TAKE FIVE – by Anne Pinder

by Patty Ryan posted on 4 February 2014

Anne Pinder recommends the following books to help one learn about Spain

Traveler, new arrival or long-time resident, you can always discover more about Spain – and books can help!

The books below are all readable, informative and some very entertaining.  All are available at least on Amazon , though maybe not as e-books. Some of the English language bookstores in Madrid might have them – and if they don’t might be able to order them for you.  For a longer reading list at www.apinderinspain.com  then click on  Cultural Tips to find the reading list.


The Story of Spain, by Mark Williams.

If you only have time or energy for one history book this is a good choice:  an overview from prehistoric times up through the present. Instead of concentrating on every single date, this book gives the major events and their context, as well as the ongoing themes in Spanish history.


Ghosts of Spain, by Giles Tremlett   

Social history or light anthropology:  this book covers important ongoing topics in Spanish history or everyday life.

The New Spaniards, by John Hooper has a similar focus but is a bit denser and has a more scholarly tone.


A Woman Unknown, by Lucia Graves

This book is about growing up bi-cultural and tri-lingual on the island of Mallorca during Franco’s time. A good read for everyone to see how much Spain has changed;  good also to compare / contrast with your own culture (especially if you remember the 1960’s!). The author is the daughter of English writer Robert Graves.



Winter in Madrid, by C.J. Sansom

Love story, thriller and more, set in Madrid right after the Spanish Civil War. A few inaccuracies about Madrid geography (I only noticed because it’s set partly in my neighborhood) but the feeling is on target. A must read to understand why the Civil War is still hard to discuss in today’s Spain.


A Dying Light in Cordoba, by Lindsay Davis

Murder mystery set in Cordoba in Roman times, with olive oil as a major part of the story. Davis’ character Marcus Didius Falco (a Roman private eye featured in most of her books) and his wife Helena try to unravel the plot.

For a longer reading list at www.apinderinspain.com  then click on  Cultural Tips to find the reading list.



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