10 books like Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools

By Victoria Twead,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

A Year in Provence

By Peter Mayle,

Book cover of A Year in Provence

This is a charming fish-out-of-water adventure. The author has a witty understated style. I enjoyed the tribulations and chaos as he found his way around rural France. The locals in this book felt authentic, which I certainly appreciated. Renovations are hard in a country you know, but this author found humor and understanding, as he floundered around trying to get things done. There’s quite a bit about food, which was entertaining, and is what I would expect in a book set in France. (Personally, I think Italy far outperforms the French when it comes to great food. Give me fresh pasta.) 

A Year in Provence

By Peter Mayle,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked A Year in Provence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A personal description of Provencal life as seen through the eyes of the author and his wife when they move into an old farmhouse at the foot of the Luberon mountains between Avignon and Aix. The bestselling work of non-fiction in paperback of 1991 in the UK.


Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds

By Nick Albert,

Book cover of Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds: Living the Dream in Rural Ireland

As a doggy person, this sounded a fun book, an added attraction being that it is a memoir about moving overseas. The author, and his wife, Lesley, buy a property in a rural part of Ireland. Sounds simple enough, but having done the same ourselves, I guessed there might be challenges ahead. Nick skillfully draws the reader into his world. I felt as though I was alongside them as he describes the properties they visit and misadventures along the way. The anecdotes about their dogs are delightful. His descriptions conjure up pictures of a stunningly beautiful country filled with enchantingly quirky people. No wonder they quickly fall in love with it.

Nick’s sense of humour is infectious and wonderfully appealing. I finished wanting more. Luckily, through the success of this first book, he launched a series. I have read and loved each subsequent episode and look forward to his next…

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds

By Nick Albert,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nick and Lesley Albert yearn to leave the noise, stress and pollution of modern Britain and move to the countryside, where the living is good and has space for their dogs to run free. Suddenly out of work and soon to be homeless, they set off in search of a new life in Ireland, a country they have never visited. As their adventure begins to unfold, not everything goes according to plan. If finding their dream house is difficult, buying it seems almost impossible. How will they cope with banks that don’t want customers, builders who don’t need work, or…


Living the Dream

By Alyson Sheldrake, Alyson Sheldrake,

Book cover of Living the Dream: in the Algarve, Portugal

The author and her husband decide to leave successful careers in the UK and settle in the Algarve. Determined to assimilate with the local culture, they buy a house on the outskirts of a village, adopt a rescue dog (who I instantly fall in love with), and begin a new life. I know the Algarve well and loved the author’s vivid descriptions of the places they visit, the scenes, sights, and customs. I could easily imagine having that daily coffee and delicious pastel de nata in the village café. It’s a delightfully Portuguese tradition.

Throughout the book, Alyson provides advice on different areas and the sometimes tortuous processes involved in becoming a resident in a country hyper-keen on bureaucracy. They manage, though, and often with refreshing ease. The book is a fun travel memoir with bags of appeal for anyone who enjoys an informative read, especially those interested in moving…

Living the Dream

By Alyson Sheldrake, Alyson Sheldrake,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Living the Dream as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Could you leave everything behind and start a new life in the sun?

Have you ever been on holiday abroad and wondered what it would be like to live there?

Alyson and Dave Sheldrake did. They fell in love with a little fishing village in the Algarve, Portugal, and were determined to realise their dream of living abroad. They bought a house there, ended their jobs, packed up everything they owned and moved to the Algarve to start a new life.

Follow them as they battle with Portuguese bureaucracy, set up their own businesses, adopt a rescue dog and learn…


My Family and Other Animals

By Gerald Durrell,

Book cover of My Family and Other Animals

I was nine and still getting used to life in America after moving from Iraq five years prior, when my family moved us to Saudi Arabia. Scared and lonely, I felt more like an outsider than ever before and reading became my solace. I discovered this hilarious book and instantly fell in love with it; mainly because it depicted the author’s dysfunctional British family during their time living abroad in Corfu. In addition to the humor that naturally comes from “fish out of water” stories, it was the first time I’d read a literary account about a family as colorful as mine. It encouraged me to view my family not as a source of annoyance (as I’d been doing prior to that point) but as a source of entertainment.

My Family and Other Animals

By Gerald Durrell,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked My Family and Other Animals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The inspiration behind ITV's hit family drama, The Durrells.

My Family and Other Animals is Gerald Durrell's hilarious account of five years in his childhood spent living with his family on the island of Corfu. With snakes, scorpions, toads, owls and geckos competing for space with one bookworm brother and another who's gun-mad, as well as an obsessive sister, young Gerald has an awful lot of natural history to observe. This richly detailed, informative and riotously funny memoir of eccentric family life is a twentieth-century classic.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics…


Buying a Home in Spain

By David Hampshire,

Book cover of Buying a Home in Spain: A Survival Handbook

If you are moving to Spain, you’ll appreciate David Hampshire’s guides for deciding which region might suit you, how to choose a home and settling into your new way of life. Hampshire includes vital advice like making a Spanish will, driving and finance. He even provides checklists of things to do before the move, and after arrival. We’d have appreciated advice on what to do if one's removal van knocks over the village fountain, or how to stop our cockerel attacking visitors, but I guess we were just unlucky.

Buying a Home in Spain

By David Hampshire,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Buying a Home in Spain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written in an entertaining style with a touch of humour, Buying a Home in Spain covers everything a prospective buyer could wish to know including buying for investment, the best places to live, finding your dream home, money matters, the purchase procedure, moving house, taxation, insurance, letting and much, much more. It is packed with vital information and insider tips to help readers avoid disasters that can turn their dream home into a nightmare. Buying a Home in Spain is essential reading for anyone planning to buy a home in Spain and is designed to guide readers through the property…


Two Old Fools on a Camel

By Victoria Twead,

Book cover of Two Old Fools on a Camel: From Spain to Bahrain and back again

The author and her husband are trapped in an almost untenable situation, but they pull together to see things through to a satisfactory conclusion. I thought it was a great example of that British philosophy to "Keep calm and carry on."

