rich literary tradition. If you don’t speak Spanish there are fortunately many excellent translations and reference books.
Anthology. Modern Spanish Theatre, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1968. Edited by Michael Benedikt and George E. Wellwarth.
Anthology. Spain – Drama Contemporary, Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1985.
Edited by Marion Peter Holt.
Anthology. Spanish & Portuguese Short Stories, Senate Press, 1995.
Anthology. Introduction to Spanish Poetry, Dover Press, 1965. Edited by Eugenio Florit.
Anthology. Great Spanish Plays in English Translation, Dover Publications, 1991. Edited by Angel Flores.
Anthology. Spanish Stories/Cuentos Españoles, Dover Publications, 1987. Edited by Angel Flores.
Ayala, Francisco. Usurpers, Penguin Classics, 1996. Translated by Carolyn Richmond.
Baroja, Pio. Zalacaín the Adventurer, Lost Coast Press, 1997. Translated by James Diendl.
Bazan, Emilia Pardo. Torn Lace And Other Stories,
The Modern Language Association of America, 1996. Translated by Maria Cristina Urruela.
Galdós, Benito Peréz. Miau, Penguin Books, 1963. Translated by J.M. Cohen.
Galdós, Benito Peréz. Misericordia, Dedalus European Classics, 1995. Translated by Charles de Salis.
Galdós, Benito Peréz. That Bringas Woman, Everyman, 1996. Translated by Catherine Jagoe.
Galdós, Benito Peréz. Nazarin, Oxford Press, 1993. Translated by Jo Labanyi.
Galdós, Benito Peréz. Fortunata and Jacinta, Penguin Classics, 1988. Translated by Agnes Moncy Gullón.
Galdós, Benito Peréz. Dona Perfecta, Barron’s Educational Series, Inc., 1960.
Ibáñez, Vicente Blasco. The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse, E.P. Dutton, 1941.
Translated by Charlotte Brewster Jordan.
Ibáñez, Vicente Blasco. Reeds and Mud, Branden Press, 1966. Translated by Lester Beberfall.
Jiménez, Juan Ramón. Platero and I, University Of Texas Press, 1990.
Translated by EloÁ¯se Roach.
Jiménez, Juan Ramón. Stories of Life and Death, toExcel, 2000. Translated by Antonio de Nicolás.
Machado, Antonio. Selected Poems, Harvard Press, 1982. Translated by Alan S. Trueblood.
Spanish Literature, The Oxford Companion to. Oxford University Press, 1978.
Edited by Philip Ward.
Unamuno, Miguel de. Abel Sanchez and Other Stories (includes The Madness of Doctor Montarco and San Manuel Bueno, Martyr), Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1996.
Translated by Anthony Kerrigan.
Unamuno, Miguel de. Mist, University of Illinois Press, 2000. Translated by Warner Fite.
Unamuno, Miguel de. Three Exemplary Novels (Two Mothers, The Marquis of Lumbria, Nothing Less Than A Man), Grove Press, 1956. Translated by Angel Flores.
Valle-Inclán, Ramón del. Spring And Summer Sonatas, Dedalus, 1997.
Translated by Margaret Jull Costa
June 2. 2006
PS: As a footnote my favourite Spanish novel which won the first ever Premio De Novela Ciudad de Torrevieja.
Javier Reverte ‘La Noche Detenida‘ ISBN 84-01-32913-2
These books should be available from Bargain Books in Torrevieja, Libreria Europa in Calpe or via the internet at www.ThisIsSpain.info (click on the Amazon link at the top of this page).