100 books like Spanish for Dummies

By Susana Wald, Cecie Kraynak,

Here are 100 books that Spanish for Dummies fans have personally recommended if you like Spanish for Dummies. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Driving Over Lemons

Kathryn Curzon Author Of No Damage: An adventure in courage, survival and the pursuit of dreams

From my list on helping you ditch the 9 to 5 & create your dream life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated with living life on my own terms since I was a child and drew pictures with inspirational quotes such as ‘go your own way!’ and ‘aim for the moon!’ Fast forward to my thirties and I quit my 9-5 career to embrace what it means to live out my wildest dreams. I was terrified but, aren’t we all? I can’t get enough of inspiring books that teach me how to live big, believe in myself, and push far beyond what society tells us we should do. All of which helped me to build my dream life and live it. Now get out there and make your dream life happen!

Kathryn's book list on helping you ditch the 9 to 5 & create your dream life

Kathryn Curzon Why did Kathryn love this book?

Driving Over Lemons is a quintessential travel book that inspired me to throw away my regular life and start exploring the world.

This classic tale takes you to far-flung shores bathed in sunshine, filled with misadventures, and bursting with glorious food. What more could you need to start dreaming, take a leap, and make your perfect life a reality? 

This is my go-to for the start of any big project and always gives me the courage to go for it and laugh in the face of adversity on the way.

By Chris Stewart,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Driving Over Lemons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A special anniversary edition with an updated chapter set 25 years on by Chris Stewart.

Over two decades ago we set up Sort of Books to help our friend, the some-time Genesis drummer Chris Stewart, bring his sunlit stories of life on a Spanish mountain farm to print. Ever the optimist, Chris hoped to earn enough money to buy a second-hand tractor for his farm. He got his tractor, as the book spent a year on the Sunday Times Top 10 charts and went on to sell a million and a half copies.

His story is a classic. A dreamer…


Book cover of Pardon my Spanish!

Victoria Twead Author Of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools

From my list on moving to Spain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Victoria Twead is the New York Times bestselling author of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools and the subsequent six books in the Old Fools series. After living in a remote mountain village in Spain for eleven years, and owning probably the most dangerous cockerel in Europe, Victoria and Joe retired to Australia. Another joyous life-chapter has begun.

Victoria's book list on moving to Spain

Victoria Twead Why did Victoria love this book?

This pocket slang dictionary was given to us as a leaving gift when we waved goodbye to England’s grey skies. It has had me sniggering ever since. I guarantee you’ll never hear sentences like those in Pardon My Spanish at your Spanish class. Oh no. It will teach you essential phrases like ya estoy cansado de ser yo siempre el pagano (I’m fed up with being the stupid mug who always ends up paying) or hoy esta de malas pulgas (she’s really ratty today). Totally invaluable.

By Harrap,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pardon my Spanish! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This brand-new pocket-sized Spanish slang dictionary gives a thorough treatment of the most common words and phrases in current use. An unabashed, unprudish collection of non-standard language from the colloquial to the vulgar, it features thousands of examples that show how terms are used in context. More than just a list of "rude words", the dictionary shows how these words function in racy and colourful idiomatic speech.


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

Victoria Twead Author Of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools

From my list on moving to Spain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Victoria Twead is the New York Times bestselling author of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools and the subsequent six books in the Old Fools series. After living in a remote mountain village in Spain for eleven years, and owning probably the most dangerous cockerel in Europe, Victoria and Joe retired to Australia. Another joyous life-chapter has begun.

Victoria's book list on moving to Spain

Victoria Twead Why did Victoria love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of Tapas Revolution

Victoria Twead Author Of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools

From my list on moving to Spain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Victoria Twead is the New York Times bestselling author of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools and the subsequent six books in the Old Fools series. After living in a remote mountain village in Spain for eleven years, and owning probably the most dangerous cockerel in Europe, Victoria and Joe retired to Australia. Another joyous life-chapter has begun.

Victoria's book list on moving to Spain

Victoria Twead Why did Victoria love this book?

