73 books like Forgotten Places

By Nick Lloyd, Nick Lloyd,

Here are 73 books that Forgotten Places fans have personally recommended if you like Forgotten Places. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Bible in Spain; or, the journeys, adventures, and imprisonments of an Englishman, in an attempt to circulate the Scriptures in the Peninsula

Jason Webster Author Of Why Spain Matters: The Story of the Land that Shaped the Western World

From my list on Spain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jason Webster is the international best-selling author of fifteen books on Spain, including Duende, Sacred Sierra, The Spy with 29 Names, Violencia: A New History of Spain, and the Max Cámara series of crime novels. He is a publisher, broadcaster, award-winning photographer, a board member of The Scheherazade Foundation, and is married to the Flamenco dancer Salud.

Jason's book list on Spain

Jason Webster Why did Jason love this book?

On the face of it, this classic 19th-century travelogue is about one man travelling through Spain and Portugal in the 1830s distributing Bibles… which is not exactly a page-turning idea. And indeed the first section – set in Portugal – is unbearably tedious (in fact, just skip it altogether). But once Borrow crosses the border into Spain it becomes a whole other book. It’s as if he can finally cast off his dour, pious disguise and write about what really excites him: Spanish Gypsies. Already speaking their language (the man was a machine when it came to picking up foreign tongues), he falls in with them almost immediately, leading to numerous colourful adventures as he wends his way in Quixotic fashion across the country. The tales he tells are exotic and Romantic (with a capital ‘R’) and capture something of the ineffable essence of the country: a playful, mysterious and…

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

Jason Webster Author Of Why Spain Matters: The Story of the Land that Shaped the Western World

From my list on Spain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jason Webster is the international best-selling author of fifteen books on Spain, including Duende, Sacred Sierra, The Spy with 29 Names, Violencia: A New History of Spain, and the Max Cámara series of crime novels. He is a publisher, broadcaster, award-winning photographer, a board member of The Scheherazade Foundation, and is married to the Flamenco dancer Salud.

Jason's book list on Spain

Jason Webster Why did Jason love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of Madrid: A Guide for Literary Travellers

Jason Webster Author Of Why Spain Matters: The Story of the Land that Shaped the Western World

From my list on Spain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jason Webster is the international best-selling author of fifteen books on Spain, including Duende, Sacred Sierra, The Spy with 29 Names, Violencia: A New History of Spain, and the Max Cámara series of crime novels. He is a publisher, broadcaster, award-winning photographer, a board member of The Scheherazade Foundation, and is married to the Flamenco dancer Salud.

Jason's book list on Spain

Jason Webster Why did Jason love this book?

Hemingway (who might have fully ‘got’ Spain if he had been less obsessed with ‘being Hemingway’) once described Madrid as ‘the centre of the world’. Jules Stewart is a former reporter who knows the city like the back of his hand. In this book he provides a perfect guide for travellers (even of the armchair variety) around what is one of the most vibrant European capitals. From Dalí’s favourite café to the place where Cervantes drew his last breath, it brings the history of the place alive like nothing else.

By Jules Stewart,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hemingway called Madrid 'the most Spanish of all cities' and the 'centre of the world'; it was a place that drew him back again and again. But he wasn't the only writer to have been inspired by this proud city which fizzes with energy and is so infused with art and literature. From the Cafe Gijon, a popular hang-out of Lorca, Dali and Bunuel, and the Bar Chicote, Hemingway's preferred watering hole and a popular haunt for bohemian Madrid during the Civil War, to the Hotel Florida where John Dos Passos and Antoine de Saint Exupery used to stay, to…


Book cover of The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain

Hussein Fancy Author Of The Mercenary Mediterranean: Sovereignty, Religion, and Violence in the Medieval Crown of Aragon

From my list on capturing the paradoxes of medieval Spain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Hussein Fancy is a Professor of History at Yale University where he teaches medieval history with a particular focus on medieval Spain and North Africa. His research, writing, and teaching focus on the entwined histories of not only Jews, Christians, and Muslims but also Latin and Arabic in the Middle Ages. He has traveled and lived extensively in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Hussein's book list on capturing the paradoxes of medieval Spain

Hussein Fancy Why did Hussein love this book?

