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 www.janecronin.eu
You and the Law in Spain by David Searl, 8469 785 893
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. Searl has added Alex Radford as a co-writer.
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
Going Native In Murcia
Going Native In Murcia (4th Edition): All You Need To Know About Visiting, Living and Home Buying in Murcia and Spain’s Costa Calida
EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE MURCIA REGION AND THE COSTA CALIDA!
Completely revised and updated, including a BREXIT section.
Comprehensive town and city guides
The best places to eat, drink and have fun
Discover Lorca, Cartagena, The Mar Menor and the Sierra Espuña
Enjoy the best beaches, spas and mud baths
Fun stuff to do from hiking to golf and scuba to horse-riding
Extensive food, tapas and wine guides
Native’s share their personal stories
Top tips on dealing with builders, DIY and gardening
Inside information for visitors, home buyers and new natives
How to find a new home, move here and be happy
This fourth edition has been carefully revised and is packed full of extra information. Going Native in Murcia – the most comprehensive guide in print – is now even better.
This book has taken 15 years to research and taking us around the whole region that we now call our home.
The first edition came out in May 2005, when we had to force ourselves to stop adding information and get the book out there! This fourth edition for 2020 has been fully revised and updated, data on every town in the region, a list of the golf courses, details about the new airport which is finally open, an update about current known BREXIT issues, plus loads more…
The book was borne out of the frustration of none of the major guides covering the region, or at best only dedicating 4 or 5 pages to it. When they did mention Murcia they focused entirely on the golf complexes and housing estates. In fact, the only guides we could find that covered the Murcia region in any detail were in Spanish, interspersing flowery language with inaccurate information. So we felt it was time for someone to put this major region firmly on the map.
Murcia is a beauty, with warm and welcoming people, a strong property market, wonderful food and fantastic weather. Our goal for you as you read this book is that you’ll be able to enjoy visiting this region in all its glory – with us as your equally wide-eyed guides. If you’re thinking of investing here or even making this region your new home then the sections on buying and visiting will tell you all you need to know.
Click this link to be taken directly to the Going Native in Murcia at your local Amazon store.
Fuengirola Revisited Patrick H. Meehan
Fuengirola Revisited a groundbreaking new and exciting book that offers its readers, “a journey through time in 10 square kilometres of Southern Spain”. The journey starts with the formation of the mountains, rivers and shorelines and continues to the streets of the present day town.
The book is getting good reviews from press and readers and has variously been described as a ‘page turner’, a ‘brilliantly constructed journey’, and a ‘captivating read’. The cover depicts a pre-human landscape of the area painted by Teresa Henry and the inside cover contains John Drummonds 1979 map of the town.
Everything else about the book can be seen on the website https://fuengirolarevisited.com/
The ‘Look Inside’ page offers a generous insight into the range that the book covers.
One Mallorcan Summer, Peter Kerr
Having battled and succumbed to the mañana pace of rural Mallorca, spring sees Peter Kerr and family relaxing into a supposedly simpler way of life, growing oranges on their little valley farm, Ca’s Mayoral.
However, even after the trials, tribulations and triumphs of their initiation, Spain has not yet finished with them. Embarrassing subtleties of the language, brushes with the local police, the unfortunate outcome of a drinking session… surprises aplenty await this venturesome émigré family.
A colourful account of tranquilo life from the author of Snowball Oranges, here’s all the charm of Mallorca: where you seldom do today what can be more judiciously put off till mañana!
Two Wheels Over Catalonia: Cycling the Back Roads of North-Eastern Spain, Richard Guise
Sixteen years after first moving to Catalonia, Richard Guise finally finds time to slow down and explore the back roads by bicycle. With over 400 kilometres of sparkling Mediterranean shoreline and an interior dominated by the Pyrenees, it’s a spectacular journey from wind-blown headlands to the glitzy costas, and from bustling Barcelona to remote hillsides where only wild goats grazing and chirruping cicadas disturb the tranquillity.
Dipping into the unique history of this fiercely independent nation-within-a-nation, he uncovers many of its cultural peculiarities, such as why the sardana dance is not as easy as it looks and what to do in a bugaderia. Chancing upon nudist beaches, ancient Iberian sites and revolutionary road-sweepers, this slow cyclist revels in authentic Catalonia.
Cat on a Hot Tiled Roof: Mayhem in Mayfair and Mallorca, Anna Nicholas
Having moved with her family to rural Mallorca to escape the stresses of London life, PR consultant Anna Nicholas continues to commute back to her glitzy Mayfair agency to earn a crust. Meanwhile she is harbouring a bizarre dream to open a luxury cattery on the island – unbeknownst to her long suffering Scottish husband, Alan, and son, Oliver.
Life in the mountains is never uneventful as the author gets to grips with phantom sheep, midnight snail hunts, Catalan lessons, ghosts, floods and flighty hens. London also has its challenges, as she juggles eccentric, rich and often neurotic clients between Mayfair and Manhattan and is hotly pursued by lucrative deals. But increasingly Anna finds herself craving the simple life of her Spanish idyll because as she discovers, you can take the girl out of Mallorca, but you can’t take Mallorca out of the girl. Wickedly irreverent, laugh out loud funny and lovingly observed, Cat on a Hot Tiled Roof celebrates the wonders of Mallorcan rural life.
Spain to Norway on a Bike Called Reggie, Andrew P. Sykes
Meet Andrew: French teacher, writer and long-distance cyclist.
Now, meet Reggie, his bike.
With two European cycling adventures already under his belt, Andrew was ready for a new challenge. Exchanging his job as a teacher in Oxfordshire for an expedition on Reggie the bike, he set off on his most daring trip yet: a journey from Tarifa in Spain to Nordkapp in Norway – from Europe’s geographical south to its northernmost point.
Join the duo as they take on an epic journey across nearly 8000 km of Europe, through mountains, valleys, forests and the open road, proving that no matter where you’re headed, life on two wheels is full of surprises.
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/Xábia 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 football centres of La Coruña, Sevilla and Valencia and weighs up the lasting (or not? impact of David Beckham on the morbo in Madrid.
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.
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.
Slow Travels in Unsung Spain by Brett Hetherington
With both of his kidneys failing, the author decides to explore his adopted home country. His destination? The rural childhood hometown of a great Spanish writer who is almost unheard of outside Spain.
Slow Travels in Unsung Spain is a warts n’ all trip through some of Spain’s hidden gems: towns, cities, landscapes and cultural highlights that are typically overlooked by foreign tourists but which the Spanish often keep to themselves.
More details here
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
I can highly recommend all the following books
The Man in Seat 61 – Mark Smith
This rail travel bible covers the whole of Europe and the section on Spain is comprehensive and current
The Train in Spain – Christopher Howse
Ten great jorneys through the interior. History/geography and some timeless advice
Europe By Rail – Gardner & Kries. Regularly updated with three epic jorneys through Spain.
Slow Trains around Spain – Tom Chesshyre
An excellent bedtime read, close your eyes and think of Toledo or as a pocket guide as you travel through Spain. Chesshyre is a professional writer and none of his travel books have disappointed me. His latest offering is perhaps his best yet.
A quick trawl through Facebook will unearth dozens of expat groups, websites, forums etc about the major expat destinations. Nobody has put his/her stamp on their home as effectively as “Mr and Mrs” Lanzarote. Mike and Julie are my one stop point of contact for all things Lanzarote. They have now written three books about the island. You can find more details here
August 11, 2021
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).