Not only did we fall head-over-heels in love with Spain, but we also developed a love of Spanish food. The village ladies gave us recipes scribbled on the backs of envelopes which we often lost, so this book by the delicious Omar Allibhoy holds a permanent place on our bookshelf now. Believe me, his croquetas de jamón are to die for, and I agree with the reviewer who claims that Omar changed the way she cooks tortillas forever. The photos of the finished dishes are arty and attractive and (cough, cough) there are plenty of Omar himself which are also pretty easy on the eye. If you don’t believe me, check him out on YouTube.

By Omar Allibhoy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Omar Allibhoy is the new face of Spanish cooking: he's charismatic, effusive, passionate and wants to bring Spanish food to the people of the UK.

Tapas Revolution is the breakthrough book on simple Spanish cookery. Using everyday storecupboard ingredients, Omar offers a new take on the classic tortilla de patatas, making this iconic dish easier than ever, and brings a twist to pinchos morunos and pollo con salsa. With sections covering vegetables, salads, rice dishes, meat, fish, cakes and desserts, the emphasis is on simplicity of ingredients and methods - reinforcing the fact that absolutely anyone can cook this versatile…


Book cover of Reinhart Wolf: Castillos

Frédéric Chaubin Author Of Stone Age: Ancient Castles of Europe

From my list on making a modern book about ancient castles.

Why am I passionate about this?

For more than twenty years I was the Editor in Chief of the French magazine Citizen K. I’ve been dedicating myself to more personal projects. I’m keen on connecting words and pictures. Fond about Architecture and History I did after long investigations in the former Soviet Union, a book dedicated to the late Soviet Architecture. CCCP was published in 2011 by Taschen. Through my text and photographs I featured in it a set of extraordinary and ignored buildings. Luckily, this achievement having met with success, it brought me to a new photographic project. With Stone Age, published in 2021, I gathered through 400 pages more than 200 primitive castles selected all around Europe.

Frédéric's book list on making a modern book about ancient castles

Frédéric Chaubin Why did Frédéric love this book?

I had already included some Spanish castles in my project when I heard about the Reinhard Wolf book and discovered his unsettling pictures. This German artist had photographed the same castles half a century before me, using the same analogic films and the same traditional view cameras, composing frames that I had reproduced without knowing his work. It seems that buildings, like human beings, have a good profile which a photographer cannot miss. The other surprise came from the unexpected feeling that my photographs had been shot prior to Reinhart Wolf’s. Because the castles had meantime been restored, their walls being refreshed, the course of time seemed reversed: they appeared in an earlier condition through my camera than photographed 50 years before, when partly ruined. Having in mind that photography is much about time and traces, the discovery was puzzling. By chance the scope of my personal project was not…

By F. Chueca Goitia,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of The Visigoths in History and Legend

David M. Gwynn Author Of The Goths: Lost Civilizations

From my list on the Goths of history and legend.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born and raised in New Zealand, about as far from the Roman world as one can get, I got hooked on history as a child and began university life as an ancient and medieval double major, studying everything from the classical Greeks and Romans to Charlemagne and the Crusades. By the time I came to Oxford to write my PhD, I decided that my greatest interest lay in the dramatic transformation which saw classical antiquity evolve into medieval Christendom. I've been fortunate enough to write and teach about many different aspects of that transformation and I'm currently Associate Professor in Ancient and Late Antique History at Royal Holloway, in the University of London. 

David's book list on the Goths of history and legend

David M. Gwynn Why did David love this book?

The Visigothic kingdom of Spain was long dismissed in older books as a barbaric backwater, the darkest point of the so-called Dark Ages. Yet it was, in truth, a vibrant cultural centre for more than two centuries, until falling to the forces of Islam in 711. Hillgarth’s fascinating book gives an excellent short survey of Visigothic history, and then explores how the legends surrounding the Goths were developed and exploited by later Spanish generations, from the Christian Reconquista and the sixteenth-century Golden Age to modern times. This creation of an idealized Gothic past provided inspiration and a sense of identity in Spain, in sharp contrast to Italy where the Goths were depicted during the Renaissance as the savage destroyers of classical civilization.