If there’s only one that I could recommend, it’s this brilliant, beautiful, and vexing book by María Rosa Menocal, Sterling Professor at Yale University. In a compelling and artful manner, Menocal tells the story of medieval Spain from the arrival of the first Umayyad rulers to Cervantes. Beyond being a useful introduction to the fascinating history, Menocal makes the argument that a culture of tolerance existed in medieval Spain, one that transcended religious and ethnic differences. The principal engine of this culture, she suggests, was the Arabic language. Menocal’s book has received as much praise as criticism, a testament to its enduring power and the contentious quality of medieval Spain.

By María Rosa Menocal,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Ornament of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A rich and thriving culture where literature, science and religious tolerance flourished for 700 years is the subject of this enthralling history of medieval Spain.

Living side by side in the Andalusian kingdoms, the 'peoples of the book' produced statesmen, poets and philosophers who influenced the rest of Europe in dramatic ways, giving it the first translations of Plato and Aristotle, love songs and secular poetry plus remarkable feats of architecture and technology. This evocative account explores the lost history whose legacy and lessons have a powerful resonance in today's world.


Book cover of The Time of the Doves

Jenny Jaeckel Author Of Boy, Falling

From my list on historical fiction by diverse women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an award-winning author and illustrator who works in a variety of genres, including Historical Fiction. When historical fiction is well done it conveys times and events as they were lived and breathed by real people. Historical fiction by diverse women tells the stories of those consistently left out of the “historical record.” Human life is rich and diverse, and the stories belong to all of us, not just those who have historically had the power to control the cultural narratives. As a writer and student of history, it has been my pleasure to explore characters that are not often represented, characters that are ordinary for their times, and extraordinary as well. 

Jenny's book list on historical fiction by diverse women

Jenny Jaeckel Why did Jenny love this book?

The Time of the Doves is one of my favorite books of all time for its intimacy, immediacy, and unusual descriptive power. Natalia, a young woman living in Barcelona around the time of the Spanish Civil war, paints for the reader a vivid and seamless picture of her life from the inside out—her loves and losses, survival, the confusion of a world broken by chaos and violence and put back together again by perseverance and tenderness. A short but unforgettable read that I return to again and again.

By Mercè Rodoreda, David H. Rosenthal (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Time of the Doves - by Mercè Rodoreda - is the powerfully written story of a naïve shop-tender during the Spanish Civil War and beyond, is a rare and moving portrait of a simple soul confronting and surviving a convulsive period in history. The book has been widely translated, and was made into a film.


Book cover of Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

James McGrath Morris Author Of The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, DOS Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War

From my list on understanding the Spanish Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

James McGrath Morris is the author of The Ambulance Drivers: Hemingway, Dos Passos, and a Friendship Made and Lost in War, which the Economist said was “as readable as a novel.” His previous work, Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, The First Lady of the Black Press was a New York Times bestseller. His next book is Tony Hillerman: A Life.

James' book list on understanding the Spanish Civil War

James McGrath Morris Why did James love this book?

Both Hemingway and Orwell show up in this compelling, well-written, and sweeping account of the war. Hochschild is a brilliant writer who was aspired to take up this topic by Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia. Like he did in King Leopold’s Gold, Hochschild focuses his attention on a limited number of people making it easier to follow the story. The co-founder of Mother Jones, he brings to the book a lively magazine-style of narration. If Thomas’s work is too much, this is the one history worth reading. 

By Adam Hochschild,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER. A sweeping history of the Spanish Civil War, told through a dozen characters, including Hemingway and George Orwell: A tale of idealism, heartbreaking suffering, and a noble cause that failed.