In this third memoir in her enjoyable Two Old Fools series, Victoria and her husband Joe find that rising costs and a shrinking bank balance are threatening their idyllic retirement. After applying online, they leave their beloved Spanish mountain village to teach for a year in Bahrain. But their timing couldn't have been worse. Just after they arrive, the Arab revolution erupts, throwing the country into violent events that would make world headlines. Suddenly they are trapped. Should they leave and risk losing their Spanish dream or stay and face a greater hazard?

Two Old Fools on a Camel

By Victoria Twead,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Two Old Fools on a Camel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

★ New York Times Bestselling author ★
"James Herriot meets Driving over Lemons"

Reluctantly, Vicky and Joe leave their Spanish mountain village to work for a year in the Middle East. How could they know that the Arab revolution was poised to erupt, throwing them into violent events that would make world headlines?

Teaching Arab kids, working with crazy teachers, forming life-long friendships and being placed under house arrest, Vicky and Joe laugh and lurch through their year in Bahrain.

Includes FREE photobook and Arabic recipes from Nadia Sawalha.


Tuning Up at Dawn

By Tomas Graves,

Book cover of Tuning Up at Dawn: A Memoir of Music and Majorca

The books in this list are all written by non-Spaniards, for obvious reasons. This one is almost an exception. Tomás Graves is the eighth son of the English poet and novelist Robert Graves. He has lived almost his entire life on the island of Mallorca, and is, effectively, as native as they come. Tuning Up at Dawn is a wonderfully lyrical account of his upbringing, his memories of his father, and his life as a musician. It is deliciously evocative of a slower world which has now all but disappeared.

Tuning Up at Dawn

By Tomas Graves,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tuning Up at Dawn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A loving portrait of the other Majorca, and of a blissful life there revolving around the magic of music - a book to savour, perfect for escaping those crowded beaches.

Tomas Graves was born in and belongs to Majorca. His father, the great love poet Robert Graves, famously ended up on the beautiful Mediterranean island pretty much by accident, but it is the happiest accident of Tomas' life. His love for the special beauties of Majorcan culture shines on every page of this infectiously happy book. This is the real Majorca. 'Tuning Up at Dawn' examines both the suppression and…


History in the Making

By J.H. Elliott,

Book cover of History in the Making

John Elliott is a world-class historian of Spain and its Empire, his reflections on how to write history without becoming immersed in jargon or obscure theories are beautifully woven into the story of how he himself learned the craft of writing clear, accessible, and original works of history, taking the reader from Cambridge to Franco’s Spain. This is a charming book with a valuable message.

History in the Making

By J.H. Elliott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked History in the Making as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An eminent historian offers rare insight into his craft and the way it has changed over his lifetime

From the vantage point of nearly sixty years devoted to research and the writing of history, J. H. Elliott steps back from his work to consider the progress of historical scholarship. From his own experiences as a historian of Spain, Europe, and the Americas, he provides a deft and sharp analysis of the work that historians do and how the field has changed since the 1950s.

The author begins by explaining the roots of his interest in Spain and its past, then…


We've Gone to Spain

By Tom Provan,

Book cover of We've Gone to Spain

I bought this book when we first decided to move. It's jam-packed with advice and tips for anybody thinking of moving to Spain. From the kind of property available, to the cost of living, right down to the small details like, the postal service and internet availability. This book is great for those traveling through Spain looking for somewhere to put down their roots.

We've Gone to Spain

By Tom Provan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We've Gone to Spain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

REVIEWS: 'Buy it, absorb it and be sure to make your move an enjoyable one.' A PLACE IN THE SUN 'Reading it is like listening to a friend whose advice and ideas you trust and who has also experienced making the move.' SPANISH MAGAZINE '...probably wins the prize for plain- speaking. The author upped sticks for the Costa del Sol after a long and successful career in marketing and PR, but writes with an honesty and directness not always evident in the world of mail shots and spin...It is difficult not to be enthused by his book, again because of…


Spain at War

By James Matthews,

Book cover of Spain at War: Society, Culture and Mobilization, 1936-44

The Spanish Civil War is customarily written off as a military action involving insurgent army units allied with the Falange and other reactionary forces, waging war against a legitimately-elected Socialist-led government, albeit one infested with Communist conspirators. James Matthews takes the reader into another realm, often overlooked in the literally thousands of works published on this conflict. 

The book brings together the writings of thirteen outstanding historians and specialists, who examine broad-ranging and hitherto little-explored issues such as the Francoist doctrine of ‘martial masculinity’ and ‘turning boys into men’, the role of social work during the war, political economies and monetary policies, desertion and shirking military duties and Republican spies in the Nationalist rearguard.

Spain at War

By James Matthews,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spain at War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Spain's principal and most devastating war during the 20th century was, unusually for most of Europe, an internal conflict. During the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939 two competing armies - the insurgent and counterrevolutionary Nationalist Army and the Republican Popular Army - engaged in a conflict to impose their version of Spanish identity and the right to shape the country's future. In its aftermath, Francoist Spain remained on a war footing for the duration of the Second World War.

In spite of the unabated flood of books on the Spanish Civil War and its consequences, historians of Spain…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Spain, villages, and Europe?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Spain, villages, and Europe.

Spain Explore 159 books about Spain
Villages Explore 82 books about villages
Europe Explore 624 books about Europe