By J.N. Hillgarth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book explores one of the central myths of Spain: the idea that Spanish culture arose from that of the Visigoths. It begins with a sketch of Visigothic history, then proceeds to explore attitudes towards the Goths and legends and myths that developed around them from late antiquity to the twentieth century; such ideas proved influential among those who saw the Goths as their spiritual, if not literal, ancestors. The focus is on the myth of the Goths as expressed in literature of a broadly historical nature; many authors have played a significant role in forming and shaping this myth,…


Book cover of Medieval Iberia, Second Edition: Readings from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Sources

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?

I have used this collection of translated primary sources for over a decade to teach students. It covers the whole period of medieval Spain, from the arrival of Muslim conquerors in 711 to the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, and allows one to confront for themselves the paradoxes of coexistence, collaboration, and violence that characterized this place and period. A thoughtful introduction precedes each document.

By Olivia Remie Constable (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Medieval Iberia, Second Edition as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For some historians, medieval Iberian society was one marked by peaceful coexistence and cross-cultural fertilization; others have sketched a harsher picture of Muslims and Christians engaged in an ongoing contest for political, religious, and economic advantage culminating in the fall of Muslim Granada and the expulsion of the Jews in the late fifteenth century. The reality that emerges in Medieval Iberia is more nuanced than either of these scenarios can comprehend. Now in an expanded, second edition, this monumental collection offers unparalleled access to the multicultural complexity of the lands that would become modern Portugal and Spain.
The documents collected…


Book cover of Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada

Teresa Tinsley Author Of Reconciliation and Resistance in Early Modern Spain: Hernando de Baeza and the Catholic Monarchs

From my list on memories of Moorish Spain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an avid Hispanist and have for a long time been fascinated by the mix of cultures in medieval Spain. Soon after 9-11, I was forced to take part in a barefoot ritual of security checks on arriving at Zaragoza airport to see something of the Moorish heritage there, and it hit me how important the way we tell the story of ‘Moors and Christians’ is to our own times. My own experience as a linguist and of living abroad made me particularly interested in people who are able to see both sides of a story and transfer between cultures. This is what I researched further in my Ph.D. in relation to the demise of Muslim Granada. 

Teresa's book list on memories of Moorish Spain

Teresa Tinsley Why did Teresa love this book?

This is Andalusia at its most picturesque, with its castles and craggy mountains and a story with all the colour and brio of a medieval costume drama. It’s actually seriously researched history but written in the style of a romantic novel.

It was written in the mid-nineteenth century out of a fascination, which I share, for the story of the demise of the last Muslim kingdom in medieval Iberia. It’s full of heroic deeds, foolhardy escapades, chivalric episodes, and emotional scenes, all based on documentary evidence.

But what I especially like is the ironic stance the author achieves on the bigotry and intolerance characteristic of the victors in the conflict through the conceit of pretending his tale is written by a Spanish monk. It made me think about how history is written, who writes it, and how often we take for granted narratives that first emerged from political propaganda. 

By Washington Irving,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 - November 28, 1859) was an American author of the early 19th century. Best known for his short stories The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip van Winkle (both of which appear in his book The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon), he was also a prolific essayist, biographer and historian. Irving and James Fenimore Cooper were the first American writers to earn acclaim in Europe, and Irving is said to have encouraged authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Edgar Allan Poe. Irving was also the U.S. minister to Spain 1842-1846.


Book cover of The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492

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?

Among the wonders of medieval Spain is the appearance of the first Hebrew secular poetry since Biblical times. In this masterful and unparalleled set of translations by Peter Cole, we witness the profound, pious, chauvinistic, and indeed, sensual traditions of secular poetry over centuries. A fusion of Arabic and Hebrew traditions, in and of themselves, these poems stand as a metaphor for the Jewish community itself as well as its dynamism and endurance under Muslim and then, Christian rule. 

By Peter Cole,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hebrew culture experienced a renewal in medieval Spain that produced what is arguably the most powerful body of Jewish poetry written since the Bible. Fusing elements of East and West, Arabic and Hebrew, and the particular and the universal, this verse embodies an extraordinary sensuality and intense faith that transcend the limits of language, place, and time. Peter Cole's translations reveal this remarkable poetic world to English readers in all of its richness, humor, grace, gravity, and wisdom. The Dream of the Poem traces the arc of the entire period, presenting some four hundred poems by fifty-four poets, and including…


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.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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