For three crucial years in the 1930s, the Spanish Civil War dominated headlines in America and around the world, as volunteers flooded to Spain to help its democratic government fight off a fascist uprising led by Francisco Franco and aided by Hitler and Mussolini.

Today we're accustomed to remembering the war through Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls and Robert Capa’s photographs. But Adam Hochschild…


Book cover of Homage to Catalonia

Peter Hain Author Of The Elephant Conspiracy

From my list on thrilling page-turners.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an activist-politician, who’s been both militant anti-apartheid protestor and Cabinet Minister, someone who tries to convey sometimes complex issues in straightforward terms, impatient with taking refuge down academic rabbit holes, striving to see the wood-for-the-trees. With the exception of George Orwell, each of the books I have recommended is by an author I know personally. My new thriller, The Elephant Conspiracy, sequel to The Rhino Conspiracy, reflects dismay at the corrupt betrayal of Nelson Mandela’s freedom struggle and the values which inspired it, the main characters fighting to revive those values of social justice, liberty, equal opportunities, and integrity, as well as service to others not selfish enrichment. 

Peter's book list on thrilling page-turners

Peter Hain Why did Peter love this book?

I recall reading it in my late teens, less as the classic it was on the barbarous Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, and more as a personal discovery by Orwell of how his democratic socialist instincts were sharpened and shaped by the buffeting swirl of ideological clashes and bitter sectarian struggles within the inspirational resistance to Franco’s fascism in Spain. As he witnessed the heroism and the horror, the passion and sometimes the ulterior purposes of these competing groups, Homage to Catalonia for me was a gripping narrative, climaxing in the internecine firefight in Barcelona where the left helped defeat itself, and thereby opened the door to Franco’s murderous victory and equally murderous rule. 

Like Orwell’s, the socialism that I had come to believe in during the first ten years of my life in Britain was instinctively ‘libertarian’ rather than ‘statist’, favouring democracy and liberty rather than central control…

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Homage to Catalonia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Homage to Catalonia remains one of the most famous accounts of the Spanish Civil War. With characteristic scrutiny, Orwell questions the actions and motives of all sides whilst retaining his firm beliefs in human courage and the need for radical social change.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition is introduced by Helen Graham, a leading historian on the Spanish Civil War.

When George Orwell arrived in Spain in 1936, he…


Book cover of The Shadow of the Wind

Mark Stibbe Author Of A Book in Time

From my list on the magic of books, bookshops, and libraries.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a boy, my adoptive father – a star pupil and friend of C.S. Lewis – heard I’d started reading the Sherlock Holmes stories. He bought every Sherlock Holmes book he could find. I remember lifting one to my nose and smelling the pages. I fell in love with books that day. I went on to earn a senior scholarship in English Literature at Cambridge University, and a PhD in storytelling. Since then, I have written over 50 books of my own and ghostwritten over 30 titles. I now host The Christian Storyteller Channel on YouTube, and I run BookLab, dedicated to helping emerging authors. My whole life is books.

Mark's book list on the magic of books, bookshops, and libraries

Mark Stibbe Why did Mark love this book?

I love the idea that books have souls, and I adore this quotation from Zafon’s classic novel: “Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it.”

I was thrilled to find this novel after I’d written my book because it shows that there are others who sense the soulful quality of old books. I also love it because it is written by a Spanish novelist, and it is in the Spanish-speaking world that we find the true literary origins of my most-loved genre of writing – magical realism.

By Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves (translator),

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Shadow of the Wind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller

"The Shadow of the Wind is ultimately a love letter to literature, intended for readers as passionate about storytelling as its young hero." -Entertainment Weekly (Editor's Choice)

"One gorgeous read." -Stephen King

Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer's son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julian Carax. But when he sets out to find the author's other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been…


Book cover of Death In Spring

Vajra Chandrasekera Author Of The Saint of Bright Doors

From my list on feeling lost and obsessed by a haunted world.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Vajra Chandrasekera, from Colombo, Sri Lanka. I’m a writer, and more importantly, a reader. My favourite kind of book is bigger on the inside, the kind that drops you into a world too big and too weird to really get a handle on, a world that’s strange in ways you feel you recognize, like how sometimes you wake up from a dream and think, I’ve dreamed about that place and those people before, but you can’t tell if you have, or whether you dreamed the memory, too. You read the book and look at the world and you ask yourself: Did I dream those people, that place? Or is this the dream?

Vajra's book list on feeling lost and obsessed by a haunted world

Vajra Chandrasekera Why did Vajra love this book?

Death in Spring is a tiny book containing a bigger, more intricate world than many a doorstopper, for all that the whole story set in a small, nameless hamlet.

Life there too is made of strange, violent rituals, only not the ones we know. We follow a boy growing up and learning them, and being scarred by these mysteries—what do they fill the mouths of the dead with, before they are killed and put into a tree forever? (It’s cement.)

Rodoreda wrote in Catalan, and Tennent’s translation is fluid and beautiful.

Perfection is a rare thing; if you want to see what that looks like, here you go.   

By Merce Rodoreda, Martha Tennent (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Death In Spring as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Considered by many to be the grand achievement of her later period, Death in Spring is one of Mercè Rodoreda's most complex and beautifully constructed works. The novel tells the story of the bizarre and destructive customs of a nameless town—burying the dead in trees after filling their mouths with cement to prevent their soul from escaping, or sending a man to swim in the river that courses underneath the town to discover if they will be washed away by a flood—through the eyes of a fourteen-year-old boy who must come to terms with the rhyme and reason of this…


Book cover of There Your Heart Lies

Diane Josefowicz Author Of Ready, Set, Oh

From my list on you’ve never heard of about Rhode Island.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Rhode Islander, I didn’t have to do too much research to write Ready, Set, Oh. I was born in Providence, and I grew up in Cranston, a suburb outside the city. After graduating from a local high school, I studied at Brown University and after years of living in different cities, fifteen years ago I settled in Providence with my family. I adore this place—we have vibrant neighborhoods, gorgeous beaches, plenty of history, and a surprisingly lively literary scene. I assembled this list to draw attention to some great but under-recognized books set in Rhode Island, either by Rhode Islanders or writers with significant connections to the Biggest Little. 

Diane's book list on you’ve never heard of about Rhode Island

Diane Josefowicz Why did Diane love this book?

I’ve been reading Mary Gordon ever since a fellow writer put her novel Spending in my hands in 1999. Two decades later, I remain as impressed by Gordon’s moral intelligence as by her luscious prose. In this novel, Marian, an older woman living in coastal Rhode Island, relives her young adulthood, which she spent fighting Franco’s forces in Spain while posing as the wife of a politically engaged doctor who happened to be her dead brother’s former lover. Now Marian’s granddaughter has arrived on her doorstep in search of her history and is inspired to visit Spain herself. But what she discovers is only what Marian already knows, living by the coast: that a quiet life in a backwater can also be free and meaningful.

By Mary Gordon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked There Your Heart Lies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At nineteen, Marian Taylor cut herself off from her wealthy, conservative Irish Catholic family and left America to volunteer in the Spanish Civil War—an experience she has always kept to herself. Now in her nineties and diagnosed with cancer, Marian finally shares what happened to her during those years with her granddaughter Amelia, a young woman of good heart but only a vague notion of life’s purpose. Marian’s secret history—of personal and ethical challenges nearly unthinkable to Amelia’s generation, of the unexpected gifts of true love and true friendship—compels Amelia to make her own journey to Spain to reconcile her…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Spanish Civil War, Barcelona, and Spain?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Spanish Civil War, Barcelona, and Spain